- The National Academies of Science recently confirmed that styrene is a carcinogenic chemical. Why do we care? Styrene is among the chemicals listed as a fragrance in Procter & Gamble products – but P&G doesn’t identify which products. So is styrene in Tampax tampons or Always pads? We don’t know, because femcare companies are not required to list ingredients on the packages.
- What if celebrities are wrong? That’s not as trivial a question as it may sound: Consider the Angelina Jolie Effect, in which the media presented an overwhelmingly positive slant toward Jolie’s mastectomy, while overlooking the relative rarity of her situation.
- Here’s a really cool survey of female cartoonists talking about drawing their bodies.
- The venerable Black Women’s Health Imperative is hosting a webinar next week about gynecologic cancers: Myths, Misunderstandings and the Truth about Gynecologic Cancers, Screenings and the Affordable Care Act will be held September 17, at 12:00 pm EDT/9:00 am PDT. Advance registration is required.
- Have you ever searched a database of stock photos for menstruation-related images? Rachel has. She found a lot more than tampon pictures.
- Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-California) dropped a line to Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health (a chain of drugstores in the U.S.), to inquire about the little matter of their implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s Women’s Health Amendment. It seems some stores were illegally charging co-pays for generic birth control pills, which are supposed to be covered at no cost. Representative Speier has a few questions for Mr. Merlo [pdf].
- The popular lesbian site Autostraddle published an article this week about alternatives to disposable menstrual products and the menstrual cup. There’s some interesting discussion happening in the comments about whether or not the sponge is an animal and therefore philosophically acceptable for vegan use.
- Is there a link between depression and menopause? A new study in Maturitas identifies biological as well as psychosocial factors that are likely to be contributing in an individual.
- Is it really going to happen this time? Bustle says we can put birth control for men on our calendars.
- September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The rate of the disease has dropped, but it is still the fifth-leading malignant cause of death among U.S. women.
- Do you crave sandwiches when you’re menstruating? Maybe you need a Bloodfeast like the Ragwood.
- This week at Lady Clever, Holly Grigg-Spall interviewed Alisa Vitti, author of best-selling book Woman Code.
- Findings of a study published this month in the Journal of Women’s Health suggest that early life emotional and physical abuse increase the risk of PMS in the middle-to-late reproductive years.
- So has everybody checked out Tampon Run, the new video game created by teenagers? The premise is simple: Collect tampons, shoot them at your enemies, and don’t run out of them before your moon cycle is over. Read more about the game and the two young women who created it. (By the way, that article has been ‘liked’ on Facebook more than 21,000 times.)
- You’ve already done the ALS ice bucket challenge, now take the lemon challenge and help end endometriosis.
- There’s also the taco and/or beer challenge for reproductive rights: You just eat a taco, and/or drink a beer, and donate to an abortion fund.
- According to a study reported in The Independent, half of young British women are unable to properly label a vagina on a medical diagram, while 65 per cent have admitted they have a problem simply using the words vagina or vulva.
- Some Republican politicians have announced support of birth control pills over-the-counter. Advocates are skeptical.
- Menopause may lead to depression, says Margery Gass in the North American Menopause Society Blog.
- GoodWorksWellness offers natural solutions for treating PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
- Five things about tampons learned in 20 years of menstruating.
In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we are republishing some of our favorite posts. This post by Elizabeth Kissling originally appeared September 29, 2009.
Apropos of Chris’ most recent post, the video of Serena Williams’ new ad for Tampax just popped up in my RSS feed. You can check it out at right.
I’m so torn on this. I’m pretty certain that this is the First. Time. Ever. that the word “blood” has been used in an ad for menstrual products. Do you know what a huge step forward for body acceptance and menstrual literacy that is? When I was growing up in the 1970s, pads were advertised by showing how well they absorbed BLUE fluid. (So were diapers, by the way.) Kotex was the first company to use the color red and the word “period” in ad campaign less than ten years ago. So there is a part of me that is delighted when Catherine Lloyd Burns, playing Mother Nature, smiles slyly and says, “Well, there is plenty of blood, but none of it’s bad”.
I also enjoy seeing a powerful woman say that she isn’t afraid of menstruation, and shown succeeding athletically while menstruating. Kinda reminds me of when Uta Pippig won the Boston Marathon while menstruating.
But the core message and most troubling element of this entire “Mother Nature” campaign is the idea that menstruation is the gift nobody wants. Can’t P&G (and Kotex, and every other femcare advertiser) just promote the damn products without promoting shame and body hatred? Women will buy menstrual products without being told that periods should make them feel “not so fresh”. In fact, the ads might be more compelling if they emphasized the absorbency of the product and treated menstruation as a fact of life, rather than a secret disaster. Just spare us the blue fluid, please.
- 1970s advertising flashback: Watch these ladies share a shameful secret, and pity them.
- Rebecca, regular contributor at xoJane, says she’s terrible at menstruating. She’s got a lot of company, as there are currently more than 400 comments.
- Here’s a detailed chart comparing birth control methods, rating effectiveness in typical use and perfect use and explaining how each works. It also separates hormonal methods from non-hormonal methods.
- New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito went public with her HPV+ diagnosis to encourage others to get tested.
- Holly Grigg-Spall penned a thoughtful piece about period acceptance for Lady Clever this week, featuring quotes from several members of SMCR.
- On the relationship between police brutality and reproductive justice.
- What happens when, for medical reasons, women elect to freeze their eggs for future use? Turns out there is very little follow-up research on this population. A study at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine in the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam found that none of the women in their small sample had used her cryopreserved oocytes, although 16 women had tried to conceive. Most considered the frozen eggs to be a last-resort option.
- Do you have a passion for both cycling and (bi)cycling? Join the Sustainable Cycles Spring 2015 tour! Want to know more about previous tours? Sarah Konner and Toni Craigie rode the west coast (U.S.) in 2011, and Rachel Horn and her friend Owen rode 4624 miles across the country in 2013, distributing menstrual cups and educating about menstruation all the way.
In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we are republishing some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared July 2, 2009.
As I’ve written elsewhere, entertainment media in the U.S. aren’t squeamish about showing us blood: gunshot wounds, horrific vehicle accidents, and surgical procedures can be seen in fictional narratives as well as nightly news. It’s only menstrual blood that must remain hidden.
Another reminder of this phenomenon can be seen in the brief internet buzz last month, when teen actress Dakota Fanning was photographed on a movie set with blood running down her bare legs. I read about this at Broadsheet, Salon.com’s blog about ladybusiness. Broadsheet’s take was uncertainty over whether the photos are real or from the film, and disgust with the
reactions from internet commenters at Livejournal:
Is the blood part of the movie’s plotline — in which Fanning plays rock chick Cherie Currie — or just a run-of-the-mill monthly mishap?
Probably the latter. But that hasn’t prevented the Internet from erupting in an astonished, OMG! WTF? reaction, summed up best by the Livejournal poster who offered a pithy “Ew. Blood.”
[Click on photos to embiggen]
Of even greater interest is the comments at Broadsheet. Although I read Broadsheet every day, I usually skip the comments. (To borrow a term from Kate Harding, I find I can rarely spare the Sanity Watchers points). The overwhelming consensus of Broadsheet commenters was that OF COURSE it’s fake blood from the movie being filmed, because if it were a real period, no one would stand there looking so blasé while someone else cleaned her up. Apparently, if it were REAL blood, young Ms. Fanning would have run from the set to the nearest ladies room to plug it up, and not stood still for so many photographs, much less allow someone else to handle WetWipes duty.
Telling, no? It’s only OK for us to see this menstrual blood because it’s FAKE.