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Am I imagining this? Sanpro/nappy question.

(45 Posts)
FlyMeToTheMooncup Sat 30-Jul-11 08:01:00

Thought this would be a good chance to try out my namechange grin

I've been thinking about switching to reusable sanpro for a while, and have been amazed at many people's reactions. 9 out of 10 (ish) people are shock and "euwwww", even those who have (a) heard of it already and/or (b) are perfectly open and unphased by periods. Same with washable breastpads, which I used with both my DCs as they were so comfy.

However, washable nappies are pretty mainstream now, fashionable even. Even when people I've spoken to would prefer to use disposables (which we do now, washables just didn't work with DC2) they've not been phased by the idea of them. Most aren't weirded out by the idea of second hand nappies either.

Now I'm not saying poo and menstrual blood/breastmilk are the same exactly, but they are all natural healthy bodily products. So why (IME at least) is there this difference? Is it just a matter of time? Washable nappies in their fancy modern form have been around a while and have gained status thanks to environmental reasons, their use is seen as positive and Doing Your Bit to save the planet. Maybe it's just that washable pads/mooncups etc haven't been available in mainstream shops until relatively recently, so they just have to catch up to become accepted?

Or is there more to it than that? I'm very new to feminism but this has bugged me for a while. Would appreciate your thoughts. smile

buzzsore Sat 30-Jul-11 08:59:13

I think there's more to it than that.

Menstruation is just loaded with taboo. Babies are cute, while women are strange and 'dirty'. Some religions have women on the period as 'unclean' and I think that plays into psychology of it somewhere.

buzzsore Sat 30-Jul-11 08:59:26


rainbowtoenails Sat 30-Jul-11 16:29:27

Imo a lot of women arent comfortable about touching their vaginas. I know ppl who use pads rather than tampons for this reason.

tawrag Sat 30-Jul-11 16:54:26

A lot of women are very impractical and wouldn't be able to deal with the emptying, cleaning, re-inserting without getting themselves in a tizzy. Public toilets! Argh! Panic!

I used to carry a bottle of water for rinsing. You can also hold it under the flushing water of the loo. Don't screech; it comes straight from the mains.

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 30-Jul-11 20:08:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FlyMeToTheMooncup Sat 30-Jul-11 20:19:39

Yes buzzsore's idea is what I was pondering tbh.

violetwellies Sat 30-Jul-11 21:33:21

lMy mother as a young woman used cloth sanpro. It had to be washed out and dried. I felt she thought it was a humiliating chore, making public what she felt should be very private. It is this shame I think that is so deeply embedded that makes us want to throw away the evidence of our flaws.

limitlessclutter Sat 30-Jul-11 21:52:19

I don't think it's just about shame or taboo, or inconvenience, although all those are true. For people of my mother's generation and a bit older, effective disposable sanpro was mighty liberating. It freed women from a whole tranche of unpleasant 'personal' housework, made going out and about less stressful etc. Just as those ideas of shame and taboo get passed along, I think that ideas about freedom and liberation do as well.

(Tawrag, by the way, I, for instance, don't use a mooncup because it caused me to develop a UTI, not because I might 'get in a tizzy'. No doubt this kind of thing is true for others too. And rinsing it in a toilet is surely risky - have you ever looked under the rim in a public loo?)

onepieceofcremeegg Sat 30-Jul-11 21:59:13

I think buzzsore's initial post is absolutely correct.

I am not really comfortable talking about menstruation apart from with a couple of very close female friends. However I was brought up by my dad and the whole issue was embarrassing/horrible etc.

I am quite down to earth generally, so I think it is my upbringing that makes me reluctant to discuss it.

It is interesting to read different women's reactions to sanpro. I recall a thread where someone was desperately embarrassed about how to get rid of pads when visiting a close female friend. Couldn't bear to dispose of them in bathroom bin etc. Other women flush tampons because it seems "cleaner"/easier despite being informed of this not being great for the sewage system.

Oh and yes, the water that flushes the toilet does come from the mains, however prior to someone dunking a mooncup (or anything else under it) it is swirled round the toilet bowl which will not be clean.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 30-Jul-11 22:05:46

I don't know why people have a problem with it.

I use washable pads. I can't use tampons or disposable pads because they make me ill (sick, dizzy, diahrroea, high temperature) and I don't fancy sticking a sink plunger up the old girl.

I've got no problem with giving them a hand wash before putting them in the machine. It's just womb lining. <shrug>

I think it's a shame that women have been brainwashed into believing there is something wrong with menstruation. That it makes us dirty in some way hmm That the blood that comes out of us is shameful hmm

limitlessclutter Sat 30-Jul-11 22:15:07

I don't think it is uniquely about menstruation though, although that is a strong taboo. As we grow into adults society encourages us to stop talking about many bodily functions.

Just a thought experiment: imagine posting now in AIBU asking what people think about using washable flannels instead of toilet paper? You'd pop them in a lidded bucket, then rinse them out and wash them in the machine. You'd hang them on the line to dry. They'd be a special design and colour so that all your neighbours would know what they were. Would the reaction be any different to discussing reusable sanpro? I don't think it would be and I think the same objections (disgust and inconvenience) would be raised.

We tolerate the emissions (of all kinds) of babies and small children because they are helpless and we care for them; once you're a adult though, society says you've got to look out for yourself. Hence there also being such a visceral horror about caring for the elderly and disabled.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 30-Jul-11 22:22:05

See, I think washable stuff for your arse would be a great idea! Surely far more environmentally friendly and get you cleaner than dry paper?

limitlessclutter Sat 30-Jul-11 22:24:41

And indeed it might be (and probably much nicer too!) but I bet you'd have just as hard a time 'selling' it.*

I'm not at all saying that the taboo around menstruation isn't a huge thing - I just don't think it's the whole answer in this question.

