Monday, December 5, 2011

Cleaning Alternatives for Reusable Pads

The ladies at the Be Prepared Blog sent us a link to their new post discussing alternate cleaning products for reusable pads. They talk about H20 at Home's Eco-Clean Laundry Ball as well as a couple of organic washes. I personally never thought about using a different soap for my pads; usually I throw them in with my regular laundry loads. Yet they bring up a good point of the chemicals in laundry detergent sticking to your pads after you wash them (and who wants that near your ladyparts?). While we're on the subject, I have to give a plug for the Forever New wash. It's branded primarily for washing lingerie but I've washed some of my homemade pads in it as well. Are there any other products or methods you use to clean your reusable pads?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Separating the men from the boys

The other day, I read an excerpt from Mindy Kaling's new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling's hilarious, so of course the excerpt was good. In it, she talked about the importance of dating a man, rather than a boy.

Until I was 30, I dated only boys. I'll tell you why: Men scared the shit out of me. Men know what they want. Men own alarm clocks. Men sleep on a mattress that isn't on the floor. Men buy new shampoo instead of adding water to a nearly empty bottle of shampoo. Men make reservations. Men go in for a kiss without giving you some long preamble about how they're thinking of kissing you. Men wear clothes that have never been worn by anyone else before. ...Men know what they want, and that is scary. 

What I was used to was boys.

Boys are adorable. Boys trail off their sentences in an appealing way. Boys get haircuts from their roommate, who "totally knows how to cut hair." Boys can pack up their whole life and move to Brooklyn for a gig if they need to. Boys have "gigs." Boys are broke. And when they do have money, they spend it on a trip to Colorado to see a music festival. Boys can talk for hours with you in a diner at three in the morning because they don't have regular work hours. 

But they suck to date when you turn 30.

So the concept of differentiating men from boys has been in my mind a lot lately. Cue the latest post by The Frenemy, who is also hilarious and good.


There’s this guy standing in front of me right now-adult, able to buy his own toothpaste, knows his jeans size in inches. This guy has totally lost his shit somewhere on the corner of Metropolitan and ‘maybe we should have taken a left’, and it’s technically something I said but not my fault. I’m standing here, looking around frantically at the six-pack of the kinds of hipsters that say they’re hipsters, so are therefore just dudes wearing hats. I’m eyeing them like maybe I’m the one that should be embarrassed, because my friend is going LA LA LA I don’t want to HEAR you and I have to keep on moving, coaxing him out of the moment like a dog.

Okay! I won’t bring it up anymore. Can we just get our hands on some ‘artisan what the hell is artisan’ burgers now and you can stop singing?

All I had said was that I was on my period. This is around the time that he started acting like a child, and it’s not his fault. 9 times out of 10 idiots, it’s this: you tell any adult man that you’re on their period/he’s got the maturity level of Dave Coulier in Full House, he can react in the ‘nana nana poooopy’ kind of way and we just accept it. He’s a baby, we think! I better stop being such a lady and shut my mouth!

...For the men- if you want to be an adult about it, you nod when I say that I have my period. You nod like an adult and you move on. Once a month, blood is shed from my uterus because I am not pregnant and I’m not having a baby squeeze out of me any time soon. It does not pour out like the river.It does not shoot out of my vag like a squirt gun filled with Kool-Aid, and it A THING THAT HAPPENS and you shouldn’t be grossed out by... Do not look away at tampons, do not wince at the word uterus. If you’re a grown-ass man who wants to stick his grown-ass parts into any woman, you better be respectful enough to acknowledge that the things her body does are normal and fine and not gross. I know you’re not all like this, because I know some real cool guys. I tip my hat off to you and your uterus respect.

I mean, I don't want to hog all the good quotes here, so go read the whole thing. I have yet to read a Frenemy post where I didn't LOL at least once.

Personally, I remember one of the first times I told a guy I had my period. He was my boyfriend, and I'm pretty sure I told him straight up. He was like, "That is awesome! I couldn't even tell! This is one of the many reasons why I love you--you're exactly the same when you have your period! You're not even grouchy or anything! That's awesome!" Ahw. <3

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Power of the V?

I've posted about Summer's Eve's "Hail to the V" commercials before, but they've reached a whole new level of ridiculousness with their latest spot: I never realized all the great battles in history were fought over getting some pussy. The whole epic set-up to advertise for vaginal cleansing products is both laughable and in my opinion rather offensive. Depicting men fighting over a woman (or more specifically her va-jay-jay) is objectifying rather than empowering. I guess it's impossible to fathom that men would want a woman for anything other than the power of her lady parts, like her personality. So I guess the lesson here is to keep your vagina clean and you'll have men fight epic battles over you. Or something.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's that tampon doing next to your penis?

So on the Ms. Blog, I came across this new machine that simulates the pain and bleeding of menstruation.

http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/09/26/if-men-could-menstruate/
http://www.sputniko.com/works/sputniko/menstruation-machine



The inventor of the machine seems to be posing the question, why should women menstruate at all anymore. To me the question seems less cultural and more biological. It's true that it's a womanly thing to have, you know those menses, for me however, the pills that down play your menstrual cycle seem biologically bizarre and I don't trust them.I'm probably completely wrong, but it seems unhealthy to me to NOT menstruate every month. Also, I really really appreciate my body telling me for absolute certain that I am not having a baby right now. It's almost like a courtesy call from my uterus. "*Ding* Not this month". I don't feel I am culturally attached to having my period, and I think it's something that should be discussed freely and openly without people being embarrassed, but I don't know if that extends to having a machine that simulates the process.

