So in the last week or two I have had a couple of a twitter conversations with some people who have been trying to activate and motivate government to keep to their promise of giving free sanitary pads to female school goers. I have always been opposed to the free distribution of pads because I consider them to be such a terrible, expensive, environmentally destructive item, and because there are much, much better, less advertised solutions, like the menstrual cup.
I have written a lot about the menstrual cup in the past. It is a life saver. It is a once-off expense, totally easy and safe to use, easy to keep clean, and mostly, completely liberating for women, who are then not beholden to a mega rich and exploitative industry for most of their lives.
I have always felt the deep frustration of how this brilliant product gets sidelined, particularly from an advertising point of view, in order to keep sanitary pads and tampons in business. This is a David and Goliath scenario, with women the foot soldiers.
So, yesterday I saw on twitter that the SA government had handed out menstrual cups at a school and I was so excited. I immediately retweeted and congratulated them. This felt like such progress. Yes! You would think so, right? But. In minutes I had two men questioning the safety and health of menstrual cups. Let me repeat that. Men demanding to know whether the menstrual cups had been tested. Whether there was a risk of infection. Asking me, a woman, to provide them with that information. My head nearly burst straight off my shoulders. Men saying that pads were better.
If I was a conspiracy theorist I would have thought that they were from Tampax or Maxi or whatever other huge billion dollar company is out there, their point of view was so despicably derisive. Just like the nay sayers of clean energy alternatives who own the coal mines.
I am going to need all the help I can get to fight this battle. The government needs to be praised and celebrated for this move. Let’s beg them to do it more, and often and all over. Pads will be bought and used and tossed. Menstrual cups can last a lifetime. And men who don’t like them or don’t trust them don’t have to use them.
PS. I am so curious about how many females have shares or are CEO’s of feminine ‘hygiene’ products. I suspect there are very, very few.