Do you know what you’re putting inside your vagina? Well today we’re going to talk about it, because I find it so interesting that these major companies don’t care about our bodies.
My research all began on March 8, 2017 on International Women’s Day, while I was home on the toilet (I know TMI) reading some Buzzfeed article’s and watch their videos when I came across a segment called “Ladylike”. Its about a group of 5 wonderful women, who do these ‘task’ and at the end they tell you their experience — good or bad. There was this one video that caught my eye, it was called ‘Women Go Without Period Products For A Day‘, I thought this title was very enticing.
It was almost like a conundrum, almost resembling forbidden fruit, “is this something I really want to watch? Hell yeah!” Also Buzzfeed played a little preview of the video, which made me want to watch it more. These strong women, went their whole cycle without any pads or tampons (Disclaimer: they actually show you their period blood, I thought that was so impowering). You can tell by their vlogs that it was difficult too. It’s not like they could’ve stayed home either, to up the antics they had to do daily activities like go and sit in an office and sit in cabs or their own car. But of course they couldn’t just completely not use anything, they had to use wee-wee pads when sitting down, but thats it. With these women doing this courageous deed, I started to wonder what women used before tampons and pads were invented.
Moreover, I stumbled on an article called “16 Stories That Will Expand Your Mind” and one of the stories were about a 13-year old girl who had just gotten her period and was not able to pay for pads because it was too expensive. She would go and use old t-shirts and sometimes even wash cloths but it wouldn’t help because she would just bleed right through them. I found this lugubrious because something that is so unavoidable, where us women can’t change it or stop it, is not accessible to every girl. Even when she asked her grandmother for money she was shouted at and was told “…there was no money and that [she] should use cloth.“ This little girl even went as far as to get Depo-Provera which is a type of birth control that is an injection, the long term affects are it decreases bone mineral density in the hip, neck, and back. The 13 year old girl was happy for the time period because her period had stopped but now she faces other complications down the line. Which hence, made me look further into alternative ways of handling periods but first I was curious in history of period products — sidenote: when I get into something, I start to dig deep.
According to Women’s Health, women in the 1850s used a produced called sanitary aprons, it was rubber on the inside and were told to be “[very] heavy and stinky.” I’m not exactly sure how you would put it on or how often it needed to be changed. In the 1930s menstrual cups were invited by Leona Chalmbers, they weren’t a big hit because most women didn’t like the idea of touching their own blood; even though it came out of them but whatever. A year later the tampon were invited by a man named Earle Hass; which is kind of mind-boggling, a man creating a period product for women? Then again Victoria Secret wouldn’t be around neither. The ideas was presented to Kotex and at the time they didn’t think that it would be such a success so they passed on the idea, but low and behold it was a great triumph because women loved the idea and the fact they didn’t have to touch blood. Which brings us to 1975 where a brand called Reply had made a super exorbitant tampon. They soon realized that the one of the main ingredients gave women TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) but Reply tried to say that some women carried a certain bacteria that brought on TSS and that it wasn’t the tampons — Reply was recalled because of it, other brands such as Kotex have been known to use this super exorbitant ingredient, but still use the ‘it’s them not us’ excuse. Once the 2000 hit and even until today, women were becoming more environmentally friendly by using cloth pads (which were around for years in other countries) made it’s way to USA. This great alternative is just like the disposables, but without the chemicals. Also, menstrual cups made it’s way back around while giving it a new name; Diva Cup. Plus, organic pads and tampons had surfaced, they used 100% cotton and are totally safe for us to use
Regrettably, on average women use $1,2000 to $1,4000 on disposable pads and tampons (and there are a lot of us; I can’t even imagine what that land field looks like). Something else that was brought to my attention was the labeling, I mentioned TSS but what other ingredients are used in pads and tampons? I mean, I know what my clothes are made out of, I know what my nail polish is made of, even my underwear has a label on it, but why is there no labeling on my pads and tampons? I grabbed the packaging that I have in my apartment and began to search; I saw nothing. I went to the store and began to search; nothing. Even tried to Google it and got some sort of answer such as, bleach but that’s it.
I was so in my feelings at this point. How come I never paid attention to any of this before? I took to Google and researched some healthier ways to contorl my period. One method I was really interested in were cloth pads. I use pads as it is and it only made sense that I would gravitate towards those, the cotton pads were alluring too but they’d only be healthy for me not the environment too. I did a ton of research cloth pads; what material was the best? How does it feel? Which brand is the best? How expensive is it? Is it worth making vs. just buying them? I never knew there was a whole damn community where women share and talk about their periods.
ItsJustKelli, is a YouTuber who I just couldn’t stop watching! She had started this segment on her channel where she tries different period products and this women is so bad ass, I wish everyone knew about her! She talks a lot about how periods aren’t generalize and how females get squeamish about their own period blood. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve always been the type to be very open about my periods, I would have conversations with women and girls about how they feel about periods and a lot of females would either not want to talk about it or would make sure no one was around to hear them talk about it.
WHY ARE PERIODS SUCH A SECRET? And if men is your excuse then that’s a poor one. Men have mother’s, grandmother’s, sisters, aunt’s, niece’s, daughter’s, a women that they know, a women that they work with, and possibly a women they work for, we all know that every month blood comes out of the vagina, so what’s the big deal? (Side note: I love how she actually shows us her first impression on each product and shows us what and how much blood is being caught with each item). I truly recommend watching her videos and talking in the information about how it feels and how it’s not as bad as everyone thinks and so forth.
Ultimately, this made me want to talk about it with my co-workers (great work conversations right? Lol) One women told me that with her intimate person she talks about said “period” but when she’s out in public she referrs to them as sanitary napkins, saying the word pad is not a proper to be said in public.
(PAD PAD PAD PAD! I’d like to see someone stop me from saying pad in public). She then continued to say that men may not want to hear the word, it’s too uncomfortable for them. I couldn’t take it, I had to break down the, “men [have] mother’s, grandmother’s, sisters, aunt’s…” in hopes of communicating to her that we need to normalize periods. My boyfriend and I have conversations about my period all the time, there was even one time I bled through my underwear right onto our bed. Of course I was embarrassed and so apologetic but he understood, he was more worried about my well-being than anything else. In addition, here’s my plan on how to nomalize menstration: first I would say is to write to the corporate companies about there their products saying how they need to put the ingredients on the packaging. Next is to have an open discussion with whomever, I always give tips to my boyfriend about periods because when we get married and decide to children, we could possibly have a daughter and she’s going to ask him things, so I try to prepare him. In other words, keep the conversation open to whom ever will listen.
So in conclusion, periods are a normal thing. We don’t need these corporations trying to down play something so normal, or putting chemicals on products to try and make it “smell good“, or any of that bullshit. On the plus side after all of this I actually bought some cloth pads myself hopefully I was able to encourage you to educate you the women in your lives to make the change too and comment down below, how do you feel about your periods? Would you consider alternative ways of handling your period? Until next time ❤
With Love & Sweetness,