I find the idea of this machine really bizarre as well. Not that I think it's necessarily a bad product and don't mean to blast it at all. I find the idea of it intriguing. But it seems to make menstruating into a novelty, which is not an experience that goes along with female menstruation. It's something that happens all the time, whether you like it or not. Is there any real reason for someone to wear this machine? I can't see a real justification. Because it's not like it can possibly simulate ALL of the symptoms of menstruation. Example: I get itchy during my period because of my hormones, does this machine make you itchy? I think that claiming that it simulates menstruation as an experience is a little misleading. I love my period and all the things that go with it (even the bad ones, because when they go away it's all the better) but I don't know if I would want my boyfriend walking around thinking he knew what menstruation was like because of a machine that he wore for a week or so.

The thing that weirds me out the most is that it actually bleeds as you can see in the video on both links. Where is the blood coming from? Who/What's blood is it? What if the blood touches me? I mean, I'm okay with my own blood, but mystery blood, not so much. And if it is your own blood (which I think would be better) how do you get it, is there a needle like a diabetes finger pricker? I guess this machine leaves me with more questions than answers ultimately.  I do think it's an interesting idea as I said, and can certainly help get discussion going, which is always a good thing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Real quick round-up


Friday, September 2, 2011

In which I am an agent of social change

This is a bragging on myself type of post. If you are not interested in that, skip down and read Jamie's post about RePhresh tampons.

...I'll wait...

Carrying on. After numerous phone calls and letters to many of the major retailers in the area, one has finally answered my call to start carrying Softcups. If you are in the Fayetteville, AR area and are interested in giving these a try, the Wal-Mart on Martin Luther King is now selling them. I have to admit that after Jamie sent me a sample pack, I absolutely fell in love with this product. Though not as friendly to the Earth as a Diva Cup (someday!!) I really enjoy them. I can't feel them at all, and it's nice to not have to worry about getting up in the middle of the night to change a tampon. I still frequently use tampons during the day, but the Softcup has become my go to night time protection product.

So to wrap up: I like Softcups, they sell them in my town now, I want a Diva Cup.

The End.


Friday, August 12, 2011

In which I am skeptical once again

FACT: The insides of your vagina are a chemically delicate ecosystem. It's no big though, because mostly, your body regulates this itself.

FACT: If this pH balance gets messed up, you may get a yeast infection.

FACT: One of the ways your pH balance can get thrown out of whack is by using tampons. Tampons are up in there indiscriminately absorbing not only blood, but your other lady-fluids as well.

Okay, so. It seems to me that if using tampons is messing up your insides, the most straightforward/logical solution is to stop using tampons.

But I guess in our wacky medicalization society, another viable option is to just treat tampons with even more chemicals to help "regulate" your vaginal pH balance. Introducing RepHresh, "the first and only tampon clinically shown to reduce the usual vaginal pH increase during your period."


I get that yeast infections are annoying. And that tampons are convenient. And so if there's a way you can have your convenience and not be itchy, that sounds great. But is it really so smart to keep absorbing more and more chemicals into our bodies? My complaints are along the exact same lines as Aana's when she writes about scented tampons. To me, this is just another quick fix that treats the symptoms of a larger problem without even recognizing that there is a larger problem. 

Thoughts?


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Big deal or no?

Lots of blogging about Always' new ad campaign that actually portrays a red dot on one of their maxi pads, replacing the notorious/sanitized/confusing blue liquid.

image from adweek.com
Is this really that big of a deal?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diva cup experiences

I adore my Diva cup. It is one of my favorite inventions. Every month, I'm so thankful I have it. It's comfortable and clean (aside from the obvious insertion messiness). Actually, I usually forget I even have my period at all until it's time to dump it out. But I even enjoy dumping it out!! (TMI?)

I think more women would use Diva cups (or Keepers, or Mooncups, or any type of menstrual cup... I just refer to them all as Diva cups cuz it's easier) if they knew about how awesome they are. Probably most women don't even know about them, then when they learn, their first reaction is "omg, gross/weird." I know that's how I was.

Every so often I come across accounts of women's first impressions of using the Diva cup, so I thought it might be beneficial to group them all together in a post here, so you all can see I'm not the only one in love with my cup!


  • The Diva Cup Review (Mom, Dad this is all about my menstruation please don't read it) at jessicagottlieb.com: I was walking through Whole Foods, spotted the Diva Cup, and thought, “Why not? It’s only $30, I’m going to waste more than that on snooty cheeses this week.” ...It’s become one of those things that I want to shout from the rooftops. YOU NEED A DIVA CUP.
  • Would You Use a Menstrual Cup? at No More Dirty LooksThe cup is not gross in the slightest (and I’m squeamish). In fact it feels far “cleaner” than tampons or pads—sterile almost. ...Application and removal were easy, and it felt more comfortable to me than a tampon. In fact, it almost felt like I didn’t even have my period. My only regret was that I hadn’t tried it sooner.
  • The Diva Cup: A New Trend"With all the state-of-the-art conveniences western society has developed, it baffles us why outdated feminine products are still being used. We believe that reusable menstrual cups are the next generation of feminine hygiene because they are the most environmentally responsible choice. They are also the most convenient and reliable option available and are not linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome."
  • My First Experience With A Menstrual Cup at Mamas and Babies: I had NO LEAKING the entire time I used the cup. I had been cautioned to use pads the first few days or so just in case, but I didn't need them. I was very impressed, especially because even tampons leak when they get full.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Real quick round-up


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mother Nature is pretty weird/awesome

Check out this picture of Blood Falls in Antarctica.


The scientific explanation is less depressing than you might imagine.

h/t to Atlas Obscura

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scented Tampons

So I accidentally bought a box of scented tampons yesterday, and didn't realize it until after I had broken into the box and opened the first one already. There goes exchanging them for non-scented tampons...  Unfortunately for me, I bought a huge box, and am now going to have to use them for probably 4 or 5 months. Lame. I hate scented tampons for 2 reasons.

