By Katrin Ziegler
The day has come where I am finally testing the menstruation cup. Not because I find the idea particularly appealing – I am actually quite satisfied with my tampon solution – but because after an astonishing nineteen (!) years women finally get more options.
As of now, I was only able to chose between sanitary pads, reusable sanitary pads and tampons. Juck.
Disposable sanitary pads were invented in the 19th century and were apparently such an audacity, that one had to buy them by dropping the exact amount of money into a box before the pack was handed over. Yep – wordless transaction. I might have actually liked that – not because I don’t want to talk about my period (or write about it online for that matter), but because I deeply dislike talking to salespeople. So points for that.
In the early 30s the applicator tampon was invented – the last big novelty in the period business. The applicator allowed women to push a tampon inside without committing another no-no: touching your body.
After that, big innovations were nowhere in sight and all women got were mere tweaks – thinner pads, sticky pads, colored pads (in case you want your pad to match your underwear, but only if it is black), big tampons, small tampons and tampons without applicators – since touching yourself is actually not that bad and they fit better in small purses.
A thing I don’t quite understand. The market after all is huge (49.6% of the world’s population to be precise), periods are reliable (well – mostly. And since we’re at it – are you overdue?) and the margins are huge!
Yet, new companies and start-ups seem to struggle. Well, to be fair, I also stick to my well-known tampon brand because – after all – you don’t want to shuffle just anyone’s product into your vagina. Also, periods are best not to be brought to the center of anyone’s attention or advertisement. Even in 2015 an advertisement in New York’s subway of running egg yolk was questioned because it was too suggestive of period flow.
So how can you advertise how a new product works if all you can show is an abstract art show about how it works? With e-commerce and online advertisement things have started to change. Thus, you can now find reusable, leak-proof fabrics (e.g. Dear Kate, Knix Wear, Modibodi), menstrual disks (e.g. The Flex Company) and reusable cups (e.g. Mooncup, Diva, Lady Cup).
I haven’t tried any of these. Switching my menstrual business seems kind of a bigger deal than trying a different cereal. However, it is about time that women are able to choose between more than just two options.
So in order to honor this development, I will now go and use my very first menstrual cup. Cheers.