Monday, 14 December 2015

Periods are revolting: getting the CSP revolution into women’s minds

Modesty v information

As a blogger, I find myself going to talks about blogging. During the most recent one, the Blog Lady pointed out that we don’t share news about anything “embarrassing.” She’s right, Facebook may be full of complaints about the weather and ill children, but no one ever seems to be excited that their piles have cleared up.

This is probably a Good Thing. There is such a thing as privacy, not to mention the fact that we’re often not that discriminating when it comes to Facebook friends (!).

But there is a downside to this modesty. When we keep things we consider “embarrassing” or “too personal” off our blogs and social media accounts, we’re robbing people of valuable information too.

I think this is what’s happening with CSP. CSP stands for cloth sanitary protection, in other words, reusable sanitary pads. Now, some of my friends know I’ve been using CSP since 2005 but to be honest, it’s not something that tends to come up in conversation. I think I’ve mentioned it once on Facebook (only because I found someone who could make me TARDIS pads!) and never on Twitter. 

Because reusable menstrual products aren’t mentioned, online or offline, women aren’t informed about them. So when it comes to keeping clean during our periods, all the information we have shown to us is paid for by the only companies who can afford it, i.e. the large pharmaceuticals. And they’re making a killing because their products are disposable, meaning women need to buy a new pack every month. Hence the big companies have got the money to advertise...and so it goes round and round.

The period revolution

In fact, there’s a period revolution going on. It’s going on pretty quietly, on a few websites, a handful of Facebook pages and at the dining tables of some enterprising women who run up cloth pads on their sewing machines. If we want to find out about this different approach to menstrual products, we won’t see an ad in Cosmopolitan or in the commercial breaks on TV. Women will have to somehow find out CSP exists before they can even start doing their research. Articles (often excellent) can be found in the online versions of the broadsheets but they’re often spoiled by narrow-minded comments and questionable statistics.

Reusable pads are important

It’s a shame that this revolution is so quiet because what the CSP revolutionaries are doing is really important. They’re reducing waste, reducing carbon footprints and reducing the power of the large pharmaceutical companies. They’re offering products that stop you ruining your knickers but don’t carry a risk of toxic shock syndrome. They’re saving their fellow-women money – after all, pads, tampons, Mooncups and CSP are only a necessary outlay for half the population and anything reusable constitutes a saving. How would you feel if I told you I haven’t bought any menstrual products (disposable or reusable) for over five years?!

The way forward

Cloth sanitary protection and reusable menstrual products like Mooncups are the way forward for us and our planet. Before women are going to start using them, they’ve got to get used to the idea and that’s only going to happen if it’s in the public consciousness.

So everyone, talk about this! Get the idea of reusable menstrual products into women’s minds and let’s start to normalise it. 

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