Reason #1: I can't imagine that having the kind of chemicals that make tampons smell "fresh" have any business being anywhere near the inside of my vagina. Frankly I have the same issue with feminine sprays as well. I would just rather not put a bunch of chemicals inside my body, especially not attached to a tampon that has the possibility of tearing open some skin. On a more personal note, I have mild allergies to many soaps and lotions, and have a concern that this might translate to the "fresh" scent on/in the tampon.

Reason #2: I don't like the whole idea that my vagina, whether menstruating or not, smells bad. I don't mind or even notice most of the time what my vagina smells like. The fact that there is an idea that a woman's vagina inherently smells bad is just ridiculous. Just like any other part of a person's body the vagina does have the possibility of having a smell, even a distinctive one. Even one that others might find offensive, but it is ultimately a personal choice whether you want to cover that smell or just accept it. There are options for either, I just always find it frustrating that the scented tampons are not labeled better. This is not the first time I have accidentally bought scented tampons because it only says scented in little tiny letters, and I have a 4 year old and am often in a hurry.

I guess ultimately what I am saying is that tampon companies need to label their scented tampons better so my vagina doesn't smell like some combination of flowers and vagina...which is a much more unpleasant smell than either one by itself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hail to the V

I've been reading a lot about the series of Summer's Eve commercials featuring hands representing vaginas, with their slogan "Hail to the V."

They were recently parodied on The Colbert Report.


I'm not sure how I feel about these commercials. Obviously as the video above points out, they rely heavily on racial stereotypes. On one hand I can appreciate that they are trying to represent the female body and perhaps break taboo about talking about vaginas, but using the talking hands makes them more laughable than anything.

Do you think the commercials are more empowering or ridiculous?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Can't quite put my finger on it...

I've been thinking of going to Florida lately.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer camp

I think I am in love with new website Camp Cranky. It has:


  • Stories about first periods TOLD WITH PUPPETS
  • Info about what menstruation actually is on a scientific level
plus a barfing kid animation I find hilarious
  • A comprehensive explanation of nearly ALL period products (Softcup was the only one I noticed missing)
  • The opportunity to "sponsor a period" with Huru International
  • No corporate sponsorship! (as far as I can find)
  • Fun design!
This is a website for girls done right. I'm so impressed. Check it out for yourself!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Real quick round up

photo from mermaidhostel.com

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ban the Bland

Kotex has partnered with designer Patricia Field to put together Ban the Bland, a site where users can design their own disposable maxi pads. Fun colors and  patterns are one of my favorite things about reusable pads, so it's interesting to see a major manufacturer of disposable products picking up on this.

At first, I thought it was a contest, where some of the winning designs would be incorporated into some of Kotex's future products, but that was probably just my hopeful idealism kicking in. There's no competition, and actually their "bold" new products look pretty much the same to me. Still, it's fun to design your own.

my design, "8loodthirtsy"
It made me think about what I would want my ideal disposable pad to look like, though. Bleeding onto an octopus sounds a lot more fun than just another white sterile pad (especially when the unnecessary bleaching of these products leaves behind dangerous dioxins). I've been reading more Gloria Steinem lately, and so I tend to reframe this thought in regard to her "If Men Could Menstruate" essay. I imagine disposable pads for men with targets and crosshairs. I think bleeding on a target could be okay.

Then again, perhaps there is something to be said for providing your own art (hah).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ladybag vs. P-Mate

I'm not much of an adventurous peer pee-er (that is, one who pees). I like plumbing, or at the very least, an actual toilet seat. So since I haven't encountered or used either of these products, it's more like a mental would-you-rather type of game for me. Camping season is upon us, so this seems like a good time to pose the question. Which would you prefer?

Exhibit A: The Ladybag


Basically, a plastic bag filled with absorbent crystals. You pee in the bag, the crystals absorb the liquid, and then you can throw away your pee gel. I'm not sure what purpose is served by the four protrusions on the sides. (Want to play Germany or Florida with this one?)

Exhibit B: P-Mate



A funnely thing you hold up to your crotch to enable you to pee while standing. This seems like it would really broaden the horizons about where you can do your business.

Or does everyone else have some foolproof top-secret outdoorsy peeing style I am unaware of?? I don't think I've ever peed outside in my adult life. Is that sad?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cool, but...

...I would not do this.


h/t to WTF Tattoos

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Men Think of Menstruation at The Frisky

omg, this column made me laugh too many times to not share it here.

Men don’t really think about menstruation, because we don’t have to think about menstruation. We don’t have uteruses. Male genitals are embarrassingly simple. Our junk is a Speak N’ Spell. A woman’s private parts are more like an iPad. ...
It is difficult to empathize with biological functions that are radically different to your own. How would you feel if a man’s penis molted once a month and we had to apply copious amounts of salve to our raw member? You’d try to be understanding as best you could, but you wouldn’t really understand. But I bet you’d respect our space and our strange lizard wangs. Men don’t think about menstruation. But we know the best way how to deal with it: with a healthy amount of respect.
Go read about face rain and baby space pods and lust spawn. It's all very cleverly written.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Your body is disgusting. Let us help you out with that.

Libby Copeland at Slate has a really good article about how advertisers have historically marketed personal hygiene products--particularly new ones--by creating an anxiety for consumers and then oh-so-conveniently providing them the cure for it. This has long been effective marketing strategy for feminine hygiene products as well as deodorant.

