Friday, August 22, 2008

the mysterious sanitary napkin

disclaimer: the following post should be treated academically and with an open mind. **i have thought that it may be deemed offensive to some. but this disclaimer is used to give each reader a heads up that no offensement or in any way, was intended.
ever since i was a kid, i always have these fascinations with sanitary napkins. not because i want to wear them. but because i never really understood what they are for and how come they are being handed so discreetly and by women alone. i wondered how come my mom, aunts and older cousins would actually hide it from view. they would even ask the store to wrap it with brown paper.
so being the curious kid i was, one day, i climbed my mom's cabinet and reached a box of napkins to have a close look at it.i pulled up one from the box and it has an odd shape that reminded me of the bath soap we were using. it was also made of plain cotton that reminded me of my baby sister's diapers. but there is no belt nor strap: it was just there lying flat.
"nothing special," i thought.
then at the bottom part of it, i felt and saw a sticker cover. so i excitedly peeled it off. after determining it was indeed a sticker, i immediately went downstairs and stick it to our refrigerator, that was already filled with mostly lion king and pocahontas stickers (those that came in free in maggi noodles before), that my siblings and i are religiously collecting. my mom went hysterical when she arrived home and saw the napkin hanging on our refrigerator's door. she immediately ask us who put the napkin on there. no one was admitting it. my siblings didn't actually saw me. so they can't seriously blame me as well. then my siblings started crying and i was about to cry as well. so i raised my hand and bursted to tears. my mom gave me a spank or two and immediately peeled the napkin out from the metal box and threw it to the bin.
i cried the whole night, not because of the spank but because my mom never told me the reason why she spanked me or atleast, explain to me what the sanitary napkin is really for. ever since that moment, i never asked myself anything nor gained any interest/curiousity about it anymore. until i grew up, i have associated napkin with something forbidden. a thing that should never be discussed: like the character of lord voldemort in the harry potter series. in other words, napkin for me spells trouble. i was already in college when i came across with it once again. i lived in a coed apartment in baguio, which was basically consist of friends and org mates from school.
one morning, while i am waiting for my turn for the bath room. i saw camille, one of my housemates, infront of me in the line. i remembered i was drinking coffee and observing her while she was fixing her bathing stuffs: her undergarments, her tooth brush, her soap, facial cleanser, shampoo and conditioner. i even remembered she was just wearing a towel wrapped around her and it seemed like she woke up on the wrong side of her bed or probably she was already late for her class. then she gasped, she forgot something. she immediately ran to her room and even shouted at me, not to cut before her. ofcourse i didn't, being in an apartment were girls over numbering the boys, pissing them off is the last thing that you would do. there were even times while i was living there, that i actually no longer believe that our society is patriarch. just kidding!
anyhow, it didn't really took that long when she came back. she was carrying a small plastic box that was pretty familiar. i have just realized what it was when i saw the brand name, it was a napkin. she pulled a piece out of it and unwrapped it. she peeled the sticker cover at the bottom and carefully placed it on her underwear. i was amazed!
she saw me with the face and gave me a frown. uh-oh, i think i totally pissed her off. "what are you staring at? is this the first time you saw a napkin?" then the bath room's door opened and another housemate went out, his lips were deep red and trembling. smoke was even coming out of his mouth (from that moment, i figured out that heater was broke again). camille gathered her things and immediately went in. i was left there sitting on my chair, amazed and mesmerized with the fact that i have finally discovered what the napkin is for and how it is use.
four years after, i was standing inside the lrt-purple line station in cubao, waiting for the train. good thing that they have this jollibee board to give their passengers a heads up when the train will arrive. after 30 seconds the train arrived in a very odd paintcolor. it was a combination of blue, pink and what have you. there were also flowers and lady cartoons that accentuated the entire puv. then a huge brand name passed by me. it was the same napkin brand camille was using before.
the picture of the train was truly jaw dropping. the entire train was covered with the actual wrapper design of the napkin brand.
i was even quite hesitant to go inside at first. for even the inside was designed with various icons and designs: there were various women icons that were making up, biking, reading book, drinking coffee etc. from the moment i rode the train and dropped off from my station, the ambience made me realized what a napkin is inside its container. i have became a napkin for 15 minutes of my life.
there were so many things going inside my head after that ride. basically, with regard to the question, why women are discreet when it comes to buying and using napkins?aside from the practical reason that they don't want other people to know that they are presently having their periods and what have you. whats to hide? is it to hide it from people so that they won't know that one has her monthly period? well, i may sound pa-naive but i really don't understand? does somebody have an idea? is society has something to do with it again?
then i realized, my fascination to sanitary napkins seemed endless and i just can't stop asking for more. i thought if only i was in this gender class when i was still in college, where all the boys in the class were required to wear a napkin for one whole day and they discussed it afterwards, probably i now have an idea about this things.
but let me try. here is my thought about the subject in a social anthropological perspective. across some societies, menarche are often deemed as something unpure, dirty and even bringer of bad fortune. click here.

