The Mooncup Ltd’s “Love Your Vagina” campaign — in which women share their pet names for their vagooches, va-jay-jays, and vajimuffins — is getting a lot of attention recently. Amy Winehouse’s has even joined in, revealing that she calls her vagina her “Va-Jew-Jew.” While I obviously support vagina-love, this campaign feels tired to me. (Or have I just been in the vagina-positive bubble for too long?) Either way, I just call mine “my vagina.”
What is interesting about this campaign, to me, is the product (and marketing campaign) behind it. The Mooncup is an alternative menstrual product, aka, an alternative to pads and tampons. I have been a huge advocate for the Mooncup (UK company), the Diva Cup, the Keeper, and the other Mooncup (US Company), for years and it is exciting to see one of these products begin to bridge the mainstream “lady” market. The unfortunate reality is that most people fear these products because they are unfamiliar, and because in order to use them, one has to get a little more familiar with one’s own vagina.
In reporting the breaking story of Amy Winehouse’s va-jew-jew, Heeb writer “StevenM” called the Mooncup, “possibly the grossest feminine hygiene product ever created.” This statement is absolutely, positively, supercalifragilisticexpialidociously WRONG, and I’m not sure why “StevenM” thinks he is in the position to offer judgement of the “grossness” of menstrual products. If you would like to know about the Mooncup, Diva Cup, or the Keeper, try listening to testimonials from women who actually use them. Like me.
I use the Keeper, which is essentially the same thing as the Mooncup except it is made out of all-natural gum rubber instead of silicone. I have been using mine for almost 6 years now (they last about 10), which means I haven’t spent money on menstrual products in 6 years. It is a reusable cup that you place inside your vagina, where it collects menses during your period. (I know it looks big, but you fold it in half when you insert it.) Once or twice a day, depending on your flow, you empty it out in the toilet or shower and put it back in. When your cycle is done, wash with soap and water and store it in a cloth bag. Is that really so scary?
I’m not one to use my blog to endorse products, but I see this as much more than that. First of all, I am not getting paid to write this, nor was I asked to by Mooncup Ltd. or any other company. I am writing this because these products offer a lot of benefits that enable and empower women to save money, be green, be active, be discrete, and be less gross while they have their periods. The Mooncup is not just another “feminine hygeine” product preying on women’s insecurities; it is a step towards liberation.
- It’s safer. Unlike tampons, menstrual cups carry no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). This means you can leave it in for as long as you want, and only worry about it once a day or once every two days. You can even wear it when you’re not having your period. Also, the Mooncup and Diva cup are made of medical-grade silicone and do not have the bleach, scents, or other chemicals found in tampons and pads.
- It’s economical. Keepers and Mooncups generally cost between 20 and 35 dollars and they last for 10 YEARS. You save literally hundreds of dollars on menstrual products each year by switching.
- It’s green. Menstrual cups do not generate waste, whereas tampons and pads create waste from packaging, applicators, and don’t forget the yucky used products.
- It’s discrete. With a menstrual cup, you will never have to awkwardly bring your purse to the bathroom with you again. Not only that, you wont have to leave a wadded up surprise in your friend’s bathroom trashcan – or risk clogging their toilet with your used tampon.
- You won’t be caught without a tampon. Since you can put your menstrual cup in ahead of time, you will already be wearing it when your period comes! This is perfect for camping, travelling, and all those other times when you don’t know when you’ll next have access to a bathroom.
- It’s comfortable. You can barely feel it in there. You will probably forget you even have your period. Also, you can say goodbye to that awful feeling of shoving dry cotton into your vagina.
- It doesn’t dry you out. Tampons absorb menstrual fluid and everything else, sometimes leaving you dry and uncomfortable inside. Menstrual cups do not; they fit over the cervix where they collect menses, but the rest of your vagina is free to go about business as usual. This means that the regular, non-period fluids act just the same as always.
- It’s clean. When people make the “gross” argument, I would take a moment to remind them how gross using tampons can be. (How many of you have gotten blood on the toilet seat or your hands?) Menstrual cups are much cleaner than that. The menses are contained INSIDE the cup, so the part you touch (the outside) is clean! Also, since the menses are contained within the cup – which works by creating an air-tight seal against your cervix – your vagina stays clean! So clean, in fact, that you could receive oral sex while you’re on your period. Yep. Believe it.
It’s important to realize why folks react to the idea of the menstrual cup the way they do. It’s because we are conditioned to think that it’s gross to touch our own vaginas, and to use a menstrual cup, you have to touch your own vagina. And unfortunately, that stigma is holding many women back from experiencing the physical and financial liberation offered by these products.
Mooncup Ltd. is right to recognize that their product actually is a way to “Love your vagina.” Let’s drown out the “ew, gross!” reactions with a loud chorus of vagina-loving voices.