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some things just shouldn't be re-usable

WARNING: If you are easily disgusted by a woman's menstrual cycle, do not read this post. Or read it and then make a nasty comment about how I ruined your dinner.

As I was doing my Sunday night scouring of the Indymedia sites, I hit the Portland site and realized with horror that I had missed the Menstrual Pad Making Workshop today.

No, really. I do not make this stuff up.

The Women's Health Collective will be holding a menstrual pad making workshop on Sunday, at 10:00 a.m., at the Back to Back cafe (616 E. Burnside). "Come and learn all the different options women have besides tampons and how to make your own resuable pads. Any extra thread, needles or scraps of flannel you can bring would help."

Reusable. Flannel. I had to read that twice.

"6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems in 1998. And according to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999."

You know, I recycle. Every Sunday night I put out my little green bucket with my newspapers and plastic and metal. But I'll be damned if I'm going extend my environemtal awareness so much that I start reusing my maxi pads. And who the hell is throwing their tampons into the sea? Message in a tampon, anynow?

Over at scarleteen.com, there's a little article about the myths of washable menstrual pads.

2. Theyíre Unsanitary: Stop and think for one minute. Think about your underwear. Thatís right, thatís what I said: think about your underwear. Is your underwear unsanitary? Do you boil it after every wear? Hopefully you donít. Same goes for washable menstrual pads.

Well, I don't know about you, Miss Scarlet Teen, but my undies get washed after every use. Maybe not boiled, but it's something close to that.

Using washable menstrual pads simply means taking a few extra minutes out of your day to rinse out some pieces of cotton and hang them somewhere to dry.

Date: Hey, what are those things hanging in the bathroom?
You: Oh, those are my washable menstrual pads!
Date: Uh, I just remembered I have to scrape my mother's feet tonight.

If youíre like me, and many of the washable pad users Iíve spoken with, you might actually grow to enjoy the time you spend dealing with your pads.

Woohoo! It's Wednesday! Can't wait to get home and wash my menstrual pads tonight!

Bloodsisters,, who describe themselves as menstrual activists, have a nifty suggestion, too:

Other alternatives exist for women. Natural sea sponges can be bought at any pharmacy. Just attach some dental floss for a string. Dip it in boiling water to sterilise it, squeeze and insert as you would any tampon.

I can hear the theme song now:

Who lives in a pussy under the sea?
Spongebob Tampon!

If pads aren't your thing yet you want to remain environmentally concious, you can always try The Keeper. It's a little cup that looks more like a bathroom plunger (and from the FAQs, sounds like one too). You can use it for up to ten years and the great part is, ou can be super-duper vigilant in your recycling, because you can empty the cup into your garden when you take it out. I kid you not. Apparently plants are vampiric in nature and thrive on blood.

Me, I'll keep my tampons, thank you very much. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I'd rather release my little plastic applicator into the wilds of the New York sewer system than spend a night rinsing out something that's been sitting between my legs all day while I have my period.

Then again, I shave my legs, too. I'm such a radical that way.


That's just not right! With TSS a serious side effect of the whole menstrual thing, the fact that the area is damp and dark, do you really want to be adding MORE bacteria to the equation? I think not. I'm also very thankful I don't have to worry about crap like this anymore.

You know... I keep thinking of the effects of someone whose worn a shirt out of the wash, and they're allergic to the detergent... and well....

Yeah... I vote for diapers and pads to stay DISPOSABLE. (at least until you women agree to keep them in a separate wash. I think of the havoc when my dress shirts are thrown in with brand new red sweaters... )Remember: Cold water for blood.

OH.MY.GOD. I have got to go to Bloodsisters right now so that I can become a MENSTRUAL ACTIVIST. Not that I agree with anything they say, I just want to be a menstrual activist. I mean, think about it. If there's any issue I disagree with, are you going to want to stand in the way?? "WATCH OUT!!! The MENSTRUAL ACTIVISTS ARE COMING!! AND THEY'RE ALL PMS'Y!!!!"

Damn...Just think of what we could get passed through congress that way.

Michele....the whole VRWC should be made up of Menstrual Activists!! (well, the women anyway) Good Gods...we could take over the world!!!

(I think my god complex has gotten to me. Or maybe it's just my period.)

Radical environmentalists...I think of them every time I start up my SUV.

ok, granted i've been on depo-provera for ten years and haven't had a period in almost as long, but you know, come the rapture/nuclear armageddon, girls like you and me are going to need to know this stuff...

Who lives in a pussy under the sea?
Spongebob Tampon!

snort that's a keeper.

Not that I wanted to share that, but me too Tanya...Isn't Depo the BOMB!!!! WOOHOO!

Who lives in a pussy under the sea?
Spongebob Tampon!

That only has made up for the horrible cramps that I am suffering from right now - wanna help me rinse out my tampons during a break tomorrow? Blue Tequilla is calling by the way - in a huge way. I have a coupon.

Yea, twist my arm. Tequilas for lunch tomorrow, Jo will drive.

I love you, Bonnie and I'll do anything for you. Except wash your tampons.

Thanks for offering Jo to drive - I sure as hell wasn't going to offer!

I guess I understand you not wanting to wash my tampons - thanks for considering it at least.

By the way, did anybody else notice that Michele mentioned shaving her legs...but said NOTHING about her armpits??? She's converting, I tell you!!

Tracy, I thought that didn't even need mentioning. I think I'll have to take some pictures of my armpits!

