by | Local (↓) | Usefulness (↑) | 0 comment | 1 question

Soft cotton material designed to be inserted into the vagina during menstruation to absorb blood.

Where and how is it used?

Tampons are generally replaced every 4 or so hours - depending on the heaviness of the bleeding.

What did you or someone else pay for it?

A friend gave me this tampon as I was caught unprepared (this exchange is common). My friend would have paid around 5 Australian dollars for a pack of 16.

Why do you want to add it to the museum?

Menstruation is a feminist issue. Periods are still largely taboo and caught in destructive discourses that construct menstruation as a shameful secret. When I visit the bathroom at work I always hide my tampon under my sleeve or in my pocket - I know I'm not the only person to do so.

How was it made?

Is made in a factory

Is farmed

Is mass-produced

Is produced by local cottage industry

Is made to particular specifications

Is craft / hand-made

Is foraged

Is found

Is colonised

Is a service

Materials & Making

Who made or produced your commodity?


Who was paid to make it?

Not answered yet

What skills does it take to make it?

Not answered yet

Where was it made?

Not answered yet

What does it cost to make it?

Not answered yet

What is it made from?

1. Wrapper:


2. Tampon:


Buying & Owning

Who decides how much it costs?

Corporations, shops, and the state (eg. the Australian government taxes tampons and pads as they are considered to be 'luxury' items)

Who or what assesses its quality?

Not answered yet

Where is it sold?

Supermarkets, pharmacies, online...

Who or what sells it?

Not answered yet

How did this thing arrive from where it was made to where you got it?

Probably by ship and then by truck.

Where is it used?

Not answered yet

Where is it kept?

In drawers, bags, and boxes.

How and by whom is it cared for?

People who menstruate care for tampons by keeping them dry and clean.

How long will it last?

Not answered yet

Where will it go when it's finished with?

Municipal waste dump

What is it worth?

Not answered yet

How do you and others value this commodity?

See the values contributed by visitors and those of the donor. And add your own values to this commodity.

Total times valued7
Positive (↑)Usefulness
Negative (↓)Local
Overall Positive444
Overall Negative-304
Controversy34.214285714286 (0 = most controversial)

What do these numbers mean?

This data that we have collected over time in our database means nothing without interpretation. A relational database, which we are using here, is technology that enables designers of websites and software to compare, contrast, interrogate and infer relations within data. The act of designing a database is not objective but driven by the agency of its creators and owners.

Within the MoCC Collection data is used to help think through the relations between values, commodities and data. Can we describe our values using sliders and numbers? How do we infer meaning such as controversy from data?

Below is a brief explanation of the some calculations and how these help make decisions about what is shown on the site.

  • Controversy Score:
    (Total Positive Values) + (Total Negative Values)

    The closer the value is to zero the more controversial it is in relation to other commodities. Used to infer that values associated with one commodity divide opinion more than another.

  • Average Value Score (used in the sliders):
    (Total Positive for Value + Total Negative for Value) ÷ Total Times Valued

    Used to infer a collective value associated with a commodity.

How do you value this commodity?

To add your own values click VALUE THIS COMMODITY and move the sliders left and right to add your own values - then click SUBMIT
show donor's original values
- 0
58 +
- 2
60 +
- 0
50 +
- 0
35 +
- 0
25 +
- 0
21 +
- 4
26 +
- 0
19 +
- 24
30 +
- 0
2 +
- 10
16 +
- 10
8 +
- 17
19 +
- 10
11 +
- 12
14 +
- 6
4 +
- 15
6 +
- 15
10 +
- 13
6 +
- 22
8 +
- 16
5 +
- 19
5 +
- 18
0 +
- 23
0 +
- 30
6 +
- 38
0 +

Questions and answers

Help to reveal unknown quantities, properties and uses of this commodity by answering this MoCC curator's questions.

Question: Does anyone refuse to buy or use tampons?



I’m Daisy, a Commodity Consultant, I’ve found the following on how many women refuse to use or buy tampons:

The global feminine hygiene industry is projected to hit $15.2 billion by 2017, according to data from market research firm Global Industry Analysts Inc., and is dominated by major brands including Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Johnson & Johnson. While applicator-free O.B. tampons and the Diva Cup and its sister products have indeed made their mark on the market, Agrawal [Thinkx founder] says 70 percent of Western women use applicator tampons each month. “They’re afraid to look at or touch their own blood, or they’re afraid to put their finger in their own vagina,” Agrawal says.
Source: Forbes: Can These Panties Disrupt The $15 Billion Feminine Hygiene Market? http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmajohnson/2015/05/28/can-these-panties-disrupt-a-15-billion-feminine-hygiene-market/3/#7892807f7a29

More U.S. women use pads than tampons, according to a survey of 739 women conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, 62 percent of women said they use pads, compared with 42 percent who said they used tampons (those percentages include women who said they used both — unfortunately the survey didn’t ask women whether they used only one product). But that survey was conducted between 2001 and 2004, and the CDC tells me that it doesn’t have any more recent numbers.

