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Have We Reached Peak Period?

Is that a period in your pants or are you just reading the news?

05.04.16

Gone are the days of cheeky euphemisms, tampons stealthily stashed up our sleeves and other such accommodations to delicate male sensibilities. After what one could call a longstanding vow of hushed whispers on period talk in the media, the floodgates, so to speak, appear to have opened.

Periods are trending! And it’s as crazy/beautiful as a Kirsten Dunst movie from 2001. A sampling:

Thinx, the new period-proof underwear every one is talking about. (Have you tried?)

-The Harvard scientist who wants women to save their period blood for diagnostic tests. (Gross or cool or both?)

-Whoopi Goldberg’s period pot, which comes in the form of a balm, a tincture, sipping chocolate and a bath soak. (What’s a tincture?)

-Rupi Kaur, the artist whose instagram got taken down because it featured period blood. (And the uproar that followed.)

-The dos and don’ts of DivaCups, the sustainable solution to periods. (I heard airplanes are a don’t.)

-Underwear that encourages you to bleed on the face of your political enemies. (WTF.)

Livia, a new product that purports to “switch off” your cramps. (Yes, please.)

-The debate around whether women are entitled to period leave. (I would take it.)

-Kiran Gandhi who made news for running a marathon on day 1 of her period sans tampon. (I could never. She’s my hero.)

-And the Trump thing. (But we won’t talk about that.)

Granted, it’s a little insulting to apply the same diagnosis to the shedding of a woman’s uterine lining as I would to wedge sneakers, probably because periods have been trending for females every month since the dawn of primates.

Which begs the question: why does everyone suddenly care? A quick review of old advertisements proves society’s priorities used to lie firmly in the hide-that-shit-at-all-costs camp. Can you imagine: NOW WITH FISHHOOK CLASPS! Please review the slideshow above for a tragic laugh.

Even as recently as a few years ago, period commercials were chock-full of blue liquid and laughing butterflies — the farthest of cries from the actual menstruation experience.

Now? We get this:

And how good is it? I have a not-so-sneaking suspicion that the not-so-silent partner to this influx of empathetic advertising and period innovation starts with an F and rhymes with meninism. The third wave, to be exact.

Feminism springs to mind because, as a woman, this red wave of interest (sorry) has felt like a brilliant and refreshing relief. Which is an anti-climatic emotion to associate with the female fight for equality, but one I’m happy to introduce both emotionally and physically when it comes to this shitty part of my every month.

This not-at-all comprehensive sampling of stories serves as both an acknowledgment of the unfair stigma and the evolution of solutions to combat it. And isn’t that the ethos of feminism in general? The normalization of women and the resulting ownership of who we are?

Unsurprisingly — before I’ve so much as pulled on a pair of Thinx or looked up the cost of a DivaCup — the simple recognition of the struggle has acted as an effective counterbalance to the struggle itself. Duly noted.

So I’d say that no, we have not reached peak period. In fact, let’s not call it a trend, let’s call it — at the risk of sounding like a cat poster — trending toward equality. Because if respect and acknowledgement of the female body turns out to be as ephemeral as the wedge sneaker, we’re in serious trouble.

Which period piece has your attention?

Feature images via Flashbak.com and Thinx via Women’s Health; carousel images via Vintage Ads and Thinx via Cosmopolitan.

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  • Aydan

    This is so legit! I love the periods are coming into the open and can be widely discussed! I remember being much younger and ALWAYS hiding a tampon up my sleeve, then in college I had the realization, why hide and from there would never worry about who could or could not see the tampon I was holding, buying, carrying in my bag, whatever!! I now don’t have them (thanks IUD) but Thinx def sounds interesting and I’m going to check it out regardless!!! Thanks for putting this together!!

    • It’s nice when companies now keep tampons in the women’s bathrooms. No need to hide anything!

  • Catherine

    Why aren’t you supposed to wear a Diva Cup on a plane???????? None of my interest searches are answering this question for me.

    • Haley Nahman

      Omg. I heard it spills.

    • Hana Eggs

      You can, and I have! The only minor issue is that airplane toilets are kinda small and in my experience I sometimes need a little more room for manoeuvre, you get me. It won’t spill unless it overfills

      • Catherine

        Ohhhh thank you so much!

  • Amelia Diamond

    the below ad is also known as the BEST DAY EVER: swimming, tennis, twirling, backward leaning, fast walking, going “yoo hoo!,” attending pdiddy’s white party. wow!

    • Haley Nahman

      Enough diving and twirling and smiling everyone will forget you even menstruate!

  • Speaks to me on many levels, considering I’m going through the first day pains today. I want to try Thinx! Also, I was thinking about this the other day – cause that’s what ladies gotta do – about how women have basically been told to suffer in silence. Whether it is menstruating pains (who have I told today about the fact that I was too in pain to pay close attention in a meeting? no one), or dissatisfaction with our positions in society. Everything is all about “don’t talk about it”. I think some companies, particularly the tampon and pad companies, are just capitalizing on the new wave of feminism. Brands like Thinx and Livia are more in line with how I think the future of feminine care will be. No more bullshit blue liquid. Cause let’s face it, it’s red, and it sucks.

    Also, has anyone seen the video of the two guys experiencing period pains (with a machine). It’s hilarious!

    • Haley Nahman

      Omg Amelia sent that to me! So good.

    • sneakypete

      When anyone asks me how I’m doing at work, if I got cramps, that’s the first thing they hear. Forcing North Texas forward one cycle at a time.

      • Haley Nahman

        YES! You’re basically doing charity work.

