Aunt Flo is visiting today and I’ve got to make some room for her. Sigh. Are we still using that phrase, Aunt Flo? The Red Tide? On the rag? Period euphemisms are insane, but women still use them to stay modest in polite society. I get it, I understand it will take a long time to get over Period Shame.
Euphemisms wasn’t what I wanted to talk about, but it does lead me to my gripes with having a period in modern society. I’d like to think that we’ve progressed as humans, but it appears that we’re still using archaic methods to take care of really old issue. The culprit? Maxi-pads and tampons.
Women have always been using something to catch their menstrual flow, but the since the invention of disposable paper products, we’ve seen the rise of new problems. The first disposable maxi pads were made in the 1920, while the first tampons were made in the 1940’s. Both were invented for war related wounds. It makes sense right? If you can stick a tampon up your broken nose to stop the gushing, why can’t you put one in a bullet wound? Better yet, why can’t you put one up your vagina?
I have to give it up to Kotex and Tampax for their ingenuity, but again, I think we’re moving past the those times. Let me make the case against tampons and pads.
- Pads and tampons can be an expensive necessity over the course of a woman’s life-time. Every month, we must cover this cost ourselves. In my case, that’s about $10 a month for 30-40 child-bearing years. Now I can clip coupons or get an hysterectomy, but I’m trying to avoid all the unwanted scissor interaction I can.
- Are they all that safe? Tampons aren’t just made of lily white cotton. The materials to make a tampon are dangerous alone, but they are even more dangerous when put together in one package and eventually inserted into your body. Those materials include: Dioxine (used to bleach them white), Rayon (for maximum absorbancy), Fragrance (for you know. . . that fresh feeling), and Pesticides like furan (for cotton growth in fields) Pads are made of the same materials.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome. All of those additives listed above, left in your vagina for more than six hours could lead to this illness.
- Harmful to the environment. Those pads and tampons don’t go anywhere fast. They sit in landfills and septic tanks around the world unable to decompose for hundreds of years. That’s millions of women using these products around the world. Can you imagine that amount of trash?
What’s the solution? Innovative people are working on that right now.
Today, I went to Rite-aid to buy some Pamprin for my cramps and bloating and found these things:
I had heard of them, but I’d been too lazy to actually purchase them. By the time I was reminded of them, I wasn’t on my period and they weren’t on my shopping list. But today, it was just good timing and purchasing them just made good sense.
They boast of being the healthy, eco-friendly alternative to traditional feminine products. I’ve tried them and I think they might be something to invest in. Here’s why:
- It’s takes practice, but insertion is easier than you think. You can’t feel them either.
- You can safely wear the kind I bought for 12 hours. Even better, you can buy reusable cups enabling you to use 1 cup for one whole cycle. Just wash it out and put it back in.
- You can still live an active life. Go swimming, run a marathon, hike Everest! Your cup will still be collecting!
- You can still have sex while you’re menstruating and it won’t be messy or awkward.
- Since the cup is collecting blood instead of storing it in a super absorbent tampon, the chance of bad bacteria growing in your body is non-existent. That means no Toxic Shock Syndrome.
- Cuts costs. I will start with these, but I plan to buy reusable cups. But for now, in the 12 hours I use this cup, I could be swapping out about three tampons or four pads. This will take the burden off my pocket book!
- Less garbage weighing down the Earth.
There are options out there that don’t involve you being beholden to corporations. They don’t exactly have your best interest in mind. It’s their job to sell you stuff instead. They need you to keep coming back for more every month. So it makes sense why these cups and others like them, haven’t been so widely available.
Complacency is the key. If you don’t ask questions and if you don’t make a fuss about things, the status quo will always win. Birth control has been in the news recently and people have chosen their sides. Whether politically or religiously, our nation is divided on an issue that really effects 50% of us.
Menstruation is only experienced by 50% of our population, but it seems that 50% has no voice in the matter. Corporations still make a lot of our decisions, should they be allowed to make this one too? Think on that and get back to me.
Back to those period euphemisms now. Instead of saying: “I can’t be bothered today, I’m on the rag.” I’d love to be able to say: “I can’t be bothered today, I’m on the cup.”