On Sunday evening, I sat down to catch up on some work after a fun week off. I briefly took a break to browse Facebook and was definitely not expecting to uncover what came next. A new business (if you can call it that) came to my attention, one that sells menstrual products. As somebody who frequently writes about menstrual matters and tries to promote period positivity, I was of course intrigued. I love seeing this topic become more mainstream and I’m all for more products being out there. Except for this one.
I don’t even know where to begin with this as there is a lot to unpack. Basically, Dr. Daniel Dopps (I have no idea what he’s a doctor in) has patented a way for women to ‘stop menstrual leaking’. That’s right! A man, who clearly has no understanding of how vaginas or periods work, has come up with a product that essentially glues your vulva together. Pour yourself some tea, grab a snack, and let’s go over everything that is wrong with this product. Because apparently we still need to be having this conversation.
They clearly do not know how periods work
Mensez want us to essentially glue our vulvas shut to avoid leakage. They claim that their product is ‘healthy’ and ‘safe’ because ‘blood stays inside where it should be’. You do realise that’s not how periods work, right? I understand not everyone enjoys having a period, and that’s fine, but menstruation is healthy. Think of your period as a monthly health report card, you can learn a lot from it. My cycle is essential in helping me learn, plan and make choices that centre around my mental health. Why would I want to stop it? I digress..
Menstrual blood isn’t just ‘blood’. It’s a mixture of dead and dying endometrium (ever get brown discharge? it’s your vagina emptying out old cells), mucus and blood. In short, your period is when your body releases tissues it no longer needs. Every month or so (depending on your cycle), the uterus lining gets thicker in order to prepare for a fertilized egg. If the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining is released. Blood doesn’t need to stay inside, in fact that’s pretty dangerous. Not only does the company fail to acknowledge they have no understanding of the menstrual cycle, there is also absolutely no mention of the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) either.
They’re obviously in dire need of anatomy education
In addition to not knowing how periods work, it’s clear this guy doesn’t know how vaginas work either. First of all, a labia do not completely cover the vaginal opening. They’re usually slightly above and they also come in all shapes and sizes. Vaginas are frequently contracting, sometimes we don’t even know they’re doing it. Gluing it shut would not only be dangerous and unsanitary, it would also be extremely painful. Closing up a vagina would create an imbalance as it contains both good and bad bacteria. I dread to think what would happen if you created such an environment, it’s important to remember the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Lastly, we don’t urinate through our vaginas! How many fucking times does it need to be said? We can’t plug tampons into our bladders and we definitely shouldn’t be gluing our vuvlas shut. It’s not just a drop of blood we are talking about here, it’s a whole red sea. Imagine ‘blocking’ this for an entire day? Hell, an hours worth would be terrifying enough!
Mensez are contributing to stigma we are fighting so hard to erase
Whether this product gets made or not, it’s part of a much larger issue. The literature that accompanies this product and all the reasons they believe they need to make it all stem from one thing: a disgust towards menstruation and women who have periods. You only need to take one look at the founder’s response to somebody on a now deleted Facebook page and you’ll see this. Their website states their goal is ‘to better the lives of women around the world’, by you know gluing your labia shut…
On top of that, this is yet another company that assumes only women menstruate. I am really tired of seeing brands use such careless language and alienate transgender people in the process. Not everyone with a vagina is a woman and it’s not just women who menstruate.
The connotations are even worse
This product and ‘campaign’ is irresponsible in more ways than one. The most unsettling element to me is the fact that it makes me think of female genital mutilation (FGM). A procedure which has absolutely no health benefits and is a complete violation of human rights. An issue which is simply horrifying and something that is still happening in 2017. If you are trying to sell a product that supposedly makes women’s lives easier, this isn’t the connotation you want.
They completely disregard other menstrual products out there
The funniest part to me is their claim that women haven’t come up with a better solution than nappies. Please! There is wide range of alternatives out there and it’s getting better everyday. There’s cups, periods pants, re-usable cloth pads, period sponges, and even crotchet tampons for god’s sake.
Their social media is a complete joke and a lesson in how not to market yourself
Lastly, their social media presence has everyone questioning if this is a joke or not. Their Facebook page has been taken down and their website has been heavily edited since. However, a reader stated that the first time they glanced at their website, they were claiming to have a team of people involved. Despite this claim, there was just a stock photo of two other men and nobody had bothered to make up last names for them. The responses on the Facebook page were just outrageous and sexist, how is this man expecting to sell this product? Their Twitter account (which is now protected) is perhaps the most bizarre of all. I had a quick look at the page and it was full of poorly constructed tweets (the social media manager in me was cringing hard). For some reason, they have decided to rant about wind farms and kept using a Whitney Houston related hashtag. Very bizarre as neither of these things feel very on brand.
The product itself hasn’t even been finalised or sent to FDA for approval, so with any luck it won’t actually be available to buy. With the company deleting and protecting social media accounts, it looks like the back lash is having some effect too. One only can only hope they take this opportunity to actually educate themselves, but I’m not hopeful. Although this may have all been one big hoax, I just had to say something about it!
What are your thoughts on this? Let me know!