Monthly Archives: November 2011
So a lot of you might we wondering why there’s a lack of updates lately, well, I gotta tell you with Christmas coming up soon, there’s a lot of work (at work) to be done! For those who didn’t know, I used to actually write most of my posts during (hehe) work. With people beginning to take time off here and there, I have to cover their position or role and thus, I haven’t had too much time to pull up MiM during work. However, another reason why (which is probably more important) is that I’ve been working closely with one of my readers trying to convince her to try a reusable product. A company has graciously offered a product to this reader and I’m hoping she will take up the offer and then I will be able to write a review with her on the product. I noticed I have quite a few new subscribers as well, so welcome to MiM and this downtime for me will give them some time to catch up on my prior entries. I can’t believe it that as of the end of this year, my blog will actually be TWO YEARS OLD already! When I made my blog, I could not imagine the numbers of hits I’d get, I thought this would be a “personal blog” with some of my own “period thoughts” and really, I didn’t know menstruation was really such a popular topic on the internet. After all, I guess because so many people consider menstruation a “taboo” topic in person, that it’s much more comfortable to talk about it online. Suffice to say, I find this topic as fun to talk about online as I do offline!
So once again, I have not disappeared or have given up my hopes to continue encouraging everyone to be open about menstruation, for those who can answer and for those who wish to ask questions. I am working closely with a sponsor and with one of my girls in hopes that we will be able to coordinate efforts to make a review for a reusable product! Many of my girls are resistant to trying them out and thus, I have a hard time finding reviewers who are willing to write an original review. And yes, after this long, I finally feel I need to give more credit to reusable products like menstrual cups and cloth pads, as they really are the way of the future. With so many things we regularly dispose in the garbage as it is, I should be on the forefront with supporting reusable products so that our future generations may inherit this earth in a usable shape as well and for millenniums to come.
So a short while ago, I was honoured with having an email-interview with Lunette, makers of menstrual cups, washes, wipes and creams for the feminine hygiene market!
Here’s a copy of the interview which can also be found on their site:
Any guys reading this? If so you are in luck because today we’re bringing you a guest interview from the other side of the fence: Prexus Swyftwynd the man behind the blog Men in Menstruation. Prexus started the blog in late 2009 and has been blogging on everything from PMS to menstrual product reviews. In the answers below, Prexus talks about the reactions to his blog, his own and those of his friends (both male and female).
What have you learned since starting the Men in Menstruation blog? Anything unexpected?
I have to shamefully admit that I’ve learned that women can have periods outside of a 30-35 day cycle and still be normal and healthy. I always considered the 30-35 day range to be “normal” because none of my girls or (ex)girlfriends ever fell outside of that range. I always had this assumption in my head that being outside of that range indicated something was wrong and that’s not true. My ex’s period was like clockwork: from the day she ended, I would already know when her next period would be and have chocolates and flowers ready. My current girlfriend also helped me change this assumption; she has almost a 4x day cycle, and it took me a while to get my head around this. I know that in books cycles outside of “average days” can still be normal, but what is read in books sometimes doesn’t sink in until you see it in reality.
Prior to my blog, I also didn’t know there were syndromes such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which make periods (or even throughout the cycle) a living hell. PCOS also affects people of all ages, so it isn’t one of those “old people” problems. Women with PCOS tend to be very open about their periods, perhaps because they’ve spent a lot of time talking to their doctor, family or even friends about it. I’ve had some very in-depth (and I’m always very grateful) discussions with PCOS-women about their periods, with no shame involved in the conversation. While I would absolutely not say I’d want a woman to have PCOS just so she’s open about periods, I’ve definitely seen a trend of openness for those who have it.
Through the blog, I’ve connected with many men and women who are enthusiastic about menstruation. Unfortunately when men get involved in menstruation – from a female point of view – it can either be, “Wow, I’m so glad that guys want to be involved.” to, “Ew, what kind of guy would want to learn about periods? He’s a pervert!” As a single child, I’ve never had an opportunity to learn about periods from a sister, and even from what I learned from my mother, it was a very hush-hush and need-to-know basis type of education. It’s great to see men who are interested in periods. While I know there are men who range from the “just curious” to the fetishist, they should still be respected for their own interest. After all, even the most hardcore fetishist would have taken the time to learn about menstruation, unlike men who shy away from it either through disgust, ignorance or embarrassment. Connecting with women who are PASSIONATE about their period and wanting to change the taboo of menstruation really hits home for me and makes me smile. I admit due to the nature of my blog, many readers (of whom are probably women), don’t speak up, but even if they’re reading my blog and it helps tickle their mind a bit to push for change in this world, then we’re living in a better place!
