GREAT PROLETARIAN STRIDES
Like you, I am surprised. I would have thought the Chinese would have actually invented it, like so many other things we take for granted. Here in the United States we're already experimenting with Marijuana tampons, about which I shall have little to say, but over in the mainland most women (and men, probably) are entirely unaware of the item itself.
There are a small number of aficionados in Guangdong (Canton), of course, where people are more aware of Western consumables, and probably heard about it from their Hong Kong relatives.
"...Puff House, a Guangdong-based online store that sells Tampax and Kotex brands from the United States ..... "
Puff house?!? Okay, I like that name. Puff House.
I cannot imagine the initial conversation in which a Hong Kong cousin explains the object to her Mainland cousins. It may have been fraught and staggering.
But the dialogue is moving to the next level.
This is detailed in USA Today: China launches tampon
All quotes here are from that article.
"Ye Deliang, 51, an electrical engineer from central Henan province, plans to launch Danbishuang tampons this month with a social media campaign that stresses their health benefits."
Ye Deliang is of course a man. Because only a male tech whiz is capable of sensibly discussing feminine hygiene.
"When Ye graduated from college in 1986, the government assigned him a job in a factory producing medical cotton supplies, like maternity pads and vaginal swabs. He was initially embarrassed about the gynecological nature of his work, but 30 years later, he is comfortable talking about tampons."
There is poetry in this field; the name of Mr. Ye's brand is beautiful.
Danbishuang (丹碧爽) suggests harmony and comfort, as well as something precious that could be gifted, possibly in a presentation container or a lovely handmade casket.
Let us analyze: 丹 means cinnabar or vermilion, and is much used for pills and medical herb pellets, dating back to alchemists attempting to make the elixir of immortality; 碧 is a jade disc, blue or blueish green, sometimes a cloudy white, and one of the totemic items representing perfection and the female principle; 爽 means pleasurable, cool, refreshed, or invigorated, with connotations of straightforwardness, brightness, and crispness.
A tampon is described in Chinese as a yuechingmianshuan (月經棉栓), meaning a menstrual cotton peg, plug, rod, stick, or, in this case, contextually a cigarette or cigar shaped object made out of absorbent material.
It strikes me that while I have been quite aware of tampons for several years, I have never much discussed them, especially not with my female friends and acquaintances. Not that I would feel uncomfortable doing so, but the subject comes up so rarely that I doubt that that will change. This is the most I've considered it, its methods, materials, and even construction, in my entire life.
But the tampon is well worth thinking about.
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Please note: the pronunciation of Chinese characters shown above is in Mandarin, instead of the Cantonese which I would normally use. That is because discussing such things is not something I shall engage upon with anyone locally.
I will not be surprised if male readers tuned out after the forty fourth word.
The word 'tampon' derives from Mediaeval French 'tampion' (tompion), which like many people I first encountered in a passage by Roald Dahl discussing hibernating bears.
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