A few days after a ‘fake sanitary pad’ scandal sparked health concerns in China, People’s Daily – the most influential state-run newspaper in China – explains to women on Weibo how to correctly use sanitary pads, and how to tell if they are real or fake.
“Girls, are you really using sanitary pads correctly?”
Nanchang police recently discovered counterfeit sanitary pads that were sold under Chinese well-known brand names such as ‘ABC’ or ‘Sophie (苏菲). The fake sanitary pads were produced in a factory without the proper sterilization, which could potentially cause health problems for women using them.
“How can you tell if a sanitary pad is counterfeit?”, People’s Daily posted: “And what are the common misconceptions about the use of sanitary pads? How can women choose the right type of sanitary towel?”
People’s Daily posted several infographics explaining how to differentiate a fake pad from a real one, and how to properly use sanitary pads.
“How to differentiate real from fake menstrual pads?”
Under the header of “how to differentiate real from fake menstrual pads?” (“如何鉴别真假卫生巾”), the Chinese newspaper warns women to pay attention to the look, smell, shape, and quality of sanitary pads.
Non-counterfeit sanitary towels are properly packed and have no visible damages. There should be no chemical smell to the pads, and their thickness should be even. They should also be able to quickly absorb 10mm or more of water – which is a quick test to see if a sanitary pad is real, according to the Weibo post.
Besides offering a crash course in differentiating fake from real menstrual pads, People’s Daily advises women to change their sanitary pads every 2-3 hours – no matter whether their menstruation is heavy or light – to avoid reproduction of bacteria.
The infographic also warns women not to use old sanitary towels, even if they have never been opened, because keeping them for too long after the production date might allegedly affect its quality and hygienic standard.
The state media outlet advises women to frequently change sanitary napkins that have high absorption capacity and not to use sanitary pads if it is not necessary to do so.
Lastly, People’s Daily says that women should be cautious about buying menstrual pads that are sold at a discount price and to buy reputable brands instead of new or unknown ones.
“It should not be up to women to distinguish real sanitary pads from counterfeit ones.”
The People’s Daily Weibo post soon triggered thousands of reactions from netizens. Many are angry that the newspaper advises women on how to look out for fake menstrual pads.
“I feel that it should not be up to women to distinguish real sanitary pads from counterfeit ones; it is up to the concerning departments to control and supervise [the sale of menstrual pads],” one netizen comments: “The people involved in illegal sales should be heavily punished!”
“This is too funny!”, another Weibo user says: “Now all women have to master how to differentiate between fake and real sanitary napkins.”
“We are already in pain, and now we also have to think about if what we buy is real or not,” another female netizen complains.
“You don’t realize how poor many people are, and how expensive menstrual pads are. And now they can not only be fake, but you also tell us to change them every 2-3 hours, well that’s at least 7 pads a day (..) – the costs are just too high.”
“When you live in China, you have to able to tell if meat is fake, if alcohol is fake, if hotpot ingredients are fake, if gasoline is fake (..), and now even women ‘whose aunt is visiting’ are encountering fake products!”
“Now my menstruation just scares me even more.”
By now, the People’s Daily post has been shared thousands of times on Chinese social media, with the hashtag “Are you really using sanitary towels correctly? (#你真的用对卫生巾了吗#) being one of the top trending topics on Weibo’s ‘hot search’ list.
The issue has also been covered by other media outlets, from newspapers to (local) TV channels. Although People’s Daily is serious in its intention to teach women how to correctly use non-counterfeit menstrual pads, most netizens are either angered or humored by this ‘crash course.’
“As women, we already have to endure so much and now this too,” one person writes.
For other Weibo users, all this talk about ‘that time of the month’ just is another reason to dread it. “Now my menstruation just scares me even more,” one netizen writes.
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