Writes Copeland:

Dove recently unveiled its latest campaign, and it hinges on the idea that your armpits are ugly. Dove Ultimate Go Sleeveless is supposed to give women "softer, smoother underarms in just five days"—in ads for the product, which Stephen Colbert calls a "breakthrough shame-o-vation," women cut the sleeves off their tops with joyful expressions, as if they've been liberated from a terrible scourge. If it's news to you that this part of your body is not so hot, Dove says you're in the minority, citing a survey in which 93 percent of women said they "think their underarms are unattractive." And if you doubt statistics culled from 534 women in an anonymous online poll, rest assured that Dove's best advertising efforts will be directed at making those numbers true.
Pity the poor deodorant-makers. What else are they to do? As the Wall Street Journalpoints out, they're in a bind—almost the entire U.S. population already uses deodorant, and consumers appear reluctant to switch to new brands. Dove's empowerment-via-shame marketing approach for Go Sleeveless has its roots in advertising techniques that gained popularity in the 1920s: a) pinpoint a problem, perhaps one consumers didn't even know they had; b) exacerbate anxiety around the problem; c) sell the cure.
The history of ads directed at women is particularly rich with such fear tactics. Thus, ad copy from the 1920s and '30s warned women of their place in the "beauty contest of life" (a corset manufacturer) and reminded them that "The Eyes of Men …The Eyes of Women/ Judge your Loveliness every day" (Camay soap). A 1953 ad for Chlorodent toothpaste stated point-blank: "There's another woman waiting for every man." Yikes!
Certainly there's been a good dose of shame-marketing towards ladies' down theres, as Copeland explains. She highlights the use of Lysol as a douche.
The unfortunate truth was that as a contraceptive, Lysol was ineffective, not to mention dangerous. Improperly diluted, it burned and blistered the vagina, and in some cases even caused death. Yet, Tone writes, it wasn't until the pill came along that Lysol douche was supplanted as the top choice of women looking to prevent pregnancy.


I've read about Lysol douching probably 100 times over the years, and I still cannot wrap my mind around the horribleness of the idea. I barely use any strong chemically-cleaning things, but sometimes I use Lysol to clean the bathroom. And when I do, I'm paranoid as shit. I super super dilute it, wear gloves, turn on the fans, and tell my cats to stay away so the fumes don't damage their sensitive little nosies. So the idea of using it to clean out the holiest of holies (so to speak) sounds just downright awful. (Although mentioning that this was the top birth control method before The Pill gives it some significant context.)

After reading this piece, I realized that all of the campaigns and products mentioned were marketed towards women. Surely similar tactics have been used to sell stuff to men as well, yes? I'd be interested to see how ad campaigns like this directed towards men differ from those direct towards women.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Reasonable Compensation

It's immature, but I do enjoy a good rage comic:

h/t to Memebase

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Period Packs

This is such a cool idea! Period Packs is a company that sells gift packs to give to girls when they have their first period. The gift pack includes not only menstrual products (like pads or tampons), but also a copy of the book Period., a calendar to keep track of her cycle, and a couple fun items like lip gloss and cocoa.



I was touched by Period Packs founder Wendy Bulawa Agudelo's story about why she started the company:
I was brought up on a farm in Upstate New York alongside three brothers and my father.  As you can imagine, getting your period amid all that testosterone in rural America was interesting to say the least. The day I got my period, I remember calling my father’s office to let him know and to figure out what to do. He seemed flustered but said he’d be home soon and would bring me the things I needed. At that point I thought, ‘Okay, that’s great, but what do I do now? Do I just wad up some toilet paper in my underwear? Take a shower or a bath?’  Needless to say, I was confused. A few hours later, my father arrived home with a package of maxi pads, and uncomfortably explained that I needed to wear them and to read the instructions on the package. He also suggested I call one of my aunts. The poor man, he was so ill prepared and obviously uncomfortable that his only daughter and precious little girl was going through a monumental change. I was growing up, and similar to most fathers, mine dreaded this day as I began to transform from little girl to young woman. 
Being a teenager, I felt completely awkward and didn’t really want to call my aunts to discuss ‘cousin Red.’ I instead visited the school nurse who gave me a preparation pack of sorts—containing various size pads and panty liners as well as a booklet on ‘Getting Your Period.’  Oh, the joy I felt from receiving a simple box of goodies and information. It was if I had just received the most wonderful of unexpected presents! And, that feeling of excitement stuck with me.
I really like the idea of creating gift packages like these without the corporate sponsorship. Even though "alternative" products aren't included in these packages, the Diva cup is at least mentioned on the website, so I like that too.  Period Packs also offers an Organic Period Pack (which also happens to be less pink... I appreciated that).

The Organic Period Pack
When I was about ten, I got a package of product samples from Procter & Gamble in the mail. I was thrilled. It came in a teal velcro case covered with inspiring quotes and a couple booklets. I read over that stuff probably a hundred times and studied every product. And still when I got my period (three years later) it was so totally different than I expected! I think gifts like these can do a lot of good in preparing girls for their first period and making them feel like they can handle it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Real quick round up


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Homelessness and menstruation

I found this interesting:

Of course not everyone's experiences with homelessness are the same, but these sound reasonable. Anyone want to weigh in here?

UPDATE: Crimson Campaign pointed us towards a personal account of menstruating while homeless. It gives a real-life perspective on the experience. An excerpt:

Although I was so blessed to have my girlfriends, it was embarrassing to go to them and say, “I’m on my period and I’m broke.” I felt three feet tall. I felt beneath everyone else. I was taken by an inferiority complex still battle to this day. Not being able to support my most basic needs made me think back to being the poor kid in grade school who never had pencils. Guilt, embarrassment, and shame became emotions that were too familiar and entirely too soon to experience.
Check out the whole thing at Crimson Campaign's blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Pocket Guide to Vaginal Euphemisms

A while ago Jamie made a post about euphemisms for periods. I found a similar list of euphemisms for vaginas on the Re(vulva)lution Tumblr.


