Why Switch to Reusable Menstrual Products?

I'm prepping for the South Broad St Market this upcoming Saturday (Oct 8. 12p-6p) with The Peach Coven, an organization that regularly donate period products to homeless shelters in the Atlanta area, which means there are sanitary napkin cutouts, thread and fleece scraps all around my room. Not to mention a barely made bed, an abandoned yoga mat and dirty dishes. 

As I'm sealing together layers of remnant fabrics to make an item that will transform one woman's relationship with her menstrual cycle, I can't help but consider how much of an uphill battle it is for women to embrace their cycle experience.

On top of sewing menstrual pads this week, I also wrote a non-profit about an opportunity to teach a workshop on making reusable pads in lieu of disposable products in their swag bags. The obvious reason for this being that teaching them to make reusable pads would give them a lifetime supply of menstrual products versus disposables which can  run out an leave the young women with out the choice to attend school, play a sport, ride public transportation, etc.

After getting a not-so-great response, where a leading director of the organization responded with a 'YUK', and also deemed reusable pads 'OK' for other countries but not for the USA.

The first response in my head was: 1. Can we all take a mature approach to menstruating by using sophisticated language? 2. Why the double standard on menstrual pads? Are women in other countries less deserving and therefore suitable for reusables, or are women in America conditioned to be aloof to their own experience?

I had to kindly reply with the message below, but I thought it was very worth sharing here as well.

Happy menstruating!

Hello (NAME OMIT) and thank you for your response.

I can understand your concern about reusable menstrual pads. With disposable feminine product being the most popular choice on the market, it can be difficult to imagine an alternative practice.
Here's a few things to consider:
1. The popularity of disposable menstrual pads wasn't created out of fear of sanitation, but rather convenience for nurses in World War, who found the bandage for wounded soldiers, more absorbent and convenient in comparison to cotton options.
2. Yes, the reusable pads requires an extra step which is putting them in the washing machine, but for those of us who already wash our clothes, cleaning the pads can become a part of an already existing chore. This is opportunity to teach the girls about how convenience is making humanity more irresponsible towards the planet.
3. We can teach the young women that taking the extra step is worth the commitment to a cleaner, more stable and abundant planet for future generations. And teach them how to power themselves to talk confidently about the benefits of reusable pads.
4. There is an entire community of women here in the US. Women are sharing free patterns on major social platforms, hosting forums to answer questions and troubleshoot, and websites dedicated to review the many brands out there. It's a beautiful and expressive community, one that the teenage women with (ORG NAME OMIT) would love.
5. Since the 1970s there has been a growing number of women that have switched to reusable for financial, environmental, health and comfort reasons.
I hope this is helpful for you as you consider if the teenage women at (ORG NAME OMIT) should be exposed to alternative menstrual pads. These young women are brilliant, curious, strong and wise enough to accept.
Thank you for reading.
Peace from the Fort,
Anamarie Shreeves


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