Introducing: Menstrual Cups
What better way to say “Fuck the patriarchy” than by choosing a menstrual cup over more traditional feminine hygiene products?
In honor of the plain-speaking Chinese Olympian, Fu Yuanhui, who told a reporter that she was on her period when he asked about her visible abdominal distress, we want to talk about menstruation, too.
People who menstruate are sadly all too familiar with having our vaginas politicized. Unfortunately, with that comes the commodification of the same parts which we are told are dirty, unwanted (or, conversely, hyper-desired) and not ours to govern.
What better way to say “Fuck the patriarchy!” than by choosing something that you purchase once — from a large offering of brands, many of whom are owned by people who menstruate — and that doesn’t pollute the environment?
On top of that, you can save money by opting to purchase a reusable cup rather than tampons or a disposable cup every month.
Cups may be inserted before your period and will not cause uncomfortable dryness like tampons, which is a boon for those of us who don’t like pads and have difficult-to-track periods but still try to catch it before ruining a pair of panties.
Cups have more esoteric purposes as well.
For those in touch with the Divine Feminine, menstrual blood may be used for rituals — and cups make it easier to capture. If that’s too out there, let’s try something a bit more familiar to the masses: Ever hear of the Jesus and the Eucharist? If the words “hic est sanguis meus — this is the Chalice of my Blood” sound familiar, you, too, have partaken in a pagan blood ritual!
This widely practiced Christian rite is said to have started out as The Sacred Marriage, a feminine pagan ritual in which menstrual blood was consumed. Fun fact: that wine or grape juice that you have taken as a sacrament was once menstrual blood in other cultures.
Women and others who practiced this ritual to glean power from the blood were forced to stop once Christianity swept the land; the ceremony has lived on as the Eucharist.
Some of the most popular and well-known names of menstrual cups include:
The Diva Cup
The Eva Cup by Anigan
The Keeper/The Moon Cup (Keeper is natural “gum” latex/rubber and the Moon Cup is medical grade silicone, both produced by GladRags)
The Lily Cup
The Mooncup (not to be confused with The Moon Cup)
Choosing a cup can be daunting, but there are resources out there. Menstrual Cup Reviews is an amazing wealth of knowledge! I have yet to find anything more thorough.
Once you have your cup, there are a few upkeep tricks. First and foremost, rinse out the initial blood with cold water. After you have all of the traces of blood out, you can then rinse with hot water and your preferred cleanser, but an initial cold rinse helps prevent stains. Some folks boil their cup once a month, but if you take that route, boil it for less than five minutes to prevent damaging your cup.
Other methods of sanitization include vinegar and good ol’ sunshine for naturally bleaching out the stains on lighter-colored cups. It is recommended that you take a toothbrush to them (a separate one you use for cleaning, of course) with either baking soda or vinegar to loosen up any hard-to-budge stains.