I thought it was interesting how they broke down the different names into categories, showing that a lot of them have similar themes.

One of the more surprising ones I read was "Penis Penitentiary." Seriously? Are vaginas so icky that they're compared to being in prison?

I found most of these gross, but some of them were funny. I may have to start utilizing some of them ("Hairy Manilow"). What do you call your vagina?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Real quick round up

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kim Stolz in STL

I like this because I'm from St. Louis.

Former America's Next Top Model contestant Kim Stolz stopped by the STL, and while doing so, had a semi-candid discussion with gals at Six Flags about their periods. (Sponsored by Kotex.)


MTV Shows

Cool, I guess? I'm always glad when women aren't shy about discussing menstruation, I'm just more skeptical when it's on a mega-corporation's agenda to do so.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Buck Angel's his-terectomy

Are you all familiar with Buck Angel, The Man With A Pussy?

Briefly, from his wikipedia entry:
Buck Angel is an FTM Transsexual and adult film maker. He received the 2007 AVN Award as Transsexual Performer of the Year, and works as an advocate, educator and lecturer.
I'll admit I don't know a ton more about him, but I understand that's he's a pretty vocal advocate/educator in the trans community. One of my facebook friends pointed me to this entry on Buck's tumblr (careful, pictures NSFW) about getting a hysterectomy.
So many people have been asking me why I am finally getting this operation, and why I haven’t already had it.
Well I never felt like I needed to do this. The chest surgery was way more important for me. I never felt like my uterus and ovaries made me feel less of a man. I never saw them, and the testosterone shut them down. Also my doctors in the USA said that unless something was wrong, I did not need to remove it. I had regular check ups and they never saw any reason for me to get this surgery.  
Until I got an infection in my uterus! What happened was that the use of the testosterone over 15 years started to make my cervix and uterus atrophy. The cervix basically closed and so anything inside my uterus could not get out. 
...So here I am now going into surgery because of the fact that the doctors basically had no idea what long term use of testosterone does to the reproductive system! 
...I always said that there was no reason to get a hysterectomy. Well now I am saying something different. I don’t think you need to do it right away, but if you plan on staying on testosterone longer than 5 years, I would recommend looking into getting this done just to eliminate the chance of this happening to you.
There's so much [unnecessary] focus in our society about the body parts of trans people, but it seems that there hasn't been a lot of consideration for those parts that are on the inside. It's scary to think of all the unknowns that come with hormone replacement therapy.  I wonder if this is an issue that affects a lot of trans men who are taking testosterone long term.

The surgery was a few weeks ago, and Buck has posted an update since then, saying that everything went well.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's the worth of natural disposable products?

I was cleaning out my desk space and found this ad that I meant to post about a long time ago--I wish I could remember in which magazine I found it. For some reason, I want to say Time, although this seems like a potentially bold ad for them. 
"Not cotton? My pads and tampons aren't 100% cotton? Introducing Organyc, the brand with the unsurpassed advantages of 100% cotton. It's surprising when you find out your tampons, pads and panty liners aren't 100% cotton. Introducing Organyc. No brand offers better natural absorbency than Organyc. And you get 100% organic and biodegradable cotton. What else would you want so close to you?"

Anyway, it's an advertisement from Organyc, which sells disposable pads/tampons/panty liners made out of 100% cotton. I like this ad because it's straight to the point, without any stupid euphemisms or talk about being free. I also like that it draws attention to the fact that "mainstream" brand products are in fact not made of cotton (they're a strange blend of plastic and low-grade wood pulp leftovers).

However, I've always had a bit of trouble getting behind organic disposable products. Sure, they are a better option than most other brands. The cotton biodegrades, meaning less trash in landfills, and I imagine they're more comfortable to wear. But the pads are also much more expensive than mainstream products, so they're only an option for buyers with higher incomes.

I looked around online to find out how much a pack of Organyc pads would cost. At target.com (not sure if they're available in the stores or just online), you can buy a case of four boxes for $19.99, a total of 40 pads. Each pad would cost about 50 cents each. When I compared this to data from the workshop I put together a few years ago, this is more than twice the cost of Always brand maxi pads (which where about 22 cents each).

However, I was surprised to find that the price of Organyc tampons is similar to the price of Playtex tampons. Four boxes of the tampons is also $19.99, which is a total of  64 tampons. Each tampon then is roughly about 31 cents, and again, comparing that to the data I used for my workshop, that's only about three cents more than buying Playtex tampons from Walgreens (at least in 2008).

But beyond cost, the thing that's never made complete sense to me about disposable natural products is the way they appeal to buyers' ecological awareness. It seems to me that someone who's in tune with helping the environment by reducing waste would be even more interested in reusable products such as the DivaCup which produce virtually no waste at all, so biodegradability or organic source materials kind of becomes a moot point. 

Anyone care to shed some light on this?

Menstruation Play

This blog post is about something that happened in my personal/academic life.

So, I have a drama class, and our final project is to write and produce a play. I had a really hard time thinking of a good topic for the play. I had two male actors and one female actor. After much debate, I came up with the idea of writing a play about menstruation. I thought that using the male actors to discuss menstruation in the ways we discuss it when it first happens to us would not only be funny, but also would shed light on the ridiculousness of the ways in which we discuss menstruation in our culture.

However, I have met people before and realized this might not go over too well, so I also wrote a back-up script. I took both scripts to the meeting between my group, after having emailed them the menstruation script. They were all mad, including my teacher. They said that my menstruation script was offensive. When I asked how it was offensive, they basically told me that nothing I said was offensive, it was the topic of menstruation. I argued for quite a while, and tried to explain my vision, but no one was buying what I was selling. So I pulled out my back up script which they rejected simply on the basis that it was "bad". So now, I have had to write three scripts for this group project.

