Not to brag, but I’m pretty proud of GladRags this year – we celebrated Menstrual Hygiene Day twice! By day, we were coffee-fueled cloth pad crusaders reaching out to curious college students. By night, we were period party hostesses with a Moon Cup in one hand and a mason jar of bubbly in the other.
We kicked off the day by setting up a table on the Portland State University campus. Our bright red tablecloth and Cuterus were hard to miss, but the big draw was our sign urging people to “ditch the disposables.” The concept was simple: trade in a disposable pad or tampon for a free color Pantyliner of your choice!
At events like this, we always get a range of reactions; some people are weirded out, others are confused and curious, and some are already super excited. I find it so rewarding to talk to everyone, no matter what their initial outlook. Chatting with people who already use GladRags or are eager to try them is such a verbal high-five (and yes, sometimes we actually high-five).
People who have never heard of GladRags or reusable menstrual products in general may start out skeptical, but whether they walk away with a sticker or with a brand-new Pantyliner, we know we’ve given them something important to think about. One highlight for me was the guy who wondered if he should pick up a Pantyliner for his girlfriend or whether it would be “crossing a line”. Needless to say, we all convinced him that it was a GREAT idea! Part of Menstrual Hygiene Day is trying to erase those negative lines that society has drawn and that many people find difficult to avoid or cross.
Our second celebration was at Palace, a local shop that carries clothing, jewelry, beauty products, and home accessories, whose atmosphere is both elegant and cozy. We got to display a selection of our wares alongside those of Portland Apothecary, who brought some of their great moon-time products like Bath Tea and Cramp Ease Herbal Extract. The party was a hit, and not just because we all got to roam around Palace sipping champagne and eating chocolate!
Tracy spoke about the importance of Menstrual Hygiene Day, highlighting the importance of breaking down the taboos surrounding women’s bodies. Many of us shared period stories (that we jotted down on pad-shaped notecards, of course), either from our own lives or passed along from friends. It was great to watch people get more and more comfortable with sharing their experiences, past misconceptions, and funny anecdotes.
I am honored to have been part of two wonderful events where we got to speak honestly about menstruation, our bodies, and what it means to open up and have these conversations. I hope that everyone we started a dialogue with on Menstrual Hygiene Day will be inspired to have similar norm-shaking, body-celebrating and lady-empowering conversations with people in their own lives!