This is a column about menstrual cups. If you are a father, husband, boyfriend, brother, friend, distant relative, co-worker, etc., of someone who menstruates, you may find this information helpful just from an empathy standpoint. Because guys who are understanding of menstruation are generally more cool than guys who just brush it off as “a woman’s thing.”
Remember guys: any female who does what you do, whether it is at work, at the gym, at any sports venue, on the battlefield, or anywhere in general, does it while bleeding at some point during the month. And she still does it. Just remember that.
On to menstrual cups. The Bureau of Women’s Affairs (full disclosure here: I happen to be the director) and Island Girl Power teamed up for Project Sottera, a female empowerment program. One component of Project Sottera is to erase the stigma of menstruation as a secretive or shameful thing. A female usually experiences “sottera” (the Chamorro word for when a young girl first starts her period) between the ages of 10 to 15 years old. And then every month (unless she is pregnant or nursing) until into her 40s, 50s, or for some unlucky females, even into their 60s.
According to the website www.organicup.com, the average female will use 11,000 disposable menstrual products (pads or tampons) in her lifetime. Multiply that by the number of menstruating females on the planet, and you can see the disposable product issue for the environment here.
Not to mention that pads and