Friday, April 29, 2011

Things That Make You Say, "Hmmm..."

There really isn't a delicate or demure way to segue into this post so I'm just going to dive right in.

Menstruation is horrible. I hate every second of it. Every 28 days or so I violently curse my womanhood audibly and often in public. I'm not sure why we as a gender haven't changed the name to "35-year, monthly gore and torture fest." I might start a petition. There are few things that ameliorate the situation. Ibuprofen being the stand-out champion in my book. It is nearly impossible to be even the slightest bit comfortable (physically or mentally) for the duration of the monthly catastrophe. But now, after having suffered though 27 years -- and counting -- of this nasty business, I've built up a decent level of resistance to its evil and tolerance for its unfair necessity.


Every once in a while something comes along in this timeline of feminine existence that leaves one scratching her proverbial head.

I'm talking about reusable, handmade, sewn/knitted/crocheted "feminine products." Really?

Like this, for example:

Here's the etsy link, if you want to buy this as a gag gift (both literally and figuratively). Read the description. This mo-fo is 1/4 inch thick. Yeah, SO comfortable. Awesome. Also, he's the stupidest, most proportionally-bizarre pirate I've ever seen. Blargh.

Or this:

Why the Battenburg parasol? Hmm? Just curious. This is a crochet menstrual pad. Here's the link to buy the pattern, if you have completely lost your mind.

I saw this on Ravelry today. One person commented, "wouldn’t it go through the holes???" Which is, indeed, a valid question and a much kinder, gentler question than the one I was very tempted to pose, which was, "What the fuck?"

Imagine folding over those "wings," and then putting any pair of pants. 'Nuff said.

Or my personal favorite:

Yeah, I don't use normal, hermetically sealed tampons because I think they are gross.
Everyone else getting a picture of actually USING these? Hope you're not eating.

The designer also claims, "I have used these personally for most of the last year, and I can attest that they are comfortable, easy to make, easy to insert and remove, and they absorb as well as a commercial tampon." Uh huh. Riiight.

And for $.50 you can own the pattern to make as many of these darlings as you want. Hmmm...these would make good cat toys, now that I think about it. Whew, that's a relief. Now at least I can look at the picture and apply a more pleasing image of Titus batting one of these around the floor.

For as much as these items are intended to "free" women from the oppression of the evil corporate entities that make feminine products and to bring eco-social-green-whatever consciousness to the forefront, they, in fact, do the exact opposite. Also? They are rigoddamndiculous.

Two points:

1) Think of the time, money, and energy spent making these (albeit, the first one is ready to use but I have seen patterns for sewing them) and then having to wash and sterilize them. I don't know about you, but I don't find that very liberating, nor very eco friendly. I hate my period enough as it is, let alone to have to bear the constant resentment of making and cleaning my own sanitary accessories. Not that I don't believe that I should be responsible for my own body. I should, and I am. But I am not about to be guilted into making my own menstruation pads because of landfills/pollution/global warming, etc. Thanks for making the argument that a woman's ecological footprint is somehow bigger and more insidious than anyone else's. Isn't this the reverse of freedom: to be chained to this biological function that I have no control over? I don't identify myself as a woman because of my period. And I certainly am not willing to waste any more time obsessing over it. I am more than that.

2) You know maybe back in the day when the activities of women were relegated to afternoon tea, needlepoint samplers, and decoupage, these might have been progressive. But for any female from about 1850 to present, they are a hindrance to basic existence. The thought of donning any one of the above atrocities angers me beyond all comprehension. We are not frail, sedentary dolls who come down with frightful cases of the vapors anymore. Moreover, I've never been a slave to fashion. Anyone who's ever seen me knows what I'm talking about. But, I can't imagine any modern, normally-fitting garment worn below the waist working well with 1/4-inch-thick inserts in my panty. How about, oh I don't know...WALKING? Hmm? Am I supposed to just lounge about all day for a week? Recall that it is 2011 and women do not have that luxury (certainly no woman I know). I can't even begin to fathom the level of discomfort associated with those knitted tampons.


Bubblesknits said...

I've seen those before and...well...I was speechless. Then the hubster walked by and said, "Is that what I think it is? Why? Of all the things you can make, why that???" LOL

Katie J said...

All I keep thinking of is the phrase "that damn bloody pirate".

Lamingtonlass said...

Thanks for the smiles!

denise said...

Cloth menstrual products (as well as products like the Diva or Moon cup) actually lessen the severity of cramps, lighten the menstrual flow, and make your period a lot more comfortable, since most irritation is caused by the chemicals in commercial products.

Gina said...

Well, irritation & menstrual flow are 2 very different things. I fail to see how a cloth or knitted pad will help lessen flow. TMI, but personally, I've never had any irritation or other problem (infection etc.) from using commercially made menstrual items. The only thing I find truly irritating is having to get my period at all! And the idea that I'd have to wash & sterilize menstrual items is infuriating.

Dana said...

Cloth pads are more comfortable, better for the environment, less expensive over time and as easy to launder as any other piece of clothing. Women survived periods long before commercial disposable products. Just Saying.

Gina said...

I also have a rather large bridge I can sell you, and possibly the philosopher's stone.

I would LOVE to see clinical research records on exactly how much more comfortable, environmentally friendly, and economical these handmade grotesqueries are.

Oh wait, there isn't any. Call me crazy, but I don't want to return to a time when consideration for women's reproductive health was pretty much nonexistent. It really boils down to one person's preference over another. So if one chooses to be suckered and guilted into using handmade, "washable," gross, bacteria-infested cloth menstrual pads, then they can go right ahead. I just hope I don't have to sit near them on a crowded train. PU!