I think it's really too bad that menstruation seems to be such an offensive subject. We are all grown-ups in the class, and we should be able to talk about things that we maybe couldn't if children were involved. One thing I said to my drama teacher was "I menstruate, you menstruate, every woman in this classroom menstruates, why is something our bodies do something we shouldn't talk about?" There was no real response. I can assure you all that I will be going to the department head, and discussing the issue with that person. It's ridiculous that I should have to do three times the work of anyone else in the class.

Good journey!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion

Just a quick post to draw to your attention my zine that I wrote while I was still in the beginnings of this blog. It's called Menstruator Extraordinaire, and it's again available for purchase in my etsy shop.



Satisfied readers have said:

  • This is officially my new favorite thing everrrr in the world. I can tell you put great effort forth and I really appreciate being able to enjoy the product of your hard work. 
  • I teach a Young Feminisms class, and needed recent zines to show them. Your work is amazing, and I hope it inspires my class to do some zine making of their own.
  • Great zine! As a fellow menstruation academic, I will put it to good use.



We're actually in the middle of a special where if you buy two or more zines (I have a bunch), you also receive a free bonus thingy, so why not get yours today?!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dr. Toilet

I'm a little behind on this, but has anyone heard of the Intelligence Toilet?



Actually, we're up to Intelligence Toilet II. It's a Japanese toilet that measures a variety of vital signs while you do your business: heart rate, blood pressure, weight... Apparently these are things that IT I did, but IT II is also able to keep track of your menstrual cycles. All of this info is sent to your computer and organized into presumably nifty-looking charts. I'm seeing similarities between this and Menstruation Clock.

I'm pretty impressed that this is possible, but I feel like this could be information overload for me personally... I'm satisfied with my limited amount of toilet activities. Yet it's pretty amazing that a toilet can be capable of so much though! This could be awesome for someone who needs to monitor all those numbers/rates on a regular basis.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to eat three tampons in one minute

The internet makes many things possible for us. We can collaborate with others around the world; we can build communities of online friends; we can search seemingly limitless amounts of information at the touch of a button.

Also, we can share with each other videos of this guy eating weird things. wtf?



I can't put my finger on it exactly, but something about this gives me the creeps.

h/t to BuzzFeed

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sexy period

Apparently there is a movement toward the idea of "period panties". Not just panties that you have in your drawer that you bought at Wal-Mart for $2, but panties that are actually helpful during your period. I think that this idea is awesome. However, my biggest issue with them is that it doesn't seem like I could wash them along with the rest of my laundry. Even with homemade re-usable pads, I can just throw them in after a good soak, but these have to be taken care of very carefully. Also, they are only back up. I don't know about everyone else, but when I know my period is coming I wear underwear that it would be okay to stain. What I do like about them is that it seems like this might be a way to help women in general be more confident during their period. I wear granny panties anyway, so wearing granny panties during my period is not really a huge switch, but I know it is for some women and makes them feel less sexy. I am all for feeling more confident, and if this a way that works for you, I say go for it.
This is why I am all for the idea of thong shaped pads and pantyliners. At first I thought the idea was dumb, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that if it helps make women more confident then I say "YES!"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Experiential birth control

Although lately I find myself more interested in the thought of having children, it's videos like this that cause me to menstruate instantly:

Good lord.
h/t to STFU Parents

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is there a killer inside YOU? Let's find out!

Lately there's been lots of bad news coming around regarding abortion. There's the US House of Representatives voting to defund Planned Parenthood racist propaganda billboards, and a variety of bills being introduced in South Dakota, Iowa, and Georgia with frightening grey area surrounding the basic human rights of abortion providers and women in general. There is much to be said about all of this, but I will refrain because others have already said a lot much better than I could.

What I want to post about here is the campaign launched by Devery Doleman in reaction to a bill being proposed in Georgia. In short, Georgia Representative Bobby Franklin has sponsored a bill that would require all women who suffer a miscarriage to prove that the miscarriage included "no human involvement" (whatever that means). This is of course in addition to outlawing abortion, which Rep. Franklin chooses to re-frame as "pre-natal murder".

Devery has posted her letter to Rep Franklin at Tiger Beatdown, in which she writes:

