Hygiene versus Shame, A Menstrual Question
Many of us recognize that advertisements for menstrual products are not at all realistic. They show women in white prancing through fields of wildflowers and butterflies. The more direct ads show a pair of hands pouring blue liquid from a beaker onto a sanitary napkin but never a tampon.
I don’t know about you but I bleed red blood from ::gasp:: my vagina, not blue liquid from a beaker. It’s also uncommon for me to wear white anything, ever, on my bottom half, much less when I’m menstruating. Maybe I’m my own demographic…but I doubt it.
Wearing white slacks, jeans, or skirts generally means I’m dressed up and going out. Daily life wearing of white on the bottom generally involves sitting in something that isn’t white and while it’s not necessarily blood that I end up sitting in, adding potential leakage to the mix isn’t the greatest idea. So.
It seems that the theory that these ads treat menstruation so indirectly is because we are uncomfortable addressing it directly. What would happen to the world if they poured RED liquid out of that beaker? Would gravity give up? Doubtful.
All of this indirectness is also indicative of shame. Don’t let anyone know you’re bleeding. Don’t let anyone know that you bleed from Down There. Hide it. Keep it quiet. Don’t rest. Keep going. Take a pill. Suck it up. And, now I’m getting to the point finally, HIDE THOSE DISPOSABLE PRODUCTS SO THAT AN FBI AGENT WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO FIND THEM IN THE TRASH.
Here’s my question: is this about hygiene or shame?
I’m fairly certain that blood isn’t something we are supposed to touch when it comes from another person’s body. It can carry diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, and the Bubonic Plague. Probably best if we aren’t groping around and grabbing someone else’s used tampon, right? So yeah, best to wrap up those tampons (don’t flush them, they clog the pipes no matter what the stupid box tells you) and pads.
It’s perfectly acceptable to touch our own blood. We are filled with it. If we are women and aren’t pregnant, chances are pretty good that we’re going to flow. So why are so many women completely skeeved out by the thought of using a moon cup or cloth pads? Why isn’t it okay for us to save our blood and pour it onto our houseplants so that they can take that life-giving energy into themselves and thrive?
I think my sisters are right when they say it’s shame. We are taught that our vulvas and vaginas are dirty. We are taught not to touch, not to look, not to feel around down there. That’s nasty and shameful and only dirty, bad girls touch and look and learn their own bodies. Right? WRONG. Smart girls, strong girls, women who know that our female organs are another part of our bodies like our teeth and our bellies and our hands that we should know and understand look and touch and feel. (These girls and women probably also know that certain things feel good, too, and that healthy women enjoy that part of touching and feeling as well! Masturbation for the Masses I say!)
It’s time to lay this shame aside and to look at our bodies and our cycles with respect. It’s time to honor ourselves and our cyclical natures. It’s also time to accept that your menstrual blood isn’t gross. Touching it won’t kill you. For real.
What do you think? Do you feel like you should hide your blood or your bleeding cycle? Are you grossed out by the thought of using a moon cup and actually touching your monthly flow or do you use a moon bowl and collect it and use it somehow? What are your thoughts on hygiene?