This makes me both cringe and laugh. Once long ago, back when I was a Deadhead, I was staying with some friends in the Bay Area (San Leandro, to be exact) and I was subjected to the (seemingly) endless exhortations and promotional blather of a self-professed Menstrual Activist.
I was two days into a multi-day psychedelic binge. I did not want to know about this woman's pussy sponge. I did not want to see the hempen bag she stored it in.
I just wanted to take more LSD. It was profoundly embarrassing. I still wince when I think about it.

Pearl, I've never taken drugs in my life...But I want LSD after that post. Eww.

You know, I just really don't get the menstural activism thing. It's a biological function. How the hell to you demonstrate against a biological function???

I don't get it either. But then, I am from the Uff Da Zone, that strange sector of repressed Protestantism where it is strictly verboten to acknowledge any bodily function other than farting.
In fact, I once housesat for some of friends of my mother and I never did figure out where they hid the spare rolls of toilet paper. The single roll in the bathroom was cleverly hidden underneath a quaint little crocheted dolly with a skirt. It was truly a Lutheran Home.

OMG what a topic! Menstrual activists... I was reminded of Connie Willis' short story "Even the Queen", in the Impossible Things collection. Ms Willis referred to it as her "women's issue" story, giggle snort...

It's relevant, believe me!

unsanitary and insane. What a bonus.

"Spongebob Tampon"...Snort...Giggle. Not only did you almost make me ruin my laptop, how the hell am I supposed to shop for my grandson in the toy section ever again?

Are these women, sorry, "womyn", for real? How unsanitary....ugh!

I have a friend in northern Washington (Bellingham) that is a huge tree-hugger sort - and she uses the Keeper. I got a speech on it one day, and then I reminded her that I live in Houston - environmental hell where dumping tampons in to the system is nothing compared to the toxic chemicals we dump. That finally got her to stop. That stuff is just wroooooong. shiver

Fortunately, Dave Barry is on the case. Of course, it's no surprise that there is a pop-up book on menopause, but do you know the URL to buy it? (No, it isn't available in stores and I'm not about to search amazon.)


Yes, I know that the book isn't actually about menopause, but I can't spell menstruation.

I emailed this link to a friend of mine, expecting her to giggle and snort along with me.

Turns out she's used The Keeper, back when it had a different name (but still resembled a toilet plunger). She said it tends to leak a bit, when you remove it...

Interestingly enough, she shaves. Legs, armpits, and, er... ummm... yeah.

It's got me baffled, I tell ya!

"How the hell to you demonstrate against a biological function???"

You don't demonstrate against a biological function, you demonstrate for it. As in, changing people's attitudes that menstruation is "dirty", that pussies don't need to be douched with fragrant products to be cleaned, etc. It's kind of the same tack as trying to get people to think of breast feeding as something other than "gross". I know a lot of women who make their own sanitary stuff, and they all have good experiences doing so (for years). I think some people don;t realize there are alternatives. Of course, some people are better off thinking milk comes from cartons, and should stick to commercial products.

You can read the whole Connie Willis story here:


i think a lot of people are using thse not so much becuase of the environmental effects but because of the horrible things in most major tampon brands. tampons that are pleaced and have weird chemicals in them (to make them look all white and pure! :) ) can be really bad for you....

There isnt anything wrong with using cloth pads. I am not a tree hugger, free loving hippy, but I dont use tampons or dispoables anymore because the chemcicals made me sick. Hey, it was make a change or put myself at risk. I use a Diva Cup and Luna Pads. Its not a big deal. I wash pads seperate from everything else and they wash clean, no stains. I use my Diva Cup when im out and about and I dont normally have to rinse it in public but if I did I would empty it first out of site into the toilet.
Sure, it took a while to get used to the idea of washing my own pads, but its better than putting bleach and rayon into my body in the form of a tampon. Call it unsanitary if you must. I understand that whats right for me isnt right for every woman. Oh and I also shave so I dont exactly fall into the whole feminine activist movement. But if in the end I did then its my body and it would be my choice, and I wouldnt air my dirty laundry in public.
Yall keep using those nasty disposables if you want to- I wont judge, but I will tell you that if you research everything that goes into making a tampon its not all sanitary like youd think.
Rayon is some nasty stuff, and if that tampons shredding when you take it out thats a bad sign something isnt right. I just dont want what happened to me to happen to other women. When streptococcal and staphococcal auerous rears its ugly head it makes you so damn sick it could knock you off your feet, and I found out the hard way that all those little tampons can be a dangerous thing....so I have to give these women who are trying to get the companies to atleast acknowledge what the put the box some credit. I for one will not buy another box of tampons until
they label the ingredients atleast. Too bad that isnt listed next to the syptoms of TSS.
Anyway in the end, I think these women deserve some credit for their efforts. They are offering products to us women who cant use the same products as everyone else. A lot of them have had health problems related to tampons ect, and that I suppose is what sparked the whole menstruation movement and idea. Its more of a movement for industries to produce healthier products free of chemicals. Women buy these products and we have the ability to create change in the way these products are made and marketing.
Oh one good point about cloth pads- my hubby likes the fact that hell never have to run to the store to buy products for me ever again. He says as long as he doesnt have to see it he doesnt care, and he knows that I know what is best for me.
So- dont knock it til youve tried it or atleast researched it. SOme women will let any man put his penis in their vagina and I think thats a hell of a lost nastier than me using a menstrual cup or cloth pads...think about it!

Oh! and just ignore all my typos please, and I promise I wont invite any of you women to help me wash my pads.