Something was recently brought to my attention that concerns all women (and men) of the world. Though it’s a topic you would think I would have discussed by now, I surprisingly haven’t. So here I am. Talking about periods.
The point of this blog is to do two things: to address the taboo nature surrounding menstruation and to introduce you to two amazing women who have developed a progressive line of feminine products that is giving back to the homeless women of America.
Given the birth control I am on (note to self: write a blog about the stigmatization of “the pill”), I actually haven’t had a period in over a year. I remember, though, what it was like to get a period and all of the maintenance involved, as well as the embarrassment.
I got my period on Easter Day, right before my twelfth birthday. And I couldn’t have gotten it at a more inconvenient time. Not only did I receive the awkward “congrats” from my mom, but the following weekend that I had my period (because my periods were heavy and irregular, my first one lasted a little over a week), I was actually camping out at a music festival. With my father. There is nothing quite as embarrassing for a twelve year old girl than constantly walking past her father at the campsite to changer her pad…in a port-a-john. Absolutely mortifying.
But why was I so embarrassed?
How was getting my period so embarrassing for me? How was it more embarrassing than the time my dad found out I wasn’t a virgin or the time I walked into the wrong homeroom my freshman year of high school? Why is this bodily function–something as natural as farting or sneezing–so mortifying for girls and women?
Maybe I just gave more shits back then than I do now, but that still doesn’t account for the women worldwide who feel uncomfortable, or are even shunned, while menstruating.
Since when does bleeding out of your vagina become more disgusting than cumming on a woman’s face? (Sorry, I had to.)
Uncomfortable yet? Good. Keep reading.
The unspoken truth is: every time a woman takes her purse to the bathroom, she feels self conscious about what other people–specifically men–think of her. It’s the never-ending subtle hiding of tampons in your purse or bathroom and telling your partner that you “just don’t feel like it, so please quit asking.” It’s the annoyances of ruining expensive underwear, literally feeling blood dripping out of you as you sit in class, of paying sales tax on a “cosmetic” hygiene item that’s already over-priced enough as it is. Hell, it’s the fact that a woman has to pay over $10 for a box of tampons that will *maybe* get her through two cycles, when she can find free condoms at many health facilities.
It’s the unconscious shame that women associate with their periods. It’s the fact that my friend asked me to buy tampons for her in the store the other day because she didn’t want people to know she was buying them. It’s the fact that, since middle school, we have all been comfortably saying “condom,” yet we still struggle to get out the word “tampon” at times.
Periods, such a natural body function, that over 50% of Americans experience each month, are considered gross and unacceptable to talk about in our society.
Young girls do not feel comfortable asking their mothers for help and don’t know how to explain to their male teachers that they “need to go to the bathroom…I have a problem.” More urgently, homeless women don’t know how to reach out asking for feminine products or don’t have the sources to do so.
This is where Conscious Period steps in.
For starters, they highlight a horrifying fact that I wasn’t aware of until just now: tampon companies are not required to disclose their ingredients. What does this mean? This means that all women who use, or have used, tampons are potentially putting harmful chemicals into one of the most sensitive, porous parts of their body.
Conscious Period recognizes this problem. They have developed a 100% organic cotton tampon with a BPA-free applicator with all of the ingredients listed on the box. Not to mention, they’re offered at an affordable price AND give back to homeless women. I mean, this is so cool, it almost makes me want to have a period again. Almost.
So, how do they do it?
The coolest selling point of this product is the concept of selling in bulk. That’s right–you can buy up to 18 months worth of tampons in one click, or you can go as small as one box for $8. Either way, for each box of tampons sold by the Conscious Period team, they will be able to give one box of organic, biodegradable pads to a woman in need.
Not only can we start talking about periods more but, while doing it, we can reach out a helping hand to other women.
If this isn’t a movement, I don’t know what is.
And, Grandma, thank you for forcing your period talks on me when I was little I guess I got it from you.
For the original inspiration behind this blog post, check out this video.
Image Courtesy of: nhs.uk