Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Curse---A Female Blessing

First off, those of you who only know me sort of and don't want TMI about me, stop reading now (NATE!) although, I think these are good things to think about, and if you can stomach it, you SHOULD keep going...

Today's blessing is the American woman's access to an ABUNDANCE of feminine products at a relatively low cost.

Not only can we choose pads or tampons, but we can choose wings or no wings, light or extra absorbancy (men, I behoove you to stroll down the feminine products aisle at any store and just take in the mind-boggling choices. As my dear, sweet husband can attest (thanks, Honey!) attempting to select the right product (especially when you have a list!) is enough to send a person into toxic shock (ha ha, that was a girl joke)).

Anyway, not only can we choose pads or tampons, but also wings or no wings, light or extra absorbancy, mini, regular, long, super-long AND all these things are disposable and they stick right into your undies! Oh, the hassle for our grandmothers with belts and other doo-dads I really know nothing about.

And did I mention that if you have issues with dioxins (which I do) ---FYI: dioxins come from the bleaching process of the paper--- then you can purchase organic products (for a lot more money, of course)

And if you have issues with filling landfills with all this jazz (which I do) then you can purchase reusable products---cotton, flannel, fleece, organic or not, all with the same choices: wings or not, mini, long, super.

AND, there are those nifty (Nate, look away) little cups for collecting your menstrual blood.

Can you even fathom how very many choices this is?

Here is a funny aside....when I was 10, I was, of course, fascinated with the whole idea of becoming a woman, blah, blah. And I had a best friend the same age with whom I shared what information I had and she shared back.

One day, we had the bright idea to check out what products were available to us, so we started a collection. She went through her bathrooms and I went through ours and we came together with a sample of each of the products we'd found. A couple of different pads, 2 or 3 brands of tampons. And we put them in a shoebox under my bed. Each time either of us visited a house anywhere, while in their powder room, we'd shoplift a sample for our collection.

Well, after about 2 months of this, I began to have nightmares about my mom finding our box and me being humiliated (I'm over that, as you can tell, since I'm sharing the story with the world-wide web). So I hatched a plan one Saturday morning to be rid of the evidence.

Here is where the logic goes all fuzzy. I tiptoed into my mom's room, WOKE her (about 7 am on a Saturday) to let her know I was going to take out the garbage. I always was a really GOOD kid. Trustworthy, responsible. Honest.

After a couple of blinks in the sunlight, her mom-radar kicked in and she was fully awake. WHY exactly was I taking out the garbage? (not normally my job, especially at 7 am on a Saturday).

Uh. Um. Yeah. Out came the whole story and the shoebox and my secret was out. I don't remember exactly what happened, but I'm sure it was all my mom could do to hold back gales of laughter. That's where I'd be, anyway, if it were one of my kids. (MOM, do you even remember this? Betcha $10 you don't)

Where was I? Oh, the myriad of choices for American women. You knew this had to be going somewhere, right?

I'll let them explain it as they can do best, but here is an organization looking out for young girls in Africa. You see, these girls face all sorts of obstacles to getting an education, and once they are older, one of them happens to be their period. I was impressed by Goods4Girls in that they are careful to make sure that girls who receive the reusable products have access to water for washing them and instructions for using them properly.

It's such an American we'll-fix-it-for-you attitude to dump a bunch of what-works-for-us onto people who don't have the knowledge, resources, money, etc. to make it work for them.(don't get me started on baby formula)

But this group is thinking about that and they aren't just giving people in a drought-stricken, AIDS-ridden area washable pads and saying, "Have at it. Have a good life now."

If you bum around on their site, you'll come upon LunaPads, which is where I shop. If you're looking for reusable products, this is a great site. I've been thrilled with everything I've ordered here and their customer service is top-notch.

LunaPads has also put together a kit you can donate to Goods4Girls if you want to be more specific than just donating cash.

And thank you, Father, for the freedom, the financial resources, the big business capitalistic greed that provides me with so many, many choices so that what many consider a curse, can even be a blessing in my life.


PS: If you are looking closer to home, every time you visit Target to purchase your monthly supplies, throw an extra package in your cart to donate to your local food pantry. You might not think about it, but even in this country, the curse is truly a curse and a source of panic for some women.

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