What do the women in your life think about your blog? How do they react?
Well I only let women who I know REALLY well and who I’d believe to “accept” the blog know about it, so there aren’t many. I’d say there are only about four girls who know me “in person” who also know about the blog, and two of them are my ex’s. The women in my life tend to be very open about their periods with me, and thus, they know about the blog as a result. These girls not only assist me with understanding periods more, but they are also female testers for me. As luck would have it, I am male and thus, lack the physical body parts to test products for my review. With their assistance and my own testing methods, I am can get an accurate understanding of feminine hygiene products to write reviews on them. Often when other bloggers write reviews on products, their opinions usually consist of one individual, themselves. But my reviews reflect the opinions of my helpful women, who have given me feedback on these products, along with my own methods.
The women in my life who know and are involved in my blog love it. They feel as if they can connect to me through feeling a sense of “male security” and with my understanding as a “sister.” I’m not gay nor do I have transsexual tendencies by any means; I just love and appreciate menstruation and the female body. Thus, my girls can easily talk to me about things that most guys would not be able to relate to or even want to converse about. Knowing about my blog also helps them connect with me for topics outside of menstruation. They’re comfortable sharing intimate knowledge with me or doing things that they would feel uncomfortable doing with guys such as shopping for inner-wear. Even when the girls discuss things amongst themselves, they are inclusive of me and take an opportunity to educate me about female things.
I “introduce” my blog to my girls (or rather, the existence of it) through a very smooth method to avoid shock. I will often drop hints that I write articles about menstruation and that I’m essentially pro-period before I even get into the whole point about owning a blog on it. Since these girls are ones who are close to me, such as ex’s and best-friends, they know me well enough to probably deduce that I have some (or lots) of interest in menstruation. The blog is usually more of a, “Oh really?” than a, “OH MY GOD, REALLY?” I’m very careful about who I tell about my blog because it has both menstrual and personal information on it. For the women who do know, they think it’s fantastic and will offer help whenever I need it, whether that’s borrowing them for a week in a month to test products or to answer questions. I have yet to tell someone about my blog who I didn’t trust me deep down, so I’ve never gotten negative reactions from them.
Do many of your guy friends know you blog about menstruation? What’s their take on it?
Only two of my guy friends know about my blog, and both of them really like reading through it to learn about periods. I won’t call myself an “expert” on periods, only someone with perhaps “above average” knowledge on it. Sometimes they come to me with questions I don’t answer on my blog and that also gives me a topic to write about as an entry. They’re more of the “curious” type than the fetishists. As “weird” as they think my blog and interest in periods are, they do see the benefit of having such knowledge. It’s less intimidating for them to learn from a fellow male than if they were to have to speak to a female about it. It’s hard for me to introduce my blog or even any knowledge of menstruation to my guy friends because they’re quite repulsed towards the idea of a bleeding vagina. I always heckle them by asking how they can love vaginas so much, yet the thought of it a week per month can totally put them off from it. It’s like they want to pretend it doesn’t exist, but they only acknowledge it enough to stay away from the red a week every month.
And then part 2 of the interview…
Welcome back to part two of Lunette’s interview with Prexus Swyftwynd, the blogger behind Men in Menstruation. In part one, Prexus talks about the reactions to his blog, his own and those of his friends (both male and female). In this next part, Prexus wraps up his interview with thoughts on menstruation and the market and a little about himself.
Where do you think menstrual products are going in terms of the future of the market? What do you see as the trends?
I certainly think that more and more women will adopt reusable products; however, we have a long way to go before that becomes a “majority” of women. As far as I can see, there will always be some form of “toss and go” conventional product because I don’t think every women is comfortable with emptying their flow at a later point. Perhaps this may be a cultural thing; many of my female Asian friends won’t even give me a chance to encourage them to try these products. It will take years of cultural conversion and education before certain cultures can let go of the taboo of their menstrual flow and menstruation as a whole. If major disposal pad/tampon makers can continue to haunt consumers with “discrete” and “fear” tactics, there will continue to be a demand for such products. Companies will continue to find better “technologies” to enhance pads/tampons. But I can’t imagine companies being able to enhance absorbency and comfort while maintaining a reasonable price-per-use as compared to products such as cups, sponges or cloth pads.