Dear Representative Franklin: 
I need your help. I need your Uterine Investigatory Crime Unit and every bit of biological lady-part know-how your degree in Biblical studies and Business Administration from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, can bring to my case. I’m scared, Representative Franklin. Because I think – I think there is a killer inside me. The killer is MY UTERUS. Help me stop it before it kills again. 
...I’m trying to do everything right: I have the ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor. I stand on my head after sex. I even wore a red muu-muu while we did it with a picture of Faye Dunaway as Serena Joy taped to the headboard! And then there’s that period of suspense when I think I am with child: the metallic taste in the mouth, the dizziness, the rage out of nowhere, the yen for a salt lick. But turns out it was just hateful old PMS. The killer has struck again. 
...Your proposed law declares that “[prenatal murder] does not include a naturally occurring expulsion of a fetus known medically as a ‘spontaneous abortion’ and popularly as a ‘miscarriage’ so long as there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event.” I’m so confused, Bobby! Don’t you see? The event is happening inside me which would seem to indicate that this particular human, aka ME!, no matter what happens, no matter what I eat, breathe, say or do, is deeply, deeply involved! 
...I can’t take this uncertainty any more, so if it’s okay with you, I’d like to start sending you evidence right away. There’s still a bloodstain on our mattress pad, I have a bunch of old period underwear, and I’m happy to bag and send you my tampons next week if the killer strikes again. Usually I go through an OB Super once every 2 hours the first couple days so there will be ample material for your lab to analyze to determine what in the hell is going on here and to help bring the relevant parties to justice.Help me, OB-GYN Kenobi – I mean, Representative Franklin. You’re my only hope.
Her idea is taking off within the blogosphere. Jill Filipovic at Feministe has posted her own letter, which includes:
As I’m sure you know, more than 50% of fertilized eggs –Georgia citizens! — naturally don’t implant, and are flushed out of the body during menstruation. I am personally concerned that my own murdering woman-body may have flushed out some human beings, and I may have flushed them down the toilet without knowing that I was disposing of Georgia citizens in such an undignified way. This must be remedied. I would like to be sure that I am not killing any more Georgia citizens — and that if I am, they are able to receive a proper funeral and not a burial at sea, and that our state police can dedicate valuable time and resources to investigating their deaths. 
To that end, I attach a picture of my latest used tampon. I am preserving this tampon, as well as all of my other tampons, pads, feminine hygiene products and soiled panties from my current menstrual cycle, so that the Georgia State Police can come collect them as evidence. I would also be happy to drop the specimens off at your office, should you want to examine them yourself. 
Please let me know if I can make an appointment to give you these items. Or, since I appreciate that you are a very busy man, please let me know when the police will be by my home to collect them, as my next cycle is rapidly approaching and they are starting to smell.
The campaign therefore encourages women to send evidence of so-called potential pre-natal murders to Representative Franklin to be investigated. This evidence is best presented in the form of used tampons and pads, as many miscarriages present themselves in the form of a heavy period when the murderer, er, woman in question hasn't even yet realized she was pregnant.

If you would like to submit your evidence (just pictures! As Jill says, "we can’t actually send used tampons through the mail — sending bio-hazardous material to an elected official can get you in BAD TROUBLE, so don’t do it"), here is Representative Franklin's contact information:

Rep. Bobby Franklin
401 Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Phone: 404.656.0152
Fax: 404.656.5562
bobby.franklin@house.ga.gov

I will say that my gut reaction to this idea was very positive, as it appeals to the punk-rock vulgarity of my youth (ha), and is a bold statement. Even so, I gave some careful thought to posting about it here. This is arguably pretty vile and disrespectful, but you know what? So is the bill.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vulvovagial Attitudes and Health Survey

I found a link on Twitter to a study being done over people's perceptions of vaginas and vulavas.

Access the survey here.

I like the idea of this study, especially women's attitudes about their genitals. We're often taught by society that our private parts are not to be discussed or even something to be ashamed about, so it will be interesting to the results of the study and see if people's attitudes have changed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Real quick round up

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One more reason to stay away from tampons

As if we needed a reason beyond TSS, there's a study out about dioxin.

If there were one thing I could say to tampon manufacturers, I think it would be: "Stop putting shit that kills us in your products that go into our most sensitive of areas!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Softcup Update

After my last post about Instead Softcups, I received an email from Tracey Croughwell, Evofem's vice-president of marketing. She confirms what I was thinking about their new look!

She writes:
I saw your piece on Instead Softcups and wanted to get in touch with you since I work for the company. We are indeed re-launching Softcup with a new look. After many years of being kept on store shelves solely by the will of our extremely loyal customers, we now actually have a little investment to spread the word about Softcups.

You'll probably start to see the new packaging on store shelves sometime after March. March, in fact, will be a great time to stock up, because we'll be putting coupons on the old packaging to try to sell it quickly to get the new packaging on the shelves.



So there's your inside scoop about Softcups for the day. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The resurgence of Instead Softcups

Only in Bust magazine would an advertisement get right to the point like this:


It seems like I've seen a few ads for Softcups lately. I noticed that they've changed not only their name (marketing it more on Softcup than on Instead), but that the packaging also looks different from when I bought them three years ago. I'd still like to see them catch on.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Menstrual intercourse

I have this article here. I can't decide if I like it or not. It's a guy writing about having sex during a woman's period. I like it and don't like it at the same time.

Now, I know which side of the fence I fall on on this topic. I do not like having sex during my period. Not only do I feel completely gross (my oil glands go into overtime), I also find that my vagina is much less receptive to any kind of stimulation during that time. However, I think it's great if couple's decide to engage in this act. I can see it as a very bonding kind of act.

The guy writing this article seems to be all for it, and I like that he supports whatever decision a couple decides to make, and even offers alternatives to actual intercourse. I like some of the euphemisms he uses like "closed for maintenance" and "seducing vampires". I like his general attitude toward this whole taboo act.

However, some of the points he makes seem to be towing the line between being awesome, and being a closet misogynist, like this sentence here about blow-jobs "The fact that she completes this act of lovemaking and accepts a part of her man into her body makes her a woman worth keeping (of course, not if you're paying her by the hour)." or this gem "or are engaging in casual sex with the bucktoothed girl that helps you get rid of a load or two every now and again"

Even with these little jabs at womanhood though, I feel like he has a pretty good attitude toward the taboo menstrual intercourse. Most people aren't even willing to talk about it, much less give you tips (I like the diaphragm tip, anybody know if you can have sex with a Divacup in?) on how to enjoy it, even if you think it's a little gross.

So keep on keeping on, Mr. Strovney, but watch how you speak about women a little more carefully.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Call for papers!!

I just saw that the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research is having a call for papers for their conference in Pittsburgh. I thought that those of us who are academically inclined (either our contributors or our readers) might be interested in this. It's not really my field of study, but I thought I would let you all know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Likelihood for rape tied to menstrual cycle?

I think we can all agree that rape is bad. But apparently according to evolutionary biologists, a woman's reaction to rape depends on where she is in her menstrual cycle. Really?

