Though nearly every woman will experience menstruation during her lifetime, the monthly process is still an extremely personal experience, and each woman will have preferences for how she goes through it.
But there are parents who try to overly control their minor daughters’ experiences, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor diddlyspayed was fed up with her mother’s controlling of which feminine products she could use and her reasons for those restrictions.
When her mother acted out after discovering she was using a preferred product in secret, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong for putting her preferences before her mother’s wishes.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘smuggling’ tampons behind my mother’s back?”
The OP’s mother was strict about feminine hygiene products.
“I turn 16 this summer and I’m female. My mom has had a rule that I’m not allowed to use tampons until I am 18.”
“This past summer I basically gaslit my mom into letting me buy a box of tampons.”
“However, there were strings attached: I could only use them when I went swimming.”
The OP decided to use tampons anyway.
“I told my mom that I brought the box to my dad’s house, but I’ve actually been using the tampons and I hide them really well in the garbage can.”
“I have more boxes that I keep at my dad’s.”
“For many reasons, I personally prefer using tampons to pads because they are way more comfortable.”
Her mother was furious when she found out.
“Well, my mom is slowly starting to find out the truth of what I’ve been doing with the tampons.”
“She yelled at me for going behind her back and smuggling them between my parents’ houses.”
“I know that what I’m doing isn’t right, but I don’t know if I’m TA here.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were incredibly confused by the OP’s mother’s logic.
“The first bit is crazy. Becoming sexually active is a big decision that has nothing to do with tampons. Tampons and penises (I’m assuming she thinks of sex as P-in-V) are thankfully very different.”
“If she thinks they’re similar, I feel sorry for her and am mentally side-eyeing your dad.”
“Also, you’re magically still pure if you only use them for swimming, but not if you use them other times? Logic fail.”
“TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is real, unlike virginity stealing tampons, but unless you forget things a lot, there’s no reason for her to forbid tampons. Maybe reassure her that you set a reminder in your phone?”
“Good luck.” – tnscatterbrain
“You are definitely NTA; do you think explaining that tampons are just more comfortable for you? I hate wearing pads personally, I feel like I am wearing a diaper.”
“If you don’t think she’d be open to doing that, could you talk to your OB about it and see if she/he will reach out to your mom about it? I was the first daughter in my family and my mom went to the OB with me to find out what I should be using, etc, because she didn’t know and her mom wasn’t the most involved parent.”
“I am sorry this is happening! You shouldn’t feel like you need to hide feminine hygiene product period, let alone from your mother.” – kenzcpants
“I’ve always found it really weird when people have sexualized tampons, which is the vibe I got from your mom in this post.” – Fudgelnut
“NTA, your mum’s stance sounds like it’s rooted in ignorance. 1) It’s h**la outdated, 2) most tampons are teeny tiny now so don’t even notice they’re there, and most importantly 3) it’s totally up to the individual as to what product they use.”
“I personally prefer pads, but I’m also fortunate to have fairly light periods, especially my implant. If you prefer tampons, then you do you, boo.”
“It would be good to sit down with your mum and dad and talk it all through so you can get on the same page. It’s super important that you guys can have open conversations about what’s going on with your body, especially as you get older.” – RoksanaLyasin
Others advised the OP to just use tampons anyway.
“NTA — obviously, you’re not the asshole. Tampons are a great invention and make many people feel much more ‘normal’ while menstruating.”
“To avoid her finding the used applicators, I would suggest looking into a diva (menstruation) cup? Not everyone’s cup of tea for sure but definitely an option.” – holasola
“You’re not really going behind her back since it’s something she shouldn’t have a say with in the first place. Your health, your responsibility. She can have all the opinions she likes but it’s your body so what you (and sometimes your doctor) think is what counts.” – eightlegsonetail
“As scary as it sounds, I think you just need to be firm and say, ‘I’m using these because it makes me more comfortable – sorry you don’t like that, but it’s my choice.'”
“Strong NTA, though.”
“Virginity is a construct – you’re not gonna be tainted because you’ve had sex or used a tampon.”
“Do what makes you comfy.” – strawberryem
“Don’t let her bully you into being uncomfortable. YOU are the one wearing / using them. You deserve to be as comfortable as you can get during your period.”
“Use whatever you want and heck, if you need money for them, message me and I’ll send you a pack.”
“My mum never really taught me how to use them, so I did it myself, but she never disagreed with what I chose to do. This is ridiculous.” – Vast_Evenings
“I’m not normally one to advocate straight up ignoring your parents, but what is she gonna do? Forcibly hold you down and remove the tampon from your body?”
“Obeying your parents is an important social construct, because more often than not, they know better how to protect you, and they can control a lot of your financial future in regards to college.”
“However, you’re sixteen and this is not a good way to protect you. She can do nothing to you physically that wouldn’t be abuse, so just… Wear tampons anyways.”
“Also, if she tries to pull hiding everything she doesn’t want you to use, start shoving her kitchen towels in your pants. But you didn’t hear that from me.” – QuincyGrace
Some agreed and advised the OP to create some distance from her mother.
“NTA, but just be careful with your mom!! It’s definitely not the same as a tampon, but maybe you could try period underwear??”
“It’s the super-absorbent fabric that can actually hold blood and you can just wash them in the washing machine!! I can’t see why your mom would have a problem with that and it’s comfier than pads for sure.” – Worldly-Mongoose-1728
“I wouldn’t be surprised if OP’s mom was one of those parents that said nothing to their kid about their period before they actually had one and OP thought she was dying when she finally had her first.” – Letstrythisagain30
“NTA and not even sorry here, but it’s not your mother’s business how you handle your periods. End of story. ‘Not until you’re 18’ is such a weird flex, too.”
“But, I’m also a parent who believes my kids’ sexuality is none of my business, so what do I know…” – TCTX73
“Your body is not her property. You are not ‘going behind her back;’ you are exercising agency over your own body – she really doesn’t get a say.”
“Virginity is a social construct – we don’t actually come sealed for freshness. (Actually, some people DO have an imperforate hymen – this is a medical condition requiring treatment.)”
“TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is uncommon and could happen at 18 just as much as 16.”
“I’d honestly suggest standing up to her and telling her that it’s not up to her how you manage you periods and to stop being weird.” – loopylandtied
“You sound like you have a good handle on this based on your reaction to the tampon ban, but for what it’s worth… please don’t let your mom’s attitude affect your relationship with your own sexuality.”
“Nothing about sex is ‘dirty.’ It’s healthy and natural.”
“Sorry to be so … I don’t know, intrusive … but I had an adjustment period dealing with this kind of attitude as a young woman. Just spreading the word.” – CaimansGalore
“What’s funny is that it’s actually your mom who is being the disgusting one, with her wildly insane belief about this.”
“There is nothing dirty about a woman using these health/hygiene products.”
“Let me repeat: Your mom has some gross, insane beliefs here.” – that1LPdood
The subReddit didn’t really understand why the OP thought she was in the wrong, even if she technically did something without consulting with her mother first. After all, it was concerning her body, her personal menstruation cycle, and how she wished to address it.
Even if they are related, there’s no guarantee that the mother and daughter would have the same preferences for feminine products. The mother just needed to understand that these products are for cleanliness during a cycle, not protection during sexual interaction.