Warning: If the word "tampon" makes you squeamish or offends your sensibilities in any way,
I suggest you skip this post get over it.
Although Argentina is a Catholic country, attitudes toward sexuality have shifted, and many Argentines have developed a more liberal viewpoint on controversial topics like premarital sex, homosexuality, and nudity. However, it seems that certain topics pertaining to the realities of the human body remain taboo.
No one seems terribly bothered by the enormous poster around the corner that prominently features a woman's tanned backside (it's an advertisement for car batteries – go figure). I frequently pass newsstands and kiosks filled to the brim with men's magazines, with little to no attempt made to cover up "the goods." Birth control pills are available here without a prescription – simply ask and ye shall receive.
Yet when I go to a pharmacy to purchase tampons (sinful, sinful!), they must be carefully wrapped in paper and taped up like some bizarre Christmas stocking stuffer and then placed in a plastic bag, lest someone see that I've bought a box of this downright scandalous feminine hygiene product. To make matters worse, if you happen to be in a pharmacy where they have everything stocked behind the counter, you're subjected to the horrified looks of other customers as you ask for your 20-count box of regulars. Dear God, she uses those things! I'm pretty sure I saw an older woman faint once right after I bought a box.
If you're visiting Argentina and are choosy about the products you use, I suggest you pack your own supply. There are only two brands of tampons available in Argentina – o.b. and Days – neither of which have applicators. There is a bright side to all of this though: if you use pads, you're in luck because pharmacies and supermarkets here have enough stock of those to last through to the next Ice Age.
P.S. It looks like the tampon situation is just as drastic in Chile.