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Period Piece

Image © Kelly Nicoll

By only

Thursday February 15, 2007

Clean up your bloody mess

It’s not a big secret that women bleed from the crotch. Half the population does it, and the other half is affected by it–like, you did come out of a vagina, right?

But there’s a culture of concealment and secrecy based on a bleeding lady’s fear of exposure. It prevents constructive discussion, consumer debate, scientific research and even safety monitoring of the big “sanitary protection” industry.

Where does this fear and shame come from? That would be the fuckers that make money (Americans spend around $2.7 billion US per year on menstrual junk) by maximising women’s insecurities. We’re bombarded with advertisements reminding us how gross and unladylike it is to menstruate. To be discovered as a menstruator would mean ultimate humiliation.

“New! From Kotex! Pads with quiet wrappers!” Great, so now the lady in the next stall won’t hear that telltale rustling and know you’re throwing away a pad. That would be embarrassing.
The big money pad ads also remind us to fear “feminine odours” and that “not-so-fresh feeling.” Like taping a plasticky, unbreathable pad to my vajayjay is going to help with that. Hey, Always, thanks for creating an unfresh feeling that we can now remedy with Always brand disposable feminine cleansing cloths. Now we’re sure to “feel confident throughout the day.”

A girl can easily make a pad out of nice soft flannel, fill it with layers of terry and fasten it with a single snap. Montreal-based activist group Blood Sisters–who work against the corporate and cultural constructions of menstruation–have an easy-to-use, printable pad pattern on their website. “Hello” comfort and breathability, “goodbye” chafing and having some dude make you feel crappy about your fecundity to make a quick buck.

It’s seriously not that scary just to rinse a bloody pad in cold water and throw it in the laundry, is it? You’d be surprised at how not-gross menses actually is when it’s not sucked into a bleachy bundle of rayon fibres (aka a tampon) or a sticky plastic pad. It’s just your blood. It’d take the same amount of time to rinse a pad as it would to carefully camouflage it in toilet paper before you toss it (and you won’t have to worry about your boyfriend’s parents’ Boston terrier dragging it out of the trash and tearing it to shreds in their living room).

Or why not try a reusable menstrual cup like the Keeper or the Diva Cup? You can leave it in for 12 hours and use the same one for 10 years. And most women find that after 12 hours, the 30ml cup is only half-full–or half-empty, depending on your outlook.
You can get the Diva Cup at a ton of places, recently including London Drugs. If you buy it from Womyn’s Ware on Commercial Drive, you can try it out and return it if you don’t like it. But we bet you won’t return it. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll get the hang of it. And you’ll be a lot more comfortable with sticking your fingers up your lady-hole–a life skill we should all master.

We’re not even going to go into the health issues like TSS, vaginal dryness and ulceration, peeling of the mucous membrane, diaper rash and the disruption of the natural micro flora ecosystem that’s essential to a healthy pussy. And we dare not mention the fact that the FDA says not to worry about the low levels of dioxins (this shit has been linked to endometriosis even when it’s not shoved up your cunt) since you’re already exposed to it through environmental pollutants (environmental pollutants from bleaching paper products, perhaps?). Didn’t the US Environmental Protection Agency say something about no level of exposure to dioxins being acceptable for humans?

The average vadge bleeds onto about 15,000 pads/tampons during her menstruating career. That’s like 17 shopping carts full of garbage.

But it’s not what these products are doing to our love tunnels and our earth that should really motivate you to change your blood-catching strategy, it’s what they’re doing to our minds and our society.
Stop paying these jerks to make you feel crappy. Why keep a secret that everyone knows about?