Activist Mommy

{August 13, 2007}   Being a Woman Is a Messy Lot

I read a great article over the weekend over at The F-Word. The article, Skirting The Issue, is a great piece on marketing products towards women and trying to sell more stuff we don’t really need. All in the name of feminie hygene. Products like panty liners, to keep your underwear clean from “daily natural discharge”. Or, as Harriet Reuter Hapgood put it in the article

At some point it was decided that underwear was no longer a functional item to prevent your clothes from being soiled; underwear itself was promoted to the level of clothing, or fashion, and must therefore be protected. Enter the pantyliner. The logic behind the product is simple: if you can only sell sanitary towels and tampons to women one week in every four, you need a new product to fill those remaining three weeks.

As she points out there are a few thousand different products on the market for “feminie hygene”. Or “what can we make to both convince women they are dirty and make a few billion in the process?” We can’t exactly be exiled to the red tent for a week anymore, so they have to find a new tactic to make sure we know that our bodies, and their normal processes, are dirty. So dirty that not only do you need to buy their products to keep it all cleaned up, but they won’t even mention what “it” is. What exactly is “daily natural discharge”? They won’t say, but you need to buy their pantyliners to stop it from soiling your panties. Like your mother telling you to make sure you are wearing clean underwear in case you get into an accident, you want to be wearing clean panties in case (fill in the blank here).

In fact, most sanitary products adverts carefully avoid any mention of periods, vaginas, menstruation or vaginal fluids. The fluids usually used in the adverts (if any at all) is often the same as nappy adverts, a clear blue liquid that bears no resemblance to anything that ever emerged from a vagina.

The article ends with some notes on the alternatives women can use. Cloth pads (which several of my friends use and adore), sea sponges, and menstrual cups are a few of the alternative choices. I know that many women aren’t at all comfortable with using any of these. Goddess knows I used to be one. But now I love how freeing it is not to sneak around in the “feminine area” looking for something that will cover any smell or spots or trace that I might *gasp* have a period.

Diva Cup Ode to my Diva Cup

Once a month,
Just as the moon goes dark,
The whole world goes to hell
And I find myself sitting in the red hut
Sipping herbal tea
And grumbling on the ineptitude of the men in my house.
They call me a diva,
As if that were a bad thing.
I say they’re just jealous
Because they’ll never understand.
But you do,
My Diva Cup.
Storer of knowledge,
Keeper of blood,
The one who helps me to no longer stand in long lines at the gas station at a quarter past midnight to buy over priced feminine products.
And for this,
I love you.

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puremotif says:

just saw this post through sk-rt. so funny, and true. for me though, i do like to use liners for comfort in certain pants – that have a thick seam and can be a bit uncomfortable. but in general i’ve stopped using them everyday like i used to! still haven’t graduated to the cup yet. maybe one day…

matt says:

A liner every day! That does sound a little over the top. These moneymen sure do come up with good money spinners don’t they. They’ll be selling men disposable codpieces soon. 🙂

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