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Anyone seen the Tampax commercials about their donation of supplies to help African girls continue their education? I'm torn on how I feel about it.
On the one hand, of course, it's wonderful: I'm completely in favour of young women being as educated as they want to be. And if this little thing makes that possible, then hurrah!
But...but...but...I'm also frustrated by the extension of that particular Western version of body-shame that says women must *only* use chlorine-bleached cotton fibres, with all kinds of useless plastic packaging, to mop up menstrual blood. It's how Tampax makes their money, of course: the cheap, environmentally-damaging bleaching processes to make sure the cotton is so pure pure white, because, y'know, you can't put *brown* cotton next to or into your vulva to be soaked with blood and goo. Gosh no.
Not to mention the other chemical residues left by various bleaching and softening processes...I just worry that we're introducing our own archaeo-Victorian version of body-shame, not eliminating the ones the girls already suffer from. Like we're saying, "Hey, silly Africans, *that's* not how to mistreat your women for having the temerity to be fertile - you should be mistreating them the way *we* do!"
I wonder if anyone's running a programme to ship Diva cups to Africa to help girls continue their education. If they're not, maybe we should start one? :)
-=-=- Post the second:
W00t! So at your encouragement, I just sent this e-mail to email@example.com. If you feel like adding your voice to it, please do.
Good morning. While I'm amenorrheic myself, and have been for years (so have never been able to try your product), I have a number of friends who use it regularly.
I wonder if you've seen the late commercial campaign by Tampax, which purports to be helping young women in some unnamed part of Africa to be maintaining their education, because apparently when the girls have their periods, they can't go to school.
I was musing in my blog this morning about whether this was a net good, as I wonder whether replacing their native version of body-shame with the version propagated by Tampax was much of a benefit: "Yes, you should be able to go to school, so here's some over-processed plastic-wrapped chlorine-bleached cotton to put into your vagina, that'll make it all better, and you can go on being ashamed of your body in a new and tidier way!"
So my friends and I began to muse about whether it might be a better plan to see whether your company could do a similar, but much more body-friendly, environmentally-conscious campaign. As I said, I have a number of friends who use your product constantly, and swear by it, and I recommend it without hesitation to anyone who asks.
I'm not sure how one would go about such a thing, or even what areas of Africa are being helped (the commercials are, as usual with Western interest in Africa, quite generic - oh, look, dark people and mud huts, must be Africa, as though there were no cities on the entire continent!). But my friends encouraged me to put the idea before you, and it seemed a good enough thought that I decided to take the time to write. I would bet that the kinds of women who are your customers would be pleased to contribute in some manner. I'd be glad to discuss the idea with someone, in phone or in person, as convenient.
Thank you for your time,
Cait (et c., address info appended)