It’s no secret there’s a stigma attached to women’s periods. People think it’s gross and something that just shouldn’t be talked about. For women in many parts of the world the taboo surrounding periods creates a huge issue. Because of the stigma, many women across the world, especially those in poverty, have little or no access to feminine hygiene products. Monthly supplies of feminine hygiene products, like pads or tampons, are expensive and because of the shame and unpleasant feelings attached to periods, shelters are hesitant to blatantly request feminine hygiene products.
It’s time we eliminate the stigma around periods and make feminine hygiene products more accessible to women in all parts of the world. Before there were pads and tampons, there were other means to contain the blood loss during the menstruation cycle. One start-up group, Untabooed (now part of the broader PERIOD organization), is trying to eliminate the stigma and educate women about reusable, more cost-effective alternatives to typical period products. Founder Diandra Kalish told MTV News “many developing nations have started to tackle the issue by using reusable feminine hygiene products, but no one has brought the issue back to the USA where the same issue is apparent.”
PERIOD is changing that. They offer workshops at New York City shelters and openly have conversations about menstruation. During these workshops, UnTabooed also educate women on reusable products like menstrual cups, cloth pads and sea sponges.
Reusable feminine hygiene products could potentially be a big movement in the future for more than just low-income women and families. Not only are they more eco-friendly than pads and tampons, they are also much cheaper. The fact that they are reusable means tons of money doesn’t have to be spent during the year on menstruation products. The environmental benefits of reusable feminine hygiene products could inspire many women to start using them.
Retailers have already got on board with reusable feminine hygiene products. The DivaCup can be found on store shelves around the world. The DivaCup is a menstrual cup that can be folded and inserted into the vagina to provide up to twelve hours of leak free protection.
Diandra also noted that when you use reusable products you are eliminating the “ick” factor that stems from the disposing of non-reusable products like pads and tampons. Reusable feminine hygiene products may be a huge trend in the future and is definitely an option for women to consider.