Pink Glove

About a week before my period starts I eat all the time. All jokes aside, 90% of the day, my mouth is busy. Forget the typical breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule. 24/7 is more like it. And it is the one time my taste buds crave sugar and anything sweet. Typically I’m a salty, spicy type of girl but that specific week, I crave donuts and cake and cookies and of course, chocolate.

This month was no different. The past couple of days no pastry has been spared. The downside of this is the guilt that creeps in. Guilt, not because the food choices I am making could be better but guilt because I have no portion control.

So, yesterday in the middle of one of my pastry-eating moments, I came across an article about a Germany-based company called Pinky Gloves, who claim to have found the ‘solution’ to tampon disposal. Their rationale is that no one should be subjected to seeing menstrual blood ever.

Apparently, menstruators are ‘encouraged’ to wear the glove while removing a tampon or pad and then fold the contents into the glove before disposal. The Huffington Post described it as a dog poo bag for people who have periods.

Two of the founders, who used to be in the army, apparently came up with this idea after they moved into a “women’s flat” and realised that there was no good solution for sanitary wear disposal. And so they thought covering it in plastic was it?

Side note: What is a women’s flat? Is it one where all occupants are women? If so, how did they get to be tenants? What happened in their living situation that led them to deduce that tampon disposal was a problem? I have so many questions!

As a menstruator, this baffles me. How did this idea go through the research and development process, and get to production and marketing with not at least one person thinking of the consequences? It goes without saying that the founders were clearly not people who have experienced a period because that kind of period shaming is on a whole other level! Clearly you were not thinking about the end-user when designing this product. At the very least show that you care about the environment and not contribute to pollution by not making it plastic!

It already disrupts my life when I get my period; why would you want to make me feel even worse? I have already mentioned how my eating habits are borderline uncontrollable a week before my period starts and it only goes downhill from there.

The numbing backache feels like I collided with an elephant, and yet these guys thought, “Mmmh, a glove to help you dispose of your product is it! Let’s make it pink, that should make it a better experience for you.”
I get into bed looking forward to blissful sleep only to wake up with the most painful cramps, like my uterus is trying to kill me and all these guys thought was, “Hmmm, let’s help you not see blood. Here’s a glove.”

Forget the sharp stabbing pains in my vagina. Also, what’s up with that!!! Can someone explain it to me, is this normal? Yet, three guys thought, “Plastic is the solution. And make it pink.”

Let’s not forget the good underwear ruined with blood stains. Why does this only seem to happen when I have good underwear on? Maybe my cycle started early, or I did not make it to the bathroom in good time. Maybe my period got triggered by a sudden change in weather patterns and I was caught unprepared. “Ah! C’mon, here’s a pink glove, this should make it all better.”

The contraceptive I am on keeps me from getting pregnant but it makes me bloated and gives me acne and it makes my flow heavier and generally puts me in a foul mood. “Don’t worry! You no longer have to worry about washing hands after changing your tampon. Better yet, you don’t need to see the blood! See, this pink plastic glove makes it all better.”

How about that month my period has decided to take its time? The period calendar on my phone is sending me reminders but my body has its own timing. Has your period started today? Tap here if your period has started. But where is my period?Not here!!!! Is something wrong? Could I be sick? Am I pregnant??? I start doing mental math for when it was I last had unprotected sex. And these guys thought, “Buy this box. See, it’s pink, and so are the gloves inside.”

And how can I not mention the emotional roller coaster that comes with my period? I don’t know about y’all but I get to experience all manner of emotions, from extreme sadness to anger and I am super irritable, all with no provocation whatsoever. It makes life a bit difficult for the people around me. So to think that all these guys could do was make us a bunch of pink plastic gloves. Pish posh!

A period is 3-5 days a month, every month, if one is lucky. There are menstruators who are not so lucky. Underlying medical conditions that make the cycle shorter, longer irregular, debilitating, stressful or uncomfortable. “Worry not, we got you covered! Just use these pink gloves.”

On a personal level, this really angered me. And one may argue they were trying to find a solution for disposal etc. From the looks of it, no menstruator was consulted in the process because if they did, they would have realised that first and foremost plastic and our nether regions need not be in the same sentence. A few key manufacturers of sanitary products have been working to make plastic-free solutions.

Have you tried unwrapping a sweet quietly? I tried to imagine being in a public bathroom and unwrapping that glove and the resulting cacophony in that bathroom stall, announcing to whoever is close by that you are on your period. This is not something that all menstruators are comfortable with. I tried to imagine the mindset of the person in that bathroom stall. First the sound of unwrapping your sanitary product, then unwrapping and using the glove, then folding it up, then opening the pad bin and dunking it in. All that kshskshksssh sound of paper and plastic. Personally, I would walk out of the bathroom stall with my head held high, but don’t let my privilege blind you. That in itself is an act of rebellion towards period-shaming. We are not all there yet.

Some communities have been cultured to think that the period is unclean, is ugly and should be kept private. In some communities one is even cast out of the general population and kept in seclusion during the duration of menstruation. Some of us are still in the process of mentally trying to emancipate ourselves from these structures. My personal opinion, a product like this reinforces period shaming and stigma. It sets us back.

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