I did, however, get some up-to-date numbers from Euromonitor, a market research company that tracks sales of female hygiene products in 81 countries. It found that American women ages 12 to 54 bought, on average, 111 maxi pads in 2014 — but only 66 tampons that same year.
I have some answers for them and you — albeit based on some very small sample sizes. In 2010, Ann Borowski analyzed menstrual product choices as part of her master’s thesis on environmentally friendly menstrual products using data from Mintel, another market research company. The most common reason for women who — like you, Chris — said they didn’t use tampons was that they found them uncomfortable (cited by 54 percent of these women). Other reasons given were: “I worry about Toxic Shock Syndrome” (40 percent), “I don’t know how to insert them or worry about inserting them” (27 percent), and “I think they’re unnatural” (13 percent).

American tampon consumption is one of the highest in the world, according to Euromonitor. Of those 81 countries it looked at, only two had higher tampon consumption than the U.S. — Germany, where women ages 12 to 54 buy 92 tampons per year on average and Austria, where they buy 91. Meanwhile, not even one tampon is sold on average each year to women in Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Kenya, Morocco and Thailand.

Source: FiveThirtyEight How Many Women Don’t Use Tampons? By Mona Chalabi http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/how-many-women-dont-use-tampons/#fn-1

Commercial intravaginal menstrual tampons are used commonly by approximately one-half to two-thirds of women in the industrialized world. Source: Randomized, Double-Blind Crossover Study of Vaginal Microflora and Epithelium in Women Using a Tampon with a “Winged” Apertured Film Cover and a Commercial Tampon with a Nonwoven Fleece Cover by David J. Chase1,*, Berenike P. Schenkel2, Anne-Marie Fahr3, Ulrich Eigner4 and for the Tampon Study Group http://jcm.asm.org/content/48/4/1317.full

While about 70% of women in the U.S., Canada and much of Western Europe use tampons, usage falls to the single digits in a handful of countries such as Japan and Spain, and it's not even measurable in much of the world. Just 2% of women in Mexico, as throughout most of Latin America, use tampons.

Lending new urgency to P&G's international focus was the fact that in the U.S., tampon sales are flat. A growing number of tampon users have begun using sanitary napkins at least intermittently. In the past several years there's been a noticeable marketing push for pads as well as a proliferation of more comfortable and varied designs. An aging population -- who no longer need the product at all -- has also undercut sales. While Tampax is the most popular brand in the U.S., its sales are down 4% this year, according to market-research firm Information Resources Inc.

In many countries, women aren't accustomed to spending on themselves, particularly for something they'll throw out -- and that costs a bit more than pads. Women must also understand their bodies to use a tampon. P&G is finding that in countries where school health education is limited, that understanding is hard won. P&G marketers say they often find open boxes of tampons in stores -- a sign, P&G says, that women were curious about the product but unsure as to how it worked.
Source: Wall Street Journal: Procter & Gamble Seeks New Markets For Tampons but Faces Cultural Barrier http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB976238645760374015

A woman who ran the London marathon without a tampon to raise awareness for women who don't have access to sanitary products has sparked an online debate.

Kiran Gandi, 26, a musician and Harvard graduate, let her period flow freely as she ran around the route in the UK capital in April this year - and whilst some Twitter users have spoken out in support of her, others have been quick to criticise her actions.
Under a post titled Feminism, she wrote: 'I got my flow the night before and it was a total disaster but I didn’t want to clean it up. It would have been way too uncomfortable to worry about a tampon for 26.2 miles.

Kiran, who ran with her two best friends to raise £3,800 ($6,000) for Breast Cancer Care, continued: 'On the marathon course, sexism can be beaten. Where the stigma of a woman’s period is irrelevant, and we can re-write the rules as we choose. Where a woman’s comfort supersedes that of the observer.

'I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist.

'I ran to say, it does exist, and we overcome it every day. The marathon was radical and absurd and bloody in ways I couldn’t have imagined until the day of the race.'

Social media reaction to Kiran's story has, however, been mixed. One user, Demiurgic, wrote: 'You are one AWESOME woman! Thanks for boosting my confidence and clearing my equivocal mind.'

Nilima Achwal echoed her sentiments, writing: 'Whoa - kudos your courage and resilience.'
However, Bellyrina wrote: 'I don't know about you, but I don't find this feminist. Just unsanitary,' whilst Mark Byron added: 'I think people are already aware of periods and I think she is a vulgar capital V.'

Source: Runner who completed the London Marathon during her period without a tampon says she did it to 'break the stigma' after receiving support - and criticism - for her actions http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3192039/Woman-26-ran-marathon-WITHOUT-tampon-break-stigma-surrounding-women-s-periods.html#ixzz47zL5BQzq

On any given day, millions of American women are menstruating – and more than half of them are using tampons. What many of those women don’t know is that there is no research that unequivocally declares these feminine hygiene products safe, and independent studies by women’s health organizations have found chemicals of concern like dioxin, carcinogens and reproductive toxins present in tampons and pads.

The multi-billion dollar feminine hygiene industry likes to say that the amounts of those toxins in a single tampon is very low. But the average woman who uses tampons will use over 16,800 during the course of her lifetime – and there is almost no data on the health effects of the cumulative use of tampons over a woman’s lifetime

This lack of data on cumulative tampon use, feminine hygiene product toxicity and the chemicals present in all such products is not at all surprising. Women’s health has been perennially under-represented and overlooked when it comes to clinical research and studies.

Source: You know where your tampon goes. It's time you knew what goes into it, too by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/20/tampon-safety-research-legislation

by MoCCconsultant on May 7th at 4:55pm


Do you have questions about how this commodity is valued? Or want to talk about your own values in relation to it? Share your comments.

Add to the conversation: