My final project is a blog post research on the viewpoints of users of tampons and its effects on human health. The problematic issue this piece aims to address is the minimal information that is available to users in terms of the production materials used in creating tampons. Almost 80 percent of women across the world make use of tampons today. However, they are hardly aware of some of the material or ingredients used in creating them and the hazardous effect it could have on their health. This is important to address because our health is important to us. More so, there are thousands of women who have either died or fallen sick from using high absorbent tampons. Tampon companies advertise high absorbent tampons as something that empowers women in their menstrual cycle. It proposes that women will no longer have to worry constantly changing their tampons and can feel more relaxed in public. However, these are the types that are often detrimental to our health.
This research aims to find out; what are some of the health issues surrounding the use of tampons? What are the stories of the current consumers of tampons? How do people feel about using tampons? What are some materials that are used in making tampons that are detrimental to our health? Furthermore, considering some of the negative stories around the use of tampons, should consumers be worried about what is sold to them by many tampon brands. I argue that companies retain information about their products that could be harmful to users when advertising for a profit. Tampon brands rarely put any information about the production process or materials on the product and this is affecting consumers as they are unaware of what is good or bad for them.
In one of our classes, we did a reading that focused on the issues surrounding the use of tampons. Prior to this, I had no knowledge of the health effects attached to the use of tampons. Personally, I do not use tampons, so I do not care about them too much. However, we had done implosions on a variety of objects and I was excited about how much I learnt while doing it. Hence, when I found out about the final project, I was eager to focus my research on a different product from the one I did during the implosion. I was immediately drawn to tampons because I remember being very upset about the issue of TSS and other comments that came up in the reading. The fact that a significant number of women died due to the use of tampon was overwhelming. I remember asking my friends and sister if they would make use of a tampon and they passively said no simply because it was uncomfortable. However, when I told them about TSS, they immediately became interested and more unwilling to use tampons. The issue with tampons worries me because I am a woman, and this is an object that we are advised to insert into our bodies and people are generally passive about things provided they work as they should. Hence, I hoped to bring awareness to these issues and to prompt users to become more aware of the products they consume, using the example of tampons and TSS.
Before doing anything, I created an outline of how I wanted my writing to go and put down some key questions I would want to answer with this piece. With this in mind, I began to do research on tampons, the materials, production, what users say about it and what the news is saying about it. Afterwards, during my research, I found out from one of the various stories that a user found a metal pin like object in her tampon, TSS is common amongst younger women and many people find using tampons a bit uncomfortable. However, many women still make use of them. Initially, I wanted to do an implosion on the object but after doing my research, I figured it would be more interesting to do a blog post that people can read and would bring awareness about the core issues I am addressing to them, in a much simpler and relatable context. Due to the medium of my project, it is a bit complex to engage readers with a broad topic in a short time. Hence, it was challenging to condense my content and research into a piece that is engaging to readers and still has enough information about the issue I am addressing. Also, in the final piece, I created hyperlinks to the news article pages that are referenced. However, the two readings are referenced here.
With regards to the readings, I focused on the week 11 readings about tampons and its history. The first reading I observed was the Ashley Fetters article on the history of a tampon. In this article, Ashley points out that though people use a lot of tampons, there are still so many questions and confusions around the product itself. Can people sleep with a tampon on? How long can one wear it for? Ashley also points out that there has been little to no success in trying to get companies to put adequate information that is helpful to users on their product. She argues that brands like “Playtex list its basic ingredients in its packaging, but it does not specify whether fibres had been bleached or chemically modified to enhance absorbency” (Fetters, 2015) This is detrimental to user’s health because if absorbency levels are tampered with, it could result in TSS. This reading is vital to my paper because it provided insight and some quotes regarding the problematic I hope to bring awareness to. The second reading I observed was the Sharra Vostral’s article on TSS, Tampon Absorbency and Feminist Science. In this reading, Sharra gives an example of a lady who died due to the use of a superabsorbent tampon. Sharra talks about feminist scientists who stood up to speak for the rights of women’s bodies and the importance of regulation when it comes to the production and distribution process of tampons. This paper was relevant because it shed light on the fact that there are people out there already fighting for these issues, but there still needs to be awareness and rules that govern the process of production so much so that companies are held accountable for what they distribute to consumers and are responsible for providing users with adequate information about the product such that they are well equipped to decide which product they wish to purchase.
Overall, I enjoyed creating this piece and in the future, I would love to do more research to find out what the situation with tampons is and if companies are providing adequate and useful information about products to their users.
Ashley Fetters. 2015. “The Tampon: A History (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..” The Atlantic
Sharra Vostral. 2017. “Toxic Shock Syndrome, Tampon Absorbency, and Feminist Science.” Catalyst 3(1): 1-30.