No, Really! What is Up with These Sanitary Pads?!

Vulva conformity in the form of sanitary pads.

Every woman should have access to sanitary pads, tampons, Diva Cups—whatever—during their period… period. But we are extremely suspicious about the intentions behind the creation of a recently launched sanitary pad.

This recently launched pad’s co-creators claim their maxi can do more than hold human blood. Meet TOM, the oxygenated maxi pad. TOM, which also conveniently stands for “The Oxygen Movement” and “Time Of the Month,” is said to have health benefits and beauty capabilities, too.

About those claims

TOM’s menstrual pads’ have oxygen properties that, according to one of the company’s co-founders, can kill bacteria and yeast.

“When your vagina rests in a moist and nutrient-rich environment for a long period of time, harmful microbes start to develop and irritation begins,” Nancy Tsaur, co-founder of TOM, wrote in an email to Slate.

“When anaerobic bacteria are introduced to environments with oxygen, they cannot thrive and grow because anaerobes lack certain enzymes that allow bacteria to survive in the presence of oxygen.”

However, this claim has yet to be supported by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Now, let’s get to that vagina beautifying claim

TOM’s pads also are said to be able to lighten the skin color of the vulva. Because, oxygen.

The company wrote in a Facebook post:

“In today’s culture, many women look for ways to lighten that area for cosmetic reasons,” the post explains. “Treatments that specifically lighten the vaginal area (like lasers, creams, and ointments) are more and more sought after. We believe most of these treatments are not only unnatural, but some are also dangerous to the body! TOM Pads offer a easy and safe way to achieve the same results without spending loads of money.”

No one should buy these sanitary pads.

This type of product is so very wrong and sending a terribly wrong message to women.

Why the hell does any woman need to lighten her vulva? It’s not like a dark vulva indicates poor health or hygiene—in fact, it’s totally normal. Like hair or (hello!) skin color.

When products like this pop up in the consumer market they just reinforce sexist culture. It tells women that their bodies are somehow not good enough.

Also: This product is ridiculous. The last thing I’m thinking about when I’m bleeding is whether or not my vulva looks good.

This product isn’t on the American market yet, so, there’s still hope that we will never have to see it on store shelves. And if we ever do, let’s all agree, right now, that we will never, ever buy it.

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Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.