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Body Politics, Feminism, Menstruation

A not-so-kept-secret: Menstruation

A very radical and feminist friend of mine had a Facebook status the other day that caused me to pause, considering the source.
She posted “Attention ladies of [the dorm] – the bathroom smells like dirty fish aka dirty vagina… shape up.”

Taking into account that she was being comical, still, I think I crossed that line somewhere into raging-feminist-with-no-sense-of-humor (that isn’t quite true, but I’m close) and I expressed my displeasure at the status to my partner. I was like, can I put “Now now, not all vagina smells the same.” or “Every vagina smells differently, maybe we should be more understanding of…” and my partner nicely reminded me not to be THAT person.

But I couldn’t leave it! I’m a kid on a mission! So I made a joke as a reply,”because vagina is ‘sposed to smell like roses and ‘fresh shower scent’ like all the man-made products tell us it is…” knowing full well she gets it, but hoping that other people would sorta understand, too.

So, talking about this with some friends -and let us face it, there’s not much more liberating than talking about vagina in a public place-  I realized that so many individuals don’t have healthy conversations about vagina or menstruation.

Now I know these two things don’t always have to go together, there are other interesting and exciting aspects about the former -oh trust me I know- that don’t relate to the latter.

But how often is menstruation talked about in a normal and natural way, that doesn’t shame or secret it away? and really, WHY is it so scary to talk about? This natural, biological process that over 50% of our population experience at one point in their lifetime.

We don’t see a comprehensive and thorough discussion in mainstream media or in other institutions anywhere. Instead, we have messages that haven’t changed much from this Disney produced movie, through funding from KOTEX (ah, capitalism at it’s finest, controlling women) from 1946:

Instead of being natural, menstruation is turned into something shameful, secretive. Look! tampons that fit into your hand so nobody has to know what you’re carrying to the bathroom! Get your “hygiene” products so you won’t be dirty anymore! What is with that? Are there better options available for the menstruation process? I’m so glad you asked… yes! There are!

  • The first time I heard about alternative menstrual products was my 4th year in college. Yep.
  • Let’s learn a bit more about these:

So, consider what putting bleached cotton+rayon in our vagina does, then putting it in the landfills. How can we better love our bodies? Show some love to the environment too? oh, and did I mention, showing love to our wallet also? All at the same time! Woah.

So, personal moment, I got a MOON CUP, similar to the DIVA CUP, just made of silicone instead of rubber-latex. The cups are so simple to use and long-lasting. I bought mine at Women & Children First in Andersonville, with a cloth panty-liner from the brand Party in my Pants.

Both are the BEST purchases EVER.

I don’t detest my menstruation cycle as much as I used to! Easy to use, the cup simply folds in half, and half again, and is inserted – much like a tampon. I can empty, rinse it off, and reinsert only a couple to four times a day; I sleep, work out, do yoga, and ride a bike in it without a second thought! The first month, admittedly, felt slightly awkward… but I wouldn’t trade it for anything now. The PIMP liner (Party in my Pants) has nylon backing and snaps that keep it in place (and it does stay in place). It’s even machine-washable. I do use this for the “just in case” moments for leakage or fear of leakage, but I also use disposable liners until I will purchase more cloth ones.

I also am considering looking into things like sea sponges for light days. They can be found in numerous locations and are so inexpensive! Especially in comparison to buying multiple “hygiene” products every month, jeez.

  • I wish to incite thought regarding the way you approach your period and invite change into the natural process for products and yourself. Don’t be afraid of your own body and what it does. Your vagina is a part of your body. Check it out! Learn about what it does! Live freer knowing more about yourself.

About aoawaywego

I’m struggling to discover reality in a society that hides behind a curtain of falsified perfection. Without believing in impossibilities, my thoughts are written out to find beauty in the imperfections and intricacies.



  1. Pingback: A Not-So-Kept Secret: Why We Need to Talk About Menstruation « In Our Words - August 22, 2012

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