What’s really great about reusable products is that they really encourage women to love their bodies and be in touch with them! Women who use reusable products often are much more open to conversations about menstruation and the female body, over those who use disposable products. By encouraging our younger generations, we can help them adopt reusable products early and remind them that their bodies are a beautiful and worth respecting. Society as a whole still revolves around a lot of “disposable” items in our daily lives, so it’ll take many years before we realize the damage we’re doing to ourselves and the environment. In the next 100 years, disposable pads and tampons will probably still continue to survive, but my hope is that through education, younger women will pick the right product for all women instead of going with the type of product is best for just the individual.
What’s your sense of awareness and interest in menstrual cups in Canada?
I think there is quite a bit of awareness but just not widespread acceptance of the cup. I’ve brought up the “cup” in conversations before with various women, and although they were fully aware of what the product does, they were not very keen on it. I can’t speak on behalf of all women in Canada, but I’d wager there are more women who still use conventional products than have shifted to cups. Because cups are internal products, that poses a second “concern”; for women who don’t use tampons, the thought of adopting a menstrual cup only brings in more fear and sometimes repulsion. I live in a fairly large city, in which we’re quite “connected” with media and internet accessibility, so information on menstrual cups is available and read by my female friends. However, few of them have adopted or even tried such a product. One of my female friends told me outright that she wouldn’t even “begin to imagine using a product like that regularly.” Even my girls, who are regular tampon-users, have no interest in using menstrual cups, since they can withdraw their tampon and just drop it in the toilet – no “maintenance” required.
The cups are also being sold at “organic” retailers here, so with them hanging off display shelves, I think it’s at least creating somewhat of an “education” for the cups. I’ve seen women gathered around such displays before, taking in the information on menstrual cups or other similar products. Most women end up walking away afterwards, but who knows, maybe they just need time to consider switching to a menstrual cup later on! At least they know about cups and even if they don’t make the decision now, they still have the knowledge and may pass it on to others who are willing to make the change!
What are your other interests outside of blogging?
I’m an avid computer gamer, so for several hours a day (I know terrible), I’m either rescuing princesses from towers or blowing heads off zombies, lol! Outside of a computer environment, I absolutely adore spending time with my girlfriend. When I’m not spending time with her, I’m usually spending time with my girls, shopping, doing daily things or just sitting around talking over coffee. I affectionately call them “my girls” as they’re a group of close female friends with whom I have great non-romantic relationships. In this day-and-age, we should remember that males and females can just BE FRIENDS.
I also run my own business outside of my regular day job. In addition to money purposes, I also consider it an interest because I help connect those who are are afraid of computers with modern technology. I enjoy showing people the wonders, particularly seniors who have never been in touch with such widespread technology, to discover all the things they can do and the things available to them. I believe technology has really enhanced my life and hope it may for others too, no matter what age!
After work, I will usually spend 30-60 minutes working out to stay in shape. Like most people, I wish I were more fit but all of it starts with the first step. I’m a big fan of laughter; the thing that I like to do most within the day is talk by voice or text with my friends and share funny moments. Every day of our lives, something funny happens and many people go through their day in a blur, missing moments that should make them laugh or smile. If every day I can just bring a smile or laugh to one of my friends, it makes me feel great. I used to volunteer a lot when I was younger, and I miss it, especially knowing that one “insignificant” person in the world can make some difference. After starting my career just a few years ago, I continue polishing my time management skills, so I can accomplish more within a day without sacrificing sleep time to stay healthy!
Any last thoughts?
I just wanted to thank you for giving me an opportunity to answer these questions. Recently I had some crazy lady tell me that I am a guy that “hates women,” and that has left a poor taste in my mouth. I hope these answers will shed some light on who I am, what this blog represents (or wants to represent, despite sometimes encountering difficulties) and just being period positive. I can’t wait to feature brands like Lunette on my blog, and together we can continue our trek so that future generations can feel positive about their bodies and comfortable with menstruation as a “normal” topic to talk about!
Although I’ve had interviews in the past for private studies and educational research, this has been the first time where my answers have been publicly posted! I was so excited and thrilled to be taken note by a professional business.
Lunette cups are really darn cute because not only are they a great eco-friendly menstrual cup, but also because they come in various colours!
Congratulations to Lunette on their BLOG LAUNCH!
Check out their YouTube channel.
Kimberly-Clark Recalls Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency in United States
Please see the post made by You ARE Loved @ http://you-are-loved.org/918/kotex-tampon-recall/ – credits to them for passing this information to me via twitter. This is important information and thus, something I felt a need to post up on its own entry.
Since I don’t really have any information more than what’s provided from the media, please read below for an important notice IF you, a) Use Kotex Natural Balance Security Tampons and b) purchased these tampons in/from United States.
Kimberly-Clark announced a product recall of a limited number of its Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency distributed to specific stores in the United States.