Take that in for a minute.

Apparently women are genetically disposed to fighting back more against rape when they are ovulating, and less likely when they are at other times in their cycle. This seems like a slippery slope to me, and a justification for rape rather than what it is claiming to be, and evolutionary study. If we believe that rape happens for reasons other than the rapist being a rapist then how can we blame rapists that rape when a woman is ovulating. She is just in her most fertile period, and so he is just following his evolution, right?

Wrong.

 As human beings we have evolved a little something called reason. This means that unlike our ancestors, who probably did forcibly mate with their female counterparts we can CHOOSE NOT TO. That's right folks, rape is not a product of evolution at this point, but a choice that human beings make. There are lots of different reasons that people choose to rape other people (women do some raping too), but they all come down to a choice that a person makes. We have the ability, unlike other animals, to rise above our biology and instinct and make decisions. That is what makes us human. That is what makes us civilized. That is why we can exist. Human beings have by far the highest capacity for reason, and jugement.

All in all, I think we need to stop looking at weird biological reasons people rape, and instead look at the people themselves, and perhaps the culture surrounding them. I am not an expert on rape, but I do know that even though our cycles DO put off different pheremones, and DO (to a certain extent) change our physiology, biological processes probably have little to do with the act of rape, and certainly can't be used as a justification.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vitamin E Pill Cures PMS?

I found a link to this article on Twitter about Vitamin E helping ease symptoms of PMS. I've been fortunate in that I have never experienced any really painful physical symptoms around my period, but I know a few of my friends who struggle with it.

Vitamin E pill 'eases pain of PMS by up to two-thirds'

What do we do with the c-word?

I can't say that I'm really a huge fan of reclaiming words. For me personally, there are always three that come right to mind: bitch, slut, and cunt. (Whore's also a close fourth.) My level of comfort with each word seems kind of arbitrary and based more on gut reaction to the overall aural aesthetic of the word than its semantics and history. "Bitch" usually makes me bristle, even when coming from the friendliest of allies in (at least what they feel is) a genuine attempt at reclamation. "Slut" is okay in very specific circumstances, and even then, only with people who have a very clear, intentional understanding of how the word can be interpreted in feminist circles (for example, in regard to the concept of slut-shaming).

So right off the bat, for better or worse, you can see I have some pretty complicated pre-requisites for certain words. Reclaiming them sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to me personally, since my feelings are so negative to begin with.

But "cunt" is a whole other ball game to me. I like it. I'd never heard of the word except for when hearing that it was the worst insult ever, to be used even more rarely than the [formerly] taboo eff-dash-dash-dash word. (Which, incidentally, is a word that was used much less frequently at the time, but that's a different story.) Cunt was the word you should simply never say. Uh, okay, I guess. There was no explanation why.

The next time I ever heard of it was in porn, then in the Vagina Monologues. When I saw/read/heard it in porn, it was pretty much another synonym for vagina--I never felt like there was any extraneous negative connotation to it (except, arguably, the context of pornography itself, but that's again a different story). And then in the Vagina Monologues, it was back to Reclaiming Cunt, but I still didn't understand who or what exactly we were supposed to be reclaiming it from.

Perhaps it's worth noting here that I've only been called a cunt one time. In a way, it was a little like being insulted with the worst word in a foreign language. I had to stop and interpret, like: "Hmm, okay, he said this because he wanted to say the worst thing ever. I should probably react accordingly." It didn't switch on any anger inside of me the way being called a bitch does.

All that said, I like the word. I like how it sounds. In my opinion, it sounds much better than other words out there for a person's vagina. (Snatch? Ughhhhhh...)

At the same time, I'm well-aware that, even if it is for reasons I don't completely understand, it's a loaded term. It can bring out a lot of negative feelings (not unlike bitch or slut or whore) I think that's important to keep in mind. I like what Sara Gwin is quoted as saying in this essay:

"Women have every right to reclaim the word for themselves or for a particular group. However, there has to be the acknowledgement that this word is still incredibly insulting to many and we have to respect that"
Recently, I've been doing some thinking about the ways I take control in a conversation. I'm a fairly shy person--quite often I've felt like I'm being talked over or blown off--and so I think one of the ways I sometimes gain power or control in a conversation is by talking about topics that tend to make others uncomfortable, and thus shutting them up to give me some space to talk. This would include subjects like menstruation, sexual assault, most things related to women's sexualities, or jokes considered over-the-line gross--things that deliberately make others uncomfortable. I hadn't been aware of this behavior as a tool for conversation domination until the past few months, and I think the catalyst for that realization came from when other people did it to me.

All this came to mind when I read a blog post from one of my favorite zinesters, venting about complaints generated by the jewelry she makes bearing the word cunt. I agree with Amber on most things, and her zines are by far some of my favorites (do yourself a favor and read as much Culture Slut as you can), but I was kind of put off by the way she chose to respond to those who were offended, opening with: "The title of this listing is 'Reclaim The Words That People Use To Put You Down'. I guess it went over your head." Eek. It's made me think more critically about what it means to actually reclaim a word, and if it's even possible on a large scale.

As I mentioned before, cunt is a loaded term, and not everyone's interested in turning around into a positive. (It could perhaps even be argued that most people are uninterested in reclamation? I'm not sure.) So what does that mean when you're wearing cunt jewelry or preaching about pussy power? I really feel like it puts you in a tight spot (ha), because you're very much in the danger zone of making people too uncomfortable and shutting them down to any type of message you might have, controversial or otherwise. But, like Amber also says, if this is a word that's being used to put you down, there's something to be said about being bold enough to turn it around. I guess my question is, how do you balance boldness with tastefulness, that is, how do we achieve reclamation without alienation?

 

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