  • Has anyone used DivaCup/Thinx? I’m tryna make the switch.

    • Hana Eggs

      YES I’ve been using the UK version (Mooncup) for 2/3 years now and it’s the best period-related decision I’ve ever made! Less irritation, waaay less waste and cost, and I reckon slightly less cramps too but that might just be related to greater acceptance of my womanly self. It can be a little daunting getting it in and out at first but theres plenty of advice out there on that internet and it’s so safe, it’s soo worth making the switch!

    • Meg

      I’ve used Mooncup UK (2/3 years), DivaCup (3/4 years) and I really like both of them. I recently got an Intimina Lily. Which has like the niiiicest feeling silicone ever but I think it’s too soft for my pelvic muscles (thanks, yoga!) So it might take a few tries to find one that works for your bod but I totally recommend them. Also, not Thinx, but I get reusable cloth liners from a local seller on Etsy.

    • Kfeldt1

      I’ve used thinx. I bought a bikini and a hipster. They’re good, I’ve been using them for about a year. I still have to use a tampon the first 1-2 days of my period. In order to not have to do that I would have to buy a ton more of the thinx and keep switching out the whole day. I’m actually going to invest in a few more. To me they are more of a foolproof back up that you can use as a part of a system with either tampons or a cup, but I guess it depends on your flow. I definitely think they are worth having. Even if you start to see the blood through the bottom of the underwear they absolutely will not leak onto your pants it’s amazing. That’s just from the bottom though, if they get too full they leak out the sides a bit.They wash out great too. That’s my personal experience.

  • Sophie

    I have been using a menstrual cup for over a year now. Probably like many, first I thought it wouldn’t be hygienic, but as I discussed about it with my friends, I realized that when used and cleaned correctly it is actually more hygienic! I recommend it to everyone who has had problems with pads not being effective enough and for those whose periods last as long as mine (at least 7 days…). It sucks carrying and wearing pads 24/7 for a week!

  • Allie Fasanella

    this feels like an appropriate space to tell ya’ll i just got my period. like literally 10 mins ago.

    • Haley Nahman

      GOOD LUCK GRL.

      But actually this is good news. Estrogen rising for next 14 days. Werk it.

      • Allie Fasanella

        thx 4 the support girl

  • Allie Fasanella

    http://i.giphy.com/26FxF2fxvjK9WUnIY.gif

    how i felt when i got my period

  • I got a diva cup and the thinx panties last month and my period never felt so exiting with new gadgets, and it all felt so liberating at the same time. Don’t forget the apps that allows tracking of these things (I love the Clue app, and how it feels like someone who really really wants to know when I’m bloated, if I have cramps, how much I bleed and so on). Now I will go fund livia! Thx for a great period piece 🙂

  • Mavis

    If you’re not listening to it already, the Call Your Girlfriend podcast is amazing, and has been doing a “This Month in Menstruation” segment since before it was “trending”. 😉 Their email newsletter, entitled “The Bleed” is sent monthly and features an icon of bloodstained panties – but they also discuss many other things pop culture and feminism. So good, recommend!

    • Haley Nahman

      Love CYG!

  • BK

    what was a sanitary belt and how did it work because I can NOT work it out from the diagrams

    • Jen

      It was what held your very thick absorbent pad in place. Because the pads were so bulky and there were no adhesives on it, you’d clip each end to what was kind of like a garter belt. Except to keep your pad in place, not your sexy stockings. Which is very…unsexy.

      So yeah. Thank our lucky stars for advancements in absorbency & adhesive technologies.

      • BK

        Ohhh there was a second component, now I understand everything

  • Aggie

    These diva cups terrify me, they remind me of the cap you use to measure laundry detergent…I want to know how Thinx works, the ads on the slideshow have left me perplexed?!

    • Haley Nahman

      they fully look like laundry detergent cups

    • BK

      A friend of a friend of mine ended up in a (sadly Clooney-free) hospital ER after her diva cup suctioned too successfully to her cervix or something and she couldn’t remove it soooooooooo….I’m fine with tampons

      • Kelly

        That is the stuff of nightmares!
        Stories like that keep me buying tampons.

  • Antoine

    Guys this is superb, because fighting taboos is superb. BUT, please remember not just women have periods, and perhaps it’s also important to notice how major this is regarding trans individuals.

  • RattlesnakeKate

    There is an amazing book called 28 Days Lighter that’s full of information on the menstrual cycle and ways to adjust your diet and exercise to relieve PMS and cramps. I am so into it, and it really helped me feel empowered by and grateful for my periods (as weird as that sounds).

  • Christine Russo

    LITERALLY LOLING @ “how do I hustle though my period?” OMG

  • BK

    PSA Livia has been in existence for years and it is merely an overpriced cutesy version of the classic, sometimes-effective/sometimes placebo phenomenon that is the humble TENS machine

  • Nancy

    I followed that link to the woman who ran the marathon on Day 1 of her period and I’m just thinking about how much she must’ve enjoyed the carb-loading afterwards. Sounds divine.

  • Carla Conti

    Is not only that. Menstraution is the actual confirmation of our freedom of choice and our right of planning around something else than a domestic life. Have you ever think how many periods a woman used to have when her life revolved only around having kids? My grandmother (amazing woman) had her first child at a really young age and her last one way into her 40’s. She breastfed all of her 8 babies for months. When she stopped, she would get pregnant again. I believe she couldn’t have more than 20-30 periods all together. That was her life and the life of most of the women of her time. Our menstruation is not as natural as we may think; is more of an acquired right. We earned it. Thanks to our period we can dream bigger; we can have it all.