Stop the Hippie Bullshit

I bet that got your attention! It certainly gets mine, as it does every day, when I see it scrawled on the walls where I sit down to pee.

A few months ago, someone placed stickers about the Mooncup in the stalls of the public washroom at work. It seems like washroom stalls always attract the most hilarious commentary. Here’s what some other women had to say: “this only works if you’re a slug,” “you’re loose” and “woof woof I’m a dog.” To be fair, let’s not overlook the comment that, while lacking the finesse of the former comments, has a certain amiable quality I’ve come to admire: “ladies, this is a silly thing to fight about.”

Because it IS silly to fight about… isn’t it? I can’t quite figure out what it is that offends these marker-wielding women the most about menstrual cups. Is it that:

  • They can be messy, loud, or awkward;
  • They force you to become familiar with your vagina; OR
  • A menstrual cup killed their father, and every time they see that sticker, they are reminded of their sworn oath to avenge his death?

Alls I know is that somebody out there considers this simple, environmentally-friendly and cheap alternative to tampons (a product that entails greater environmental waste, not to mention greater health risks for women) to be “hippie bullshit.” I guess my hippie brains just can’t understand the nuanced plea of this impassioned anonym.

17 thoughts on “Stop the Hippie Bullshit

  1. While laid with the best of intentions, I think the negativity actually may be all about the sticker. I’m not sure, but it seems like there are certain people who react to propaganda that doesn’t fit their slant on reality. For whatever reason the ladies with black markers don’t like the cup, I think they voiced their opinion only because the sticker was there.
    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most of the ladies of this blog are comfortable with their bodies, and talking about them. But is everyone? I know guys don’t sit around talking about our penises (not a lot, anyway), and certainly not in a hygiene context. I’m not saying we shouldn’t, but for whatever social reasons there are, we don’t. I know the Diva Cup and Keeper (we had a song about the Keeper in Katimavik,!) have been around for ages, but I think the general discomfort felt by people comes from lack of knowledge and exposure, coupled with that longstanding “we don’t talk about our naughty bits” attitude. How many products in the history of hygiene, particularly for women, have caused controversy? How many of those that caused it fifty years ago still have some of the stigmas attached?
    Sometimes humanity loves to drag it’s ignorance around with it for a while, and those with a particularly hard nose about an issue will never be shy to let you know their feelings in the confines of the bathroom stall.

  2. I can’t say it surprises me that these are the types of comments that appear in reaction to advertising menstrual hygiene alternatives in a public washroom. I think we need to consider that the advertisement could have been for candy filled unicorn giveaways and people would have had something obnoxious to say about it. That’s just the way of the washroom stall walls. Because I suppose, if you can’t voice your opinion with a sharpie in the privacy of a public stall, when can you?

    Of course, a large reason for the out-lash is definitely because this product is A) different (and change is bad), and B) so many people are just not comfortable exploring their bodies (like you said). I think the reason disposable options are so popular is because women can disconnect themselves from their bodies and their cycles. If you just just yank it out and toss it away, you barely have to acknowledge what is happening. The Diva cup forces you to think about your body, and how you impact the environment with the choices you make.

    Personally, as much as I love the environment, the huge selling factor for me is the price. I think a lot of women would be more open to make the switch if they realized how much money it’ll save them in the long run. And it’s a LOT.

  3. You guys both have really hit the cup on the stem. People’s attitudes, whether toward a menstrual cup or any other kind of alternative product, are inextricably linked to their behaviours. And the person who wrote the “hippie BS” comment obviously has a pretty disturbing attitude. It’s gotta have something to do with being uncomfortable with one’s body, or with doing something “out of the ordinary.” And maybe I just run with a lefty crowd, so we’re all shoving cups up there on a monthly basis, but I didn’t think it was so unusual to use them, or at least know about them.

    I guess the thing that gets my nickers all in a twist is that this comment simultaneously tries to deligitimate and silence this alternative. This isn’t surprising really, because if something offends us deeply, of course we’ll oppose it. But WHY the cup is so offensive, I just can’t seem to wrap my hippie brains around. The only legitimate concern I can see, as you’ve pointed out Krista, is the aversion to advertising. But then, wouldn’t it make more sense to write something like, “Stop the Corporate Bullshit”? Now that I could get behind.

  4. There is an interesting connection between these bathroom stalls commentaries and the trolling you see on feminist blogs, for instance. The vitriol could be caused by guilt or more simply the belief that “everything is okay and doesn’t need changing, so can it already.” Or maybe it’s a mish-mash of the two.

    These reactions to social change are common, even regarding something as benign as the Moon/Diva Cup. I agree with you Jan (and Krista and Andrew), it’s mind boggling and just too frustrating to watch. Maybe I’m giving the commenters too much credit. Have all these people spent time reflecting on the merits of the Moon Cup and come to the thoughtful conclusion of “stop the hippie bullshit” or is it a knee jerk reaction? I’d say the latter, but I’m a pretty biased test group.

