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.


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