this concept mostly lived among societies of extreme patriarchy. although such belief is not applicable in the country, there are some that still believe that menarche symbolizes a woman's weakness and vulnerabiltiy. well everything that is deemed to be feminine or feminine in character in a patriarchal society is always deemed to be such. hence, menarche is not an exemption.
sanitary napkins, on the other hand, is an object that has a direct association with a woman's menstrual period. subliminally, a woman sees herself vulnerable and weak (especially if her period comes with dysmenorrhea for that matter) whenever she has her period. she is unable to move much and conscious in every movement she makes. thus, having or carrying a sanitary napkin can be deemed as something that shows her vulnerability and weaknesses on such occasion.and again, this is just my thought.


White said...

aba aba aba! at alam mo na pala ang loob ng isang napkin. LOL

seriously, women really feel uncomfortable and 'vulnerable' when they have their periods. it's a hassle for them. I remember back in college what my girl barkada would often say to us boys when we tease her as masungit: "kasi di nyo alam ang pakiramdam ng may bisita..."

Anonymous said...

Hahaha. Nakakatawa naman ung pagdikit mo ng napkin sa ref. Hihi. Ang cute. Hihi.

Well, do females nowadays still are embarrased with their napkins? Hmmm... I don't know why either. But I bet it's because its associated with their genitalia that's why they don't want the whole world to see it.

Some of my female friends when we are out of town and I am in their room, they don't mind me seeing their napkins. Probably they know I wouldn't mind and have no interest whatsoever hihi.

dazedblu* said...

Ohh, napkin issues. I remember an exp before abt napkins, back in grade skewl from an HE sub teaches abt stuff and term the like of pasador (in our native language) then a couple of friends tried to have this deal to buy a napkin, using the term pasador.

Naloka lang ako sa tindera coz instead of saying any word like ilan or the usual questions when your buying something, sabihan ba naman ako na "ikaw ang gagamit" how stupid she is.

And lastly, bakit nga naman gawing sticker yung nasa napkin (di ko maisip kung anong tawag dun). :)


joaqui_miguel said...

Wow, I never thought a lengthy entry could be written about napkins. lol Good work.

Nostalgic. I remember the Lion King and Pocahontas stickers from noodle packs when I was still a kid. hehehe :)

kalansaycollector said...


noon nautusan na akong bumili ng napkin ng nanay ko at nirequire din niyang ibalot ko iyon sa isang papel.

ang tindera babae, kaya naweirduhan siya noong sinabi kong "pabili po ng napkin..."