*And of course, who would do the washing? Everyone in the house, or just Mummy? hmm

uninspired Sat 30-Jul-11 22:37:47

My Mum thought I was crazy when I told her I had switched to reusable san pro - mooncup plus washable pads for heavy days / nights. She grew up in rural Ireland having to deal with washing hers etc and thought the idea of disposable san pro was amazing. She did attend a convent boarding school and the nuns treated menstruation as a disgusting thing to be hushed up.

I still can't figure out why menstruation is such a big taboo though, even now I live in fear of being caught out wearing white, yet surely even if I did, then anyone who saw a blood stain should in theory have no cause to recoil in horror,yet I would be mortified and am not sure why.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sat 30-Jul-11 22:39:22

I actually just googled it. It seems there are a lot of people doing it! Washable toilet rags instead of paper.

But yes, I can imagine that marketing it would require some pretty fast talking grin

tawrag Sun 31-Jul-11 08:04:24

Thanks for your comment, SGmom. Actually, I only did the loo flush water thingy at home, now I think about it. Took a bottle of water when out, and tissues. After the loo flush thing I rinsed the mooncup under the tap as well.

whomovedmychocolate Sun 31-Jul-11 08:21:17

Well I think it's about control actually. When I have my period I feel pretty weak and wussy. Perhaps it's the blood loss, the pain, I dunno. Disposable san pro means I can deal with it and know I'm in control and I have less faith in non-disposable things. And also, frankly, I don't want the reminder of having to drag out the same piece of rubber every month and shove it up my foof.

Periods can be quite disempowering IME - you can't wear what you like, you can't do what you like - despite the Tampax adverts - and anything that allows me to cease control back is good.

<perches on super extra plus night time will hold back tsunami type towel>

Also reusable toileting rags, again you have to commit to them, you have to say 'on a daily basis I will personally handle my own and other people's shit.' and that's a step too far for most people.

NomNomNom Sun 31-Jul-11 16:34:14

Tawrag - "A lot of women are very impractical and wouldn't be able to deal with the emptying, cleaning, re-inserting without getting themselves in a tizzy. Public toilets! Argh! Panic!"

- Seriously??!! I thought this was the Feminism topic!! Did you have a quick rummage in the crappy-demeaning-stereotypes-hat and that's what came up?

Isn't this precisely what feminists try to combat? Generalisations, portraying women as impractical and prone to confusion and panic? Outrageous!

(Unless you were being ironic. In which case please excuse me for being dense.)

tawrag Sun 31-Jul-11 17:42:16

Nomnom, I was trying to follow the 'tone' of the OP and the mention of eeeuw, or however she put it. Also being ironic. Also bearing in mind that it is still a bit taboo. Also just being argumentative. Will that do?

Some people have mentioned good reasons for not using a moon cup. I've also come across people (not necessarily on MN) who express disgust at the very idea. And then there are the practical types who don't find it a bother or a problem but actually quite a good idea. Takes all sorts. I don't really see what feminism has to do with it. It's more biological, isn't it, and how to cope in the best possible way?

TheCrackFox Sun 31-Jul-11 17:55:47

Before tampons/sanitary pads were invented the washing of rags was a massive chore which the vast majority of women were glad to give up.

When men start using reusable rags to wipe their arses (won't happen) then I will use washable SP.

BertieBotts Sun 31-Jul-11 17:56:55

I've found my mooncup has helped me gain a lot of control back, actually. I can wear white trousers or skirts confidently, and I generally forget I'm wearing it and just feel.. less like I'm on my period. Sometimes I even put it in when I think I'm due on, so I don't even need to pay that much attention to what time of the month it is. I think of it as the extra bladder nature should have given us.

I generally think that disposable sanitary protection is pretty bad, it's all full of chemical stuff which can't be great to be that close to you, really, and some of the reasons are ridiculous - I can understand the gels which make them absorbent, and man-made fibres which don't hold moisture next to the skin but bleaching agents - why does it need to be perfect white? I have read something about this being about how menstrual blood is considered "dirty" so we need sterile-looking things to deal with it, but I don't know how true that is. I also find they make me extremely sweaty (unbearably so in summer) and the mixture of sweat + blood seems to irritate, I don't know whether the chemical stuff is contributing to that or not, or whether I'm alone though. But I used to really really hate my period, hate sanitary towels, just absolutely dread it, and the few days afterwards when I'd still be sore.

I know I got a lot less squeamish about it post-birth when even the maternity pads were driving me absolutely insane, I saw the prefolds I'd been handed down for DS sitting in a box in the nursery one day when I was on the toilet and didn't hesitate, just folded it up and used that instead! It was gigantic but oh, god, the relief. I'd have switched to reusable san pro for that, even if I did have to hand wash them myself every time.

BertieBotts Sun 31-Jul-11 18:00:14

I read a post on a blog ages ago which was a passage from a feminist book, semi-autobiographical, I can't remember what book it was, but it talked about going into the supermarket and seeing an entire aisle dedicated to "women's hygiene", all these brands competing about how best to hide your period, etc, and those feminine hygeine wipes, sprays, special washes - there's an entire industry based around the fact that periods are "disgusting"! And have you ever seen a single product aimed at men specifically to clean their genitals?

buzzsore Sun 31-Jul-11 19:31:45

Disposable san-pro also tend to be too drying. And you can get scented ones and that's just bizarre and seems like a recipe for thrush & other lovely things. hmm

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Sun 31-Jul-11 19:36:10

When I think of some of the men I have 'known', Bertie, I sincerely wish there was such a product.

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