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The Period Product No One Asked For

By: Elizabeth Woodhall

There’s always going to be a male to explain everything that a female already knows. 

Recently, a German team consisting of two men, Eugen Raimkulow and Andre Ritterswurden, came out with a period product that is meant to make the female experience much easier in the eyes of men. They presented this product on a German television show, where a businessman, Ralf Dummel, invested 30,000 euros. Now, it’s baffling that they were able to gain so much funding and successfully launch the product without stopping to think for one second about what someone who has a period would think about this. 

The invention Is called “Pinky Gloves”, a pair of gloves to remove a sanitary product, such as a tampon or pad, that can then be used to discreetly dispose of them and use these gloves as a disposal bag. This product retails for $14.31 for a pack of 48 gloves. Now, I don’t want to speak for every person who’s had a period, but I’ve never needed the assistance of gloves to remove either my pads or tampons. Not only this but spending a great amount of money on something that I do for free every month sounds very wasteful. Such as the pink tax, which stated by Listen Money To not just my wallet, but for the environment.  Not to mention the current environmental friendly period products, such as the period cup, that exist as well that does not fit into the agenda of “disposing of products.” They have created a solution to a problem that does not even exist, by creating more waste for a product that already produces waste on it’s own.  

You may wonder what’s so bad about this product, “If you don’t want it, don’t buy it!” Well, this invention is deeply rooted in the stigmatization of the menstrual cycle. It implies that having to dispose of something that occurs several times a month is “gross”, despite it being a biological process that half of the population experience on a regular basis. Not only this, but the fact that the gloves are used as a kind of discreet disposal bag so that other people do not know you’re on your period is harmful on its own. It feeds into the idea that periods are something that should be kept from the public eye. It not only lets young people with periods know that what they’re experiencing is “gross”, but it once again reminds society that periods are not meant to be spoken about. It also makes it seem as though there is a proper way to dispose of pads and tampons: discreetly. 

See, if anyone uses this product, then they’d be using an entire box consisting of 48 packs of plastic gloves. It’s extremely environmentally unfriendly and shows us how capitalism continues to thrive off these expectations and norms that exist, whether it be the dieting industry or the beauty industry. The industries once again thrive off of the same insecurities that they created.  Now, the period industry. As stated on twitter by handle @DrJenGunter, “Every day there is another useless product for the vagina. Every. Damn. Day.” As if paying for sanitary products that are a necessity wasn’t enough, now we are expected to dispose of these products discreetly so as to not upset men. 

In response to the criticism, the team claimed that they had personally lived with women since they were married. From their experiences as the malepartner of a female, they came across the period products and said that they smelled unpleasant so therefore they should be disposed of in another bag separate from the one already in the garbage bin. 

Menstruation is a biological process that’s experienced by half of the world’s population and yet “period” is still considered a dirty word. There are keywords used for it that minimize its importance, merely reduced to a kind of an inside joke between society and women. Growing up, I was told to keep it a secret because boys would behave differently around me. They did, too, making comments of how not to approach me because it was “that time of the month again.” That It was meant to be a secret between just women, and yet I couldn’t remember a time growing up when I could talk about my period with other women in my family without feeling shame for it. It became a topic that I had slowly become conditioned to not speak of with anyone else. It can be a very isolating thing when you realize that almost half of this world experiences this same biological function and yet you’ve never been able to fully talk about it without feeling as if you’ve spoken about something that’s “dirty.”

Having a menstrual cycle should not ever be considered a dirty thing, nor should a society shame someone for speaking about it openly. It is because of ideas that males like these hold that cast shame on people who menstruate to even feel comfortable in a time that brings so much discomfort. Periods should not be a topic that’s silently talked about amongst people who menstruate, but rather for people who do not menstruate to educate themselves on this completely normal biological process that half of the population experiences. No one should ever feel shamed for this natural process. Instead of coming up with products that could make this experience better for men, how about work towards making pads and tampons accessible so that having a period is not a luxury instead.