Why I am a crap feminist, Reason no. 134: Me and my Mooncup don’t get on
I’ve tried with this relationship, I really have. But I’m just not comfortable in it. Or rather, I’m just not comfortable when it’s in me.
This month I threw the towel in (as it were) and bought some tampons again. But this morning, in the bathroom, I found myself putting them to the back of the shelf, hid behind the Mooncup box. What’s all that about? Who uses our bathroom apart from me, my partner and our sons, half of whom don’t care what goes into my vagina (one would hope)? I don’t think my partner’s particularly bothered about no longer finding a mysterious rubber cup whizzing round the microwave steriliser. No, once again, it’s all about me. Me, me, me, me, me.
I ought to be able to use a Mooncup, for all of the following reasons:
1. First of all, it’s like a moral choice all feminists should make. It’s greener, and purchasing one doesn’t involve giving money to The Man, who is making money from all those nasty tampons which, if they don’t give me TSS, will at the very least contaminate the natural womanly juices within me. So total fail there.
2. Second, that nasty, misogynist ageist Tampax Pearl advertising campaign with mingy old Mother Nature being thwarted by nice, young skinny model girl who’s partying on with fit blokes because she’s shoved the correct sanitary product up her minge. I didn’t even buy Tampax Pearl this time, but I still feel I have (menstrual) blood on my hands. That campaign says something about what sanitary product manufacturers think about all of us who buy their wares. And what they think of menopausal women (hope I die before I get hot flushes, as us young ‘uns are meant to think).
3. Third, my failure to bond with the Mooncup suggests I have inappropriate issues with my body. Surely a proper feminist should be able to shove anything she likes up her cunt with ease. After all, it’s her body, her choice. By constantly fiddling about, trying to ensure I don’t have the end bit (which I have trimmed, thank you) poking into my most sensitive areas, I can’t help feeling I’m letting the side down. I ought to be able to just get on with it. It’s like my nether regions are railing against me with puritanical fervour. I’m sorry. We make allowances for the stronger sex and childbearing, but when it comes to menstrual cups, we are pure and virginal. So piss off, will you?
My absence of Mooncup proficiency seems to fit in alongside a general incompetence when it comes to using the Tools of Feminist Mother Earthdom. Take baby slings, for instance. Me, I’d have a Baby Bjorn with bells on if I could afford one. Instead, I’ve ended up settling for a Baby Bag. But when I was training to be a breastfeeding peer supporter, absolutely everyone else had these mega-simple, ultra-complex, one-piece-of-cloth-wrapped-around-a-million-times contraptions which you couldn’t buy in Mothercare. We even promoted and sold them alongside nursing bras and Gabriele Palmer’s The Politics of Breastfeeding. They were, like, the coolest accessory if you were serious about raising your child free from commercial interference. And hence I was totally crap at fitting my wriggling infant into one (but they’re so easy! have another try! yes, I know he’s gone blue and his legs are twisted round his neck, but you’ll get the hang of it, honest! Um, no). Come the feminist revolution, I’ll be such a liability. I just can’t handle the tools.
I am, however, good at the stuff that doesn’t involve physical instruments but which indicates that I don’t need any male-led interventions when it comes to handling my womanly bod. Breastfeeding? No probs. Natural childbirth? Hell, I had no.2 outdoors next to a Portakabin with no pain relief, so don’t give me no “too posh to push”. I rule when it comes to these things (of course, I’ve just basically been very, very lucky, but let’s pretend for a moment that it’s down to the fact that I’m at one with my femaleness and all those other women who have difficulties are just a bit useless, because that’s not misogynist at all …).
I am sure that next month I will attempt to get back on the Mooncup horse (which seems a fitting image, for reasons I can’t quite explain). It’s probably down to the fact that the Mooncup itself is a bit branded – a bit corporate now – and there’s probably a menstrual cup out there that only those in the know are using, but which I would get on with just fine. So I’ll keep looking, keep trying. But in the meantime, I know where that box of tampons is, even if no one else does.