RONeiluke, RN said...

this is a very funny post! haha!

i remembered when i was young, i was so annoyed, dahil ako lagi ang inuutusan ng mga ate ko na bumili ng napkin nila. but they nevehr failed to remind me na ibaloht sa hdyaryo yung napkin..ahee!

i remember those stickers! nangongholekta din kami ni kuya niyan hdati. ang ganda tlga ng lion king...


tlga? im definitely going to watch it again..ang lupit... i love how the comparison between L's and Light's chahracter... pure battle of wits! brillianht!

harmonie said...

gawin daw ba na sticker din ang napkin..hahaha

theTripper said...

hahaha. menarche. ur so technical with some words and no one complains. :)

boying said...

totoo? wow.

alam mo napag utusan na ako ng isang pinsan kung babai na bumili ng napkin. pati ng mama ko. nagulat ako ng konti ng malaman iyong nangyari sa iyo at sa napkin nung bata ka pa. napa-isip ako na, "huh? talaga?"

may isi-share ako:

may mga pinsan akong lalaki na hinihingi ang napkin/panty ng mga pinsan kong babae na may first na menstruation nila. iyong unang una talaga. dahil hindi ka raw magkaka-pimples ever sa buong buhay mo kung imumudmod mo ang mukha mo dito, sa dugo. totoong-totoo ito. naku, papatayin ako ng mga pinsan ko. buti na lang hindi sila mahilig magbasa ng blog. sana. pero seryoso, totoo ito.

pero hindi ako naniniwala kaya hindi ko ito nagawa. uhmmm. sobrang dami ng pimples ko before noong hindi ko pa nadiskobre ang Benzac AC Gel [benzoyl peroxide]. pero, hindi ako naniniwala na dahil ito sa "first blood".

anyway, ang gusto ko sigurong sabihin ay: medyo na-shock ako sa entry na ito. pero, alam ko na hindi dapat pakalat-kalat ang gamit nang napkin for sanitary purposes. pero iyong hindi pa nagagamit? talaga? hmmm. nanibago ako.

Ely said...

they're just embarrassed. thats it. same feeling we had when we were bagong tuli. hehe

♥nova-san said...

OMG, I couldn't stop laughing at the idea of you sticking the napkin on the fridge, and you getting a harsh palo from your mom. Hehehe! Sorry - I don't mean to laugh, but it is funny. ;)

Well, I guess the embarrassment (at least for me) stems from the fact that it is hygiene related. I mean, I don't even like people in my office to see me carrying around my toothbrush when I brush my teeth after lunch. Plus, I had some kind of trauma with my period when I was a kid. I got my first one during school, and I was totally unprepared. Without grossing you out, I ended up having to go home early from school that day because I had dirtied my clothes. Of course, other kids saw my dilemma and some were cruelly laughing at me. I guess I never got over it. Kids can be so cruel.

♥nova-san said...

Also, my bible knowledge is very poor, but I believe there are references in there, that in effect, allude to the fact that a woman is deemed unclean during her cycle.

IshnaVera said...

gaano kaimportante ang pasador sa buhay? ganito...

noong sa signapore pa naka tira ang sisteret ko, tuwing pupunta ako sa kanila, to the max ang bilin niyang ipagdala ko siya ng pasador from manila... may requirement pa... extra long-extra wide pa (huwat?! hindi siya sakop ng regualr sized?!!! dont ask, di ko rin alam)

so sa biyahe may bitbit talaga akong dalawang malaking maleta at isang backpack. nasa back pack lahat ng gamit ko. yung dalawang maleta, puno ng pasador...

i swear pag dumadaan ako ng immigration, in my mind dinedare ko sila, sige buksan niyo ang maleta ko at nang sumambulat ang pasador sa airport na itu...heheheh


I could just imagine that incident when you thought it was a plain sticker and stuck it on your fridge. haha... so cute.

Looking For The Source said...


siguro nung mga panahon before medyo patago pa ung mga girls about sa napkins. pero sa ngayon i wouldnt think so. its more of a casual thing na lang. people nowadays seem to understand.

my girlfriend even tell me na "alam mo ba flooding ako ngayon" or "shet, meron na yata ako" or "tignan mo nga kung meron (they'd stand back and ask me to look at the butts)... well cguro comfy na sila sakin about it.. and i dont give a damn about it.. (alam nyo na yon!)


btw, thanks for visiting my blog.

xlink po ah. tenchu!

odin hood said...

minsan pag nagpainting ako ginagamit ko napkin instead of toilet paper, para pang-absorb ng water para di masyado wet ang paint brush hehe

and i have a cousin, she's a big big girl(not fat, just big) and some nights she uses baby's diapers hahahahaha

Richard the Adventurer said...


