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Menstrual product revolution

Menstrual activism

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"protecting futures"
quellers wrote in menstrual_lib
I've seen the commercials and now I've come across the website for Tampax and Always' "Protecting Futures" campaign.
Just out of curiosity, what are your opinions of this effort?

"How we're protecting futures

What if you couldn't go to school when you had your period? As amazing as it may seem in the 21st century, that's the reality for some girls in Southern Africa.

Tampax and Always are doing something to help protect those girls' futures. In partnership with the United Nations Association of the USA's HERO campaign, we established the Protecting Futures program.

Your purchase of Tampax or Always helps us donate $1.4 million through 2008 to the United Nations Association's HERO campaign to help provide feminine protection and education to girls in Southern Africa. That money will be used to provide health, hygiene and puberty education. It's also going into building classrooms, toilets, wash stations and dorms. And it's being used to provide the students with meals and clean water. In addition, we'll be providing pads to these girls to help them not miss school when they get their period."


(cross-posted: cloth_pads, menstrual_cups, menstrual_lib)

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It creeps me out, to be honest. I mean, first of all, what did these people do for thousands of years to manage periods? I'm almost certain they must have used some kind of cloth pads while they worked in the fields or whatever. Surely they have cloth. They have healthier options than Tampax and Always, for sure. If they want to help, send the girls some cups.

are they then going to donate the billions of dollars it will take to clean the mess these disposable pads/tampons make? or pay a garbage service to pick it up? Chances are a lot of these things will end up in the waterways and polluting the areas in which these people live. I think there is a more responsible route to go. I think this is going to do exactly what it has done to American girls, make a complete disconnect between you and your body and making one ashamed to have a period.

Education of what a period is, what it means is good but thinking these pads/tampons will just go away is bad!!!

There was a post about this in menstrual_cups a while ago, where people were piously insisting that all the women in Africa should use cloth pads or cups instead. I think they missed a few problems, such as widespread lack of access to water. Reusables are great, but they require certain facilities that not everyone has.

By which I'm not saying that I think tampons are the best idea. None of the solutions are perfect: there isn't enough running water for everyone to use reusables, and there isn't the sewage facilities to get rid of disposables. With FGM running at horrifying rates (90% in Egypt, for instance), I don't think that internal products are a smart move. Reusable pads would probably be better overall than disposable ones, though still fraught with problems.

I think it's wise to be suspicious when any large multinational company's plan to save the world is to give large quanities of it's own habit-forming product to poor people who haven't previously been using it. It sounds a bit too much like artificial baby milk all over again.

On the other side, the provision of sanitation (by which I mean toilets) is a really important feminist issue. Not only when women are menstruating but just generally, it's a bit trickier for women to 'pop behind a bush', particularly if she has concerns about modesty or personal safety. Provision of toilet facilities in schools and work places can have a really positive effect on the liberation of women.

Perhaps the women in question used to use menstrual huts instead of cloth so that's why cloth protection is not already in use. Anyway, the sentiment of these companies is nice, but the reality is that this will cause problems for the environment for disposable pads/tampons.

Presumably the communities in need are currently using cloth diapers, so the issue of washing menstrual pads becomes a non-issue as both items can be laundered in a similar manner.

The water comments are a bit unfounded. Since these are families who send their daughters to school, logic dictates that their basic needs would already be taken care of (food, clean water, etc.)prior to education becoming an issue so cloth pads do seem to be the best bet here.

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