Saras mother didn’t allow her to use tampons after she had gotten her period, because she was sure Sara would lose her virginity. „I think that’s the biggest difference between Iranian and Austrian parents“, says the 20-year-old student. Only after her friends mother assured her nothing bad could happen while using a tampon properly and after a doctors advice her mom was ok with Sara using tampons. But not only at home this topic was kind of complicated, it was a big taboo at school also. „We used code words for hygienic articles“, she remembers. „Boys were disgusted by us talking frankly about our bleeding.“ They closed their ears or left the room when the girls talked about their menstruation. Even when Sara got a boyfriend with 15 he told her not to speak about this „stuff“ in front of him. That was a big issue for Sara for a long time. She is sure society hasn’t really changed since back then. But there is one big difference: Saras thought process. „Why ought I to make a ‚nasty’ secret out of something that is so natural?“, Sara asks now.
Sara got her period when she was 10 years old. In that moment she was just reading a book where a girl just had her menstruation. For a long time she thought that that was the reason why she got her period. „I was the first girl in my class and told no one until the others got their period also“, the 20-year-old remembers. Nowadays she talks frankly about it, she is trying to break this taboo. „We need to talk to everybody about our period, this is how we can make a chance“, she says. „Words influence our daily life.“ Sara is sick of staying silent, she did that for ten years. „I was so ashamed of myself and I don’t want to feel like that anymore.“
Not long ago Sara read an article about how Austrians have to pay 20 percent taxes on feminine hygienic products, that’s even higher than food, books or cinema tickets. „Women can’t choose if they need tampons or sanitary towels“, Sara explains. Even more than this unrighteousness she got upset about the comments under the article. „There were men complaining about how they have to buy shavers too or how women only want to get attention with this discussion“, she remembers. Some time ago, when Barack Obama was still US-president, he was confronted with taxes on feminine hygiene products. His response was: „I suspect that’s because men were making the laws“ and this sounds sadly true. „Tampons are no luxury good“, Sara sums up and she’s absolutely right.