BY SAMANTHA MOYA
Twelve times a year women bleed.
The menstrual cycle is the taboo reality causes women to whisper to each other and under an object of camouflage pass pads and tampons to each other. Periods and the need for feminine products have been known to calm even the deepest conflicts between frenemies. It’s the one issue women can universally empathize with and stand in solidarity against.
This natural cycle that women hide from male equals in the workplace and in classrooms, is an expensive reality – tampons, pads, new underwear, heating pads and painkillers for cramps. Users of pads face the paranoia of leaking. Users of tampons face the paranoia of toxic shock syndrome – an outcome that can occur if a tampon is used for too long. Few alternatives are accessible.
Richelle Ramirez is a cross country varsity athlete who runs for Humber College. Her constant movement makes her period challenging. “I like to use tampons because it is the most comfortable while being active, but I still haven’t found the right type of tampon that doesn’t leak,” she says.
However, a new revolution of feminine products is beginning to gain popularity. One that is affordable and reusable. In drugstore, an alternative to the regular environmentally unfriendly products is a menstrual cup. This reusable silicone product can be used for years, making is possible for women to avoid literally flushing their money down the toilet. The Diva Cup, which costs $40, costs more initially, but is cheaper when you consider that tampons and pads can cost, an estimated $150 to $300 annually.
Another product that can be ordered online is branded as “period underwear.” Created by three women, Thinx comes in different styles and levels of absorbency.
“You train co-ed and are wearing shorts, it can be embarrassing. Sometimes you are paranoid and can’t even focus on the workout,” Ramirez says. This underwear is priced from $24 to $34 and can be used over and over again.
In an interview with The New York Times, Carinne Chambers, co-founder of the Diva Cup said, “A lot of women think they’re relatively content with their options because it’s all they’ve ever known. They’re not necessarily looking for something new.” But now there are new options. Options that can align with your environmental friendly values and options that can be friendly to your budget.”