How did the tampons change the life of women ?

The Tampax? A daily object one finds in the bathrooms and the it bag of all women... One tends to forget that 80 years ago, the invention of this amazing product sparked a positive revolution in the lives of women and eradicated centuries of taboo ... Spotlight on this symbol of empowerment and women’s lib!


He is undoubtedly the feminist who changed the life of the greatest number of women around the world. In 1931, Dr. Earle Cleveland Haas, who had observed how uncomfortable, frustrated and embarrassed his patients and his wife felt when they had their period, designed a prototype for the first tampon with applicator. Until then, women had to wear voluminous and cumbersome sanitary napkins as protection during mensturaion.

In 1934, Gertrude Tenderich, a prominent business-woman in Denver, purchased Dr Haas’ patent for 32 000 $. Two months later, Tampax commercialized its first tampon with applicator and launched its first menstrual tampon ad:

« Welcome this New Day for Womanhood », published in the magazine American Weekly.



In ancient Egypt, women made their own disposable tampons with softened papyrus. In Greek history, Hippocrates mentions that in the Fifth century there existed a tampon system that used pieces of wood surrounded with fiber. In Rome, wool was used, while in Japan it was paper and in Equatorial Africa, it was grass rolls.


During the Middle Ages, the Church formally forbade introducing an object in the vagina… This was considered a sin! With the advent of lingerie, women started wearing what could be considered the ancestor of panties, aiming at limiting the damage. It was common knowledge when women had her periods as they would each day hang up their small white linen, which for several centuries entailed deprecatory remarks.

Until the 1940s, many myths and superstitions surrounded menstruation. To such an extent that women, themselves, ashamed and filled with guilt, due to beliefs, preferred using euphemisms such as the “curse” rather then naturally using the word “period”.

It is only with the democratisation of the tampon, and the possibility for all these women to live freely during their menstruations, that the subject became less and less taboo.



Starting in 1941, an educational service created by Tampax sent out women ambassadors, pioneers of girl-power, to visit schools, universities, fairs and conventions and prone the normalisation of Tampax that created a revolution in the lives of women. At the time, clichés and myths were hard to get rid of!

For the first time, all women had the possibility of living without a montly “handicap” —they could continue swimming or bicycle riding, or simply go about their jobs without feeling embarrassed.



In 1986, the editors of Consumer Reports studied more than 100 000 products and services introduced during the preceding half century, in order to chose those with the largest impact on daily living. The magazine elected the Tampax tampon as one of the "50 small marvels and big businesses that revolutionized the life of consumers".


In 2015: a survey confirmed that 94% of women consider that the Tampax created a positive revolution in their lives and changed how they dealt with their periods. Today there are 2.5 million French women using Tampax each month in France.

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