“Western Women Will Save the World”
It’s a bold statement. It’s not mine.
And, although I’m not sure if he was talking about this specific subject, one way we can make a vast difference is by stopping the use of throw-away sanitary products!
It is more of a Western issue.
When I spent 3 months in Asia in 2014, I struggled to find tampons at all and, when I did, they were about 400% the price of the same ones in Europe. The local villagers would still use rags and wash them out. If your reaction to that is disgust, that’s ok and I implore you to read on. TO BREAK THROUGH THE CONDITIONING.
Because we are conditioned about this subject. Conditioned to believe that we should keep our menstruation-
- Out of Sight (an estimated 1.5million women used tampons just in the UK in 2017. 10million use them worldwide.)
- Out of Mind (think of the white-leggings clad cyclists and rollerbladers on sanitary adverts we grew up with.)
- And certainly Out of Polite Conversation!
We’re supposed to keep on going regardless. [I can’t help but wonder… If men bled 5 days out of 28, would we have a more mensual system at work in our world? But, I digress…]
I was happily using “regular” sanitary products for years and then one day, I thought about it. Really thought about it. I’d read about how long it takes for their decomposition and I sat on my bed that day and did the maths:-
5 (days) x 6 (tampons) = 30 per period
30 x 13 (cycles) = 390 per year
390 x 20 (years) = 7,800 so far in my life!
7,800 waste items that would still be around long after I am gone. And that was just me!
I continued my research.
There are quite a few products out there and last year I posted on Instagram about these alternatives to tampons and pads.
It was great to hear back that a lot of people have heard of and were using these already.
I’d had this one sat in my cupboard for about 6 months.
My friend had had it sat in her cupboard for over a year (hence the discolouration, I believe they start off white).
But anyway, I’d had it for a while so why hadn’t I used it already?
- Month #1 – It looked kind of huge and like it would be uncomfortable.
- Month #2 – It requires sterilising in boiling water and I kept forgetting/”running out of time” to prepare it.
- Month #3 & #4– I’m out teaching yoga from morning til night:-
- A) What if it leaks??
- B) I barely have time to pee – let alone clean it – during the day!
- C) Peeing in bushes at festivals is out… (ok, so I wasn’t actually attending any festivals but I was looking for excuses, wasn’t I!)
- Month #5 – I wanted to take a photo of it before I used it in case I wanted to blog about it (I used this excuse for 2 months before finally starting to write this article as a push to use the damn thing!! [Yes, this has been part written for a while, I think it’s clear I’m an accomplished procrastinator!] )
My Reasons to Use a Cup:-
Plus no more mousetails hanging out of my bikini bottoms in the summer!
In honesty, it’s taken me 18months to really get used to using my cup.
THINGS TO NOTE :-
1) GET THE RIGHT SIZE – There are actually two sizes, which I didn’t know before. One for women who have given birth vaginally and another for those who haven’t.
2) LET IT COOL DOWN – just because it feels cool to the fingertips, does not mean it will feel cool in other more sensitive places (I learned this the hard way!!!)
3) IT’S ACTUALLY LESS HASSLE THAN YOU THINK – you can leave it for up to 12hrs!
4) IT DOESN’T LEAK – once you get the hang of it! Which can take some practise. [TIP: I find an orgasm is the perfect way to prepare my body!]
5) IT MAKES YOU FEEL CLOSER TO YOUR CYCLE – You can see your flow as it changes (there’s a handy measurement on the side) throughout the cycle and cycle-to-cycle. And rather than throwing that goodness away, you can actually feed it to your plants! Full circle back to Mother Nature.
So yes, it might be the tiniest bit inconvenient to change…
And no, maybe it won’t be for everyone.
But isn’t menstruating every month – especially when living in a society that doesn’t allow us to respond to the ebbs and flows of our natural cycles of creation and restoration – quite inconvenient, anyway?
Isn’t it worth allowing a little more inconvenience if it means being kinder to our bodies and to the this beautiful planet we call home?
As women, we’re pretty good at adapting to inconvenience…
According to the Dalia Llama, Western Women will save the world. Might this be one of the many ways we will help to do it?
Jeannette Amy (Nette) Hopkinson (BSc Hons Sports & Life Sciences) is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher and Oneness Blessing Giver based in Andalucía.