PERIODS ARE COMPLICATED, UNCOMFORTABLE AND INDIVIDUAL - LET'S RESPECT THAT
Period shaming. Why are we still doing it? I think every menstruating person out there has probably dealt with a particularly nasty cycle at least once in their lives and some of us deal with crippling pain, heavy blood flow and emotional upset every single month. So I find it unfathomable that, riding our wave of eco-friendly activism, we’re still okay to shame each other about what type of period products we chose to use. Yes, some are clearly better for the planet than others, there’s the equivalent of 5 plastic bags in one pack of sanitary pads, but ultimately I believe that if you choose to use a reusable tampon applicator, as I do, that you shouldn’t be shamed for doing as much for the planet as you feel comfortable.
80% of women have flushed a period product and there are 9 applicators found per kilometre of beach in the UK.
I’ve tried a menstrual cup, several different types and shapes in fact, and the result from my body is a resounding ‘no.’ I don’t want to be told that I haven’t tried hard enough, because I have, and so I’m happy that I can still experience my period in a more environmentally friendly and comfortable way with a reusable tampon applicator that means I never have to throw away an applicator ever again which, when there’s 9 applicators for every kilometre of beach in the UK, is a very good thing. Sure I could use my finger, but the vagina is one of the most absorbent parts of our bodies and I personally find pushing a wad of absorbent cotton into it on a very regular basis uncomfortable and sore. I was really struck by something I read recently in Maisie Hill’s book, Period Power:
‘Our hesitancy to put a finger or two inside ourselves is really no surprise: most of us have been raised by the powers that be to believe that vaginas are dirty, and that we’re sexual deviants if we touch ourselves - this is the real reason behind tampon applicators’
She’s right, of course, we do have a weird hang up about touching ourselves. However I don’t agree that it’s the real reason for tampon applicators, in fact there are some countries where they don’t use them at all - not because women necessarily choose not to, but because they aren’t even on sale to buy. Australia and some Scandinavian countries simply just don’t sell them. In stark contrast to this, one American blogger, called HousewifeDownUnder, wrote in a blog post: “Tampons without applicators are just a no-go...it is so beyond disgusting that it doesn’t even bear thinking of.” Well, I’d argue that the female body is anything but disgusting but at the same time it highlights how influenced we are by the culture we grow up in and we shouldn’t be blamed for that or called bad feminists. The important thing here is to accept the different ways in which we all choose to experience our periods.