Naks naman ang usapang napkin.. Kakagutom!

madjik said...

yun din tanong ko dati kung para san ba yung stickers na yun.. pero cute ng idea mo ha at ginawa mong post-it sa ref.panalo hehe.

† Yods † said...

ilang beses ko na ding nasakyan yang napkin na yan. naaliw ako noong unang kita ko palang.

maganda ang mga usapang napkin, pero wag na yung mga napkin na gamit na. ehehe

pen said...

un sticker...tinalo pa ung mga padded sticker na sosyalin. :))

pero sa tingin ko.. sa kultura natin ngayon, open na ang mga kababaihan sa mga discreet na usapin. noon, oo halos isang sagradong gamit pangkababaihan ang napkin.

naalala ko tuloy nun college, meron akong kabarkadang lalake na tuwing PMS ko, xa napagbubuntungan ko ng inis, at xa lng. heheheh! sunget si danggit :))

wanderingcommuter said...

white: bakit hindi mo pa rin ba alam?! hehehe. senior mo pala ako kung ganun. nyahaha. lagi akong sinasabihan ng ganyan kapag lalo ko silang pinipikon dahil sa dysmenorrhea...hehehe.

bino: probably its still a clear manifestation that despite modernity, we are still living in our grass root of being conversative...
tingin ko din. ito na marahila ng isangs ign kapag close na kayo ng girl friend mo, kapag hidni na siya ilang ipakita ang pag aayos niya ng kanyang napkin.

dazed blu: yeah, pasador din ang tawag namin duon... hehehe. HAHAHAHA! panalo si manang tindera! butio hindi ka sinabihan ng feelingero. hahaha.

joaqui: i am trying na nga talagang iksian ang mga post ko eh... hayaan mo sa susunod, mga two paragraphs na lang. hehehe. naku, nakaayos pa yung mga sticker na yun according to their number. hehehe.
the tripper: HAHAHA... hayaan mo na. wala na akong ibang term na pwedeng gamitin eh.

boying: hahaha. belief din yan dati sa amin. pero kahit siguro gaano ang inspiration ko na magkaroon ng makinis na mukha hidni ko gagawin yun... its way beyond my imagination, dude!
malay mo ang benzac pala ay gawa sa first period ng mag babae... cinuculture na lang nila from their potential sources. hahaha! eeewwww...
ely: hahaha.. oo nga noh?! hmmm... make sense nga naman

novasan: yeah, no worries. actually it also made me laugh whenever i recall that moment. really embarassing. i just gathered some guts to actual confess it here. hehehe.
i am getting you. hmmm.. hygiene is noted for this post1 thanks for enlightening the male specie. hehehe!
ishna: hala too? ganun ba kamahal ang pasador sa singapore? wait, the pasador that you are referring at, is this the disposabale one or the wash and wear one? hahaha. i know there is such a thing...
kj: doing childish and stupid things make us all cute then?! hehehe.

looking for the source: hahaha... pinipilit kong tanggalin ang malice sa utak ko, dude... rebook! rebook1 rebook! hahaha. no problem.

odin hood: naku, mas malupit ka pala kesa sa akin sa pagiging imaginative pagdating sa mga napkins. hahaha... pero itrytry ko yun. yun din kasi ang problema ko sa mga paint brushes ko kapag nag papaint. hehehe.
may kakilala din ako actually na gumagamit na ng adult diapers kapag malakas daw yung kanya.
richard: huwat???! anong nakakagutom dun... hahaha.
madjik: hahaha. i am a kid gone wild nung bata ako. madami pang mas malupit dito kaya lagi kong iniisip maglayas noon.
yods: hahaha. lrt2 rider ka din pala... ngayon meron na din mga napkin jeepnies. byaheng UP-katipunan... hahaha.