A couple of years ago my sister told me that she had started using a cup to catch her menstrual flow, which at the time seemed like the most crunchy granola thing I’d ever heard. I had never given much thought to what might be wrong with tampons or pads, and I definitely didn’t know there was an alternative. Two years later, I’m a huge proponent of The Diva Cup and all things Lunapads. Why the change? I guess you could say I had a green awakening about a year ago, and started swearing off plastic and paper bags, disposable cups and plastic flatwear. It was super-easy to replace disposable products with reusable ones, really just a matter of forming new habits. Then one day I was browsing the aisles of my local health food store and came across The Diva Cup. Suddenly the idea of a reusable menstrual cup didn’t seem so far out there—it actually made a lot of sense! So, I made my purchase and haven’t looked back since.
Well, that’s not totally true. Using The Diva Cup did take some getting used to after a lifetime of tampon usage. Difference #1: You actually have to touch yourself. Scandalous, isn’t it?! I’ve always considered myself a feminist and pretty comfortable with my body. But using the cup has made me painfully aware of how disconnected I was from the female parts of my body! Somewhere along the way, despite my intellectual beliefs, I had come to think of my flow as dirty and something that needed to be sanitized. I guess all those ads with girls running on the beach in white clothes had landed in some corner of my unconscious, after all. Difference #2: Using the cup, you get to see your flow. Amidst our hide it-clean it-bleach it culture of female “hygiene”, this is a radical moment. Not only is it simply cool to see the amount of flow, but there’s also something totally liberating about it being visible. It’s not something to be hidden away like a dirty little secret. Anyone who’s been in psychoanalysis knows that it’s what we keep hidden that is what really traps us, so taken on a cultural level, as long as our periods are something to be hidden and cleaned up, as a culture we’re ashamed about the essence of our womanhood. So, without question, using The Diva Cup has made me feel much more connected to my femaleness, and has brought me face to face with the sexist presumptions lurking in my unconscious.
Since seeing the Lunapads light, like a new convert, I’ve been keen to evangelize! While some friends have been eager to try The Diva Cup and other Lunapads products, much to my amazement others have met my enthusiasm with fear, embarrassment and even ridicule. Excited to show a group of girlfriends all the cool colors that Lunapads come in, I brought a few samples to a bar and busted them out over a round of beers. Judging by the reaction, I might as well have put a jar of poop on the table. I guess it goes to show how much my thinking on this issue has changed—it seemed like no big deal to show them some (unused) reusable pads in a public place. But they weren’t amused. When it comes down to it, they really see their periods as dirty, and can’t imagine reusing anything associated with it. The challenge is: How do we convince others that their periods aren’t gross? I’d be interested to hear how other Lunapads users have successfully communicated this idea to friends. It’s a bit of a Catch-22, I think: Using the Lunapads products is what has caused the paradigm shift in my thinking on this issue, after all! So I suppose it’s a matter of reaching people who might be skeptical but are curious and willing to take a chance to try reusable menstrual products. That’s the hard part, because once my friends try them, I have no doubts that they too will be converts. Can you tell I’m advocating for worldwide Lunapads domination?! Thanks so much to Madeleine, Suzanne, and everyone at Lunapads for creating a product that not only does the vital work of cutting down on our usage of disposables, but has also helped me see my womanhood in a whole new light. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Sara’s blog is It’s So Easy Being Green – read her post about natural menstrual products to learn how you can win free Lunapads (until September 15 only)!