Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dignity. Period!

I was reading this blog post about the need for sanitary products in Zimbabwe.

The third comment down reads:

Perhaps, a wiser - for the women & for the Earth - option would be looking into reusable sanitary protection, such as a Keeper or a Diva Cup. For the cost of roughly three months of protection (if I’m reading the conversations correctly) a woman can get sanitary protection that will last for TEN YEARS without risk of infection.


The major problem with an item such as the Diva Cup is you need access to clean water to wash out the cup. Clean water is a luxury, despite the fact that we take it for granted. However, more important than the infeasibility of alternative sanitary protection is this: the women of Zimbabwe have asked for pads and tampons.

The day I see a progressive American argue against supplying a country like Zimbabwe with clean bandages because "it's better for the Earth" will the the day I renounce my feminist leanings and start filling my quiver.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of a Diva Cup but I already know I don't like it.

Can we first focus our recycling efforts on office waste before you start focusing on my vagina.

Hey I got an idea, If every women was dangerously underweight we wouldn't have periods and men would be spared from unsightly cellulite.

Or wait, lets come up with some reusable toilet paper idea. Then we could all carry around our own s*** rags.

Anonymous said...

If there's a shortage of clean water and the women of Zimbabwe are asking for tampons instead--something serious is very, very wrong.

Ann Thrope said...

The need for water does not obscure the need for a woman to be mobile, regardless of what point in her menstrual cycle she is at.

Show me where this is a zero sums game, water or tampons.

Ann Thrope said...

I should add that as of 2003 the CDC reported that nearly 25% of the adult population in Zimbabwe is HIV positive.

Somehow, passing out an item like a Diva Cup doesn't seem like such a great idea, regardless of the water issue. Seeing as the cup will: (a) come in contact with blood (b) can be reused and (c) can be shared.

And also, you're a coward for posting anonymously Mr. Livermore.

edluv said...

dang. you're ferocious. i'll make sure i'm always logged in when i post. of course, you'll already know that it's me by my bad humor.

Ann Thrope said...

Don't worry about it Ed, your allergy to the shift key will always tip me off =)

Monticore said...

Oh my grammar and spelling disability will always tip you off. As well as my opinionated views on feminine hygiene. The first post was mine.

Mr. Livermore said...

You know what, the need for water does trump the need for women to be mobile during the most debilitating part of their menstrual cycle. It also trumps the need for HIV treatments, grain shipments, preventative health care and such. This is because the lack of water will kill a person, and will do so pretty fucking quickly.

And the zero-sum:
One can infer a certain maximal limit to the gross tonnage of international support any particular country recieves, dictated by such particulars as available donated merchant shipping capacity, distribution infrastructure (roads and ports), donnor investment (cash), and volunteer efforts. If, as was implied, there's a lack of water to satisfy simple sanitary needs, one would be wise to commit the preponderance of one's support to shipping water (or establishing water projects and such), certainly in preference to sanitary napkins. I mean, human-kind has endured menstruation without tampons for a million years without serious consequences (including the spread of disease). I'm confident that for a million years we did not endure without potable water.

Regardless, objecting to a 'Diva Cup' because of a lack of sanitation in a particular country seems a somewhat problematic position. Zimbabwe would be better served by increasing the level of sanitation and clean water capacity in their country (which would provide a legion of tertiary benefits), than to receiving a few hundred metric tons of tampons. Of course, if Zimbabwe can do both, it should do both.

But Zimbabwe should keep its priorities straight--and Americans should recognize that Clean Water is not a luxury, and in fact, tampons are.

Ann Thrope said...

Mr. Livermore -

You know what, the need for water does trump the need for women to be mobile during the most debilitating part of their menstrual cycle.

The need for potable water, as that is the only lack of water that will kill you quickly.

A lack of water to wash out a Diva Cup will not kill you.

It also trumps the need for HIV treatments...This is because the lack of water will kill a person, and will do so pretty fucking quickly.

The average lifespan of a women in Zimbabwe is 37. This is not due to lack of water, this is due to HIV.

One can infer a certain maximal limit to the gross tonnage of international support any particular country recieves, dictated by such particulars as available donated merchant shipping capacity, distribution infrastructure (roads and ports), donnor investment (cash), and volunteer efforts.

The woman who began the effort is from Zimbabwe. She saw a need for tampons and has decided to campeign for it. As far as I am concerned, if she is from Zimbabwe and I am from America, it is not my place to tell her that she cannot have tampons because water is more important.

Further more, my understanding is that she is seeking a way to being producing sanitary products within Zimbabwe.

I mean, human-kind has endured menstruation without tampons for a million years without serious consequences (including the spread of disease).

Absolutely, except that we do not live a million years ago we live now. There are many modern inventions and discoveries that allow us not to be impeded by our physical frailties. Tampons happen to be one of them.

Zimbabwe would be better served by increasing the level of sanitation and clean water capacity in their country (which would provide a legion of tertiary benefits)

I agree, and I believe that women can be a large part of the workforce that will to this. However, it is difficult to tap into the full potential of this workforce if women cannot leave their home for a forth of every month.

But Zimbabwe should keep its priorities straight--and Americans should recognize that Clean Water is not a luxury, and in fact, tampons are.

If by luxury you mean something required for immediate survival than yes, tampons are a luxury. However they are still a need and I refuse to believe that if we cannot fully address one need we must ignore all others.