Blood, Sweat and Tears

An article for the letter M (Menstruations) of the project “Feminism from A to Z” presented by Feminist Chapter.

I was beginning high school when my values and my understanding of my body started to change a lot. One of the results was that I was not feeling comfortable using pads anymore, mainly for environmental issues. So, I talked about my ideas with my mom and she said I should give a try to menstrual cups since all her colleagues at work were using them. At first, I was not really convinced, I associated them with tampons, which I had a couple of unpleasant experiences with. Hence, I was reticent about putting another thing in my vagina, especially since there were no “with applicator” versions of cups.

Not the Luneal menstruation cup

But mom’s words motivated me. I went for deeper research on cups to make a clear choice and finally, I found a cup that was quite unusual: the design was different from the ones I had seen before. No little stick to pull it out, no fancy color, it was transparent, and you had to press the bottom of the cup, with your thumb and forefinger, to let air enter and stop the “sucker effect” which was maintaining it in place.

For 20 euros or so I got this cup (the Luneal one) which was sold as “highly secured” (both in terms of health and tranquillity regarding the risks of overflowing). 

I was ready to give it a try. 

I am not going to lie to you saying the romance started right away, it has been a story of blood sweat and tears. Firstly, it was not intuitive at all, I did not even know exactly where the entry of my vagina was, I struggled to even find the hole to put it in. Then I learned how to fold it to insert it in my vagina, but I still had to figure out how it will unfold once it was in there. I had to turn it, but I didn’t know my vagina was curved and not straight, so I was maintaining the Cup in a very unnatural position while I should just have it following the inner lines of my body. Once, I even pushed the cup too far in depth and I started freaking out because I was not able to get it out with my fingers anymore! At some point I contracted my perineum (without knowing what it was) and I eventually was able to reach it. Then I was shaking, short of breath, not sure I wanted to ever try again. As you see, it has not been an easy-going story, there were a lot of things I did not know about my body. My vagina was still a mysterious place to be discovered little by little. It was surely a story of blood and sweat as I had to fight with my cup, and of tears, as a couple of times, I was about to give up.

But more than that, it was a journey of learning about my body: how it was functioning. I got to see what my period’s blood looked like, to see how much was coming out, in what form, what color. It gave me knowledge, it gave me power, it gave me tranquility.

Still not the Luneal one but an illustration of the victory

I was finally my own. I did not spend much time on the economic and ecological positive sides of using a cup, nor on the feeling of being comfortable and secure once tamed. All these sides are equally important in my decision to adopt it, but I particularly wanted to talk about the feeling of empowerment you have which is not often highlighted. Now it has been four years and for nothing on earth, I would go back to pads.

By Liliane Terver

Author: Le Dragon Déchaîné

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