Women’s hygiene products and menstrual cycles remain "a mysterious thing" for men.
That’s according to screenwriter and host of the Basically podcast, Stefanie Preissner, who was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast about her recent Irish Independent article ‘I polled men on how female bodies worked — the results were shocking.’
Ms Preissner polled her friends and Instagram followers by asking them ‘How many tampons did they think a woman needed for one cycle of her period?’
The research was inspired by the story of Sally Ride – the first American woman in space – who was given 100 tampons by her NASA colleagues for a week-long trip to space.
“We assume that rocket science is difficult, and therefore rocket scientists are intelligent – but they thought that 100 would be the right number,” Ms Preissner told the show.
Ms Preissner said the most shocking response she received was from a man who believed women used only one tampon per period.
“[He had] no knowledge of septic shock or Toxic Shock, or how that might kill a woman,” she said.
“I just find it fascinating that this thing that happens to women every single month is so mysterious to men.”
Ms Preissner said women’s responses “varied widely.”
“Some people will only use tampons for the first day of their cycle or the heaviest day,” she said.
“Some might only use one in a cycle but they're not using one for the entire cycle.”
‘Men need to know’
The podcaster said it is not important for men to know exactly how many menstrual products some women need – but a greater understanding of how these products “function” was needed.
“Some [men] would say seven [per cycle] and there were plenty of women who responded saying seven,” she said.
“But when I asked them where they got the answer from, it was that they thought you put in one in the morning, take it out the next morning and put in a new one.
“These were people who are married, they have wives, they have daughters – to not know how a tampon is used is a little bit irresponsible.
“They should know how a tampon functions, how long it should be in for and how to prevent women from dying by misusing tampons – that shouldn't be this mysterious thing.”
Ms Preissner said women’s hygiene shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery for men.
“Obviously we don't tell them, and they don't think about it, because it doesn't cross their minds because it's something that happens privately in the bathroom," she said.
“That's fair enough, but I do think that the demystification of functional hygiene products is necessary.”
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Main image shows a man with glasses looks at a feminine sanitary pad with surprise ( Valeriya Popova / Alamy Stock Photo)