  5. It’s crazy how many people seem to believe that “everything is okay and doesn’t need changing.” I’m not an advocate of change for changes sake, but if we can make things better – because no, everything isnot okay – then why wouldn’t we at least try? The world and its inhabitants will never be perfect, despite what Star Trek may have us believe, but it’s completely reasonable to assume that things could be better.

    It seems like thoughtfulness and responsibility take a vacation when people don’t attach their name to their words. There’s certainly freedom in anonymity, but it seems wasteful and downright terrible when people use that freedom just to create unnecessary conflict.

  6. But I’m sassy, flirty, gal on the go. I don’t see how a cup can give me the freedom to run through fields of flowers in white capris the same way that expensive, single-use hunks of bleached dioxin-y rayon and pesticide-y cotton do.

  7. “They can be messy, loud, or awkward;”

    Loud?
    That made me giggle a bit.

    On the serious side… I really think it is the aversion to advertising. Because, in one sense, you’re telling them what to use on/in their bodies. And I recall how some of you ladies can get when you see those damned commercials telling you that you’re not _______ enough, so buy this product. Essentially that person is reading that sticker as saying “You’re not environmentally friendly enough! You globe trashing, money wasting earth hater.”

    It would be an interesting social experiment to see the reaction to a sticker that said “In one year you spend $XXX.XX in tampons, pads, etc. The moon/diva costs $XX.99 and lasts X months/years.” I have a feeling it would be the same though.

  8. Yeah, that’s a really important point: how does information get out there without it being jammed down people’s throats? I am definitely not a fan of advertising, but I’m trying to think about better solutions to share information and “normalize” a product that is still (according to some) on the periphery of common usage. Word-of-mouth works, but there’s something quite powerful about the visual too.

    Depending on the context, I think advertising can be a means of sharing information OR manipulating people into buying stuff they don’t need. Maybe it’s not advertising itself that is terrible, but more so the push to sell things that a) aren’t necessary, b) aren’t good for you, c) are really expensive and d) rely upon damaging stereotypes. I think, in this instance, the Mooncup stickers aren’t doing any of those things.

    Or maybe I’ve been brainwashed by their advertising tactics?

    … All Glory to the Mooncup!

    • Darren, the loud comment made me laugh as well, but I was too conservative to risk mentioning it.

      Stickers in washrooms doesn’t seem like too pushy a tactic, and I think if we’re going to change the world we might need to risk offending people. Does any of us really believe we will all learn to live in total harmony? Maybe just thinking about how our comments or advertising affect people is enough; if we’re considerate as we move forward with good intentions, the percentage of angry marker wielders will probably be negligible.

  9. Hahaha. I love that I’ve put the image of a “loud” menstrual cup into your minds. Especially for those who have never heard what they sound like going in and/or out. It’s pretty funny. Way better than those silent tampons. Although, I do miss the tampon-wearing days of playing volleyball in white hotpants…

  10. First comment from Jess! Yay!

    I think it’s almost entirely a body issue. Since I started using a Diva Cup about 4 years ago, I have told various female friends about it. The ones that were really interested in it, or who were already using one, were women comfortable with their bodies (environmental awareness seems to have little impact). I’d even go so far as to say they were also comfortable with their sexuality.

    I feel that women who were uncomfortable or grossed out by the cup felt that periods are disgusting, just a terrible thing thrust upon women everywhere, but hopeful that SCIENCE will rescue us from this plague. I think these women are so convinced that having your period is a disgusting design flaw, they can’t open their minds to welcome a new idea. It seems no matter what I say, I can’t get them to even consider it as an option.

    What’s often interesting to me, is that since using the cup, I quite often forget I’m having my period altogether. I find it to be quicker and cleaner that pads and tampons. So I think it’s actually good for said women who want to forget they have periods altogether!

  11. Jess, yay is right! Thank you for your insights.

    I think it’s really important when considering these kinds of issues to establish the links between social attitudes and the environment (even when those attitudes have nothing to do with the environment). Though reduced waste may not be the reason women choose a menstrual cup, it’s still a pretty significant outcome. And for those who don’t even want to consider this alternative because they are disgusted by their own bodies functions? Well, this is why I think feminism and environmentalism go so well together.

    I hope to hear more from you! 🙂

  12. I have been interested in the whole diva cup thing but wanted to talk to someone who has used one first, I am excited to know so many people are using them! Pads/tampons are an insane waste of materials/money! I need more info from you ladies who use them!

    PS – I also giggled about the loud thing :$

  13. Jess, you make such a good point. You have to be really comfortable with yourself to do the necessary rooting around, but once you get the hang of it, the whole process is quicker and cleaner and much more forgettable.

    We’ll have to have a conversation soon, Cindy. Prepare to be bored out of your tree with odes to the cup.

  14. Yes, Cindy, prepare yourself to be overwhelmed with gory details of menstrual cup usage the next time we meet! In the meantime, Leah has a great link on her blog to a menstrual cup livejournal community, where I’m sure you (and any other curious peeps) will find lots of information on the subject: http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/

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