This recall is limited to two product SKUs (carton codes), 15063 (18 count) and 15068 (36 count). The tampons were manufactured with a raw material contaminated with a bacterium, Enterobacter sakazakii, which may cause health risks, including vaginal infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), pelvic inflammatory disease or infections that can be life-threatening. Women with serious existing illnesses, cancer or immune-compromised conditions, such as HIV, are at increased risk. There is limited evidence of transfer between individuals with this bacterium.
Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency Affected Lot Numbers:
Product SKU numbers 15063 and 15068 are the last five digits of the product’s barcode and can be found on the bottom of the package. Specific lot numbers can be found inside the red box located on the bottom of the package.
Kimberly-Clark Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Regular Unscented Tampons Carton Lot Number Carton Count SKU AC129321X 18 Count 15063 AC129325X 36 Count 15068 AC129421X 18 Count 15063 AC129425X 36 Count 15068 AC129521X 18 Count 15063 AC129525X 36 Count 15068 AC129621X 18 Count 15063 AC129625X 36 Count 15068 AC129721X 18 Count 15063 AC129725X 36 Count 15068 AC129821X 18 Count 15063 AC129825X 36 Count 15068 AC129921X 18 Count 15063 AC129925X 36 Count 15068
Consumers should contact a physician immediately if they have used the impacted Kotex Natural Balance* Security® Unscented Tampons Regular Absorbency product and experience unusual vaginal discharge, rash, fever, headache, vomiting or abdominal pains, particularly if they are HIV positive, have AIDS, cancer, an existing serious illness or may be pregnant.
The full recall information may be found here. I urge that should you use these tampons and live in an affected area to take extra care to reference the lot number with the ones shown above. It’s for your own safety and health! If you’re a male and know that your partner or family uses these, please let them know of this potentially life-threatening information. If you’re unsure whether a loved-one uses this product, don’t be shy to provide them with the information anyways as embarrassment or awkwardness doesn’t kill, but dangerous bacteria DOES!
So the title is probably bit more “umpf” than the entry that’s to follow… I told Bebe this morning the story and she got a kick out if it – she even gave me one of those really mischievous smirks (which are damn rare) so I thought I’d share with the world if it’s enough to amuse her. For those who are not aware, Shoppers Drug Mart, had Sunday & Monday sale for Stayfree Pads, Carefree Liners or O.B. Tampons for $1.99 (up to a limit of 4 I believe). By the time most people read this, the sale would already be long over, lest places that have time-difference or you’re willing to scrounge a 24-hour one.
Anyways, yesterday night I went with my mom to SDM to buy some eggs and milk, the typical “household fridge necessities” and then as we were lining up for the cash, I noticed one of those “bargain bins” where it listed that any items contained within were either $1 or $2. I started to sift through them and then I picked up a box of the new “Kleenex Cool Touch” tissue. I had ordered some samples in the mail so thought I’d just point it out to my mom that these were the ones I was talking about. She started getting all wound up about it and was like (hard to explain the actual reaction), “What?!! Why are you touching that box? Stop playing with feminine hygiene products! Are you buying it for bebe? If not, put the box down.” Obviously this is a translation since my mom was freaking out at me in Cantonese. I was like, “Umm… what are you talking about? This is tissue.” The funny thing though is when I picked it up, I had already known it was tissue, but when she began to freak out on me, for just a moment, I actually doubted myself whether I actually DID pick up a box of feminine hygiene products (because since I do buy them), but then I double checked and realized I picked up just a tissue box. My mom starts mumbling because I proved her wrong and she got all wound up about nothing.
Now to be honest, the box DOES look rather like a pad or tampon box, but I think she should’ve actually looked closer before raising hell about it. Trust me, it wasn’t just a simple thing she said, I could tell by the tone, loudness and speediness of her voice that she was wondering why I’d be buying feminine hygiene products, but luckily even if I was, now that I have bebe, I can at least put it on her tab and say I’m buying for her 😆 Here’s a picture of the Kleenex Brand – Cool Touch tissue:
I was slightly annoyed that she’d get all worked up over that, whether it was feminine hygiene or not, but conservative Asian moms will always be, conservative Asian moms.
On another note, today I had to travel to 5 SDM’s to get the pads and liners which bebe wanted (yes, they are actually for her this time 😛 – not for my girls to test). She wanted 3 packs and I managed to find 2 at one of the initial stores. Finally I went to one by my house, in a “smaller” and “less populated” area of town where luckily the shelves were still very much intact. The other 3 stores ran completely out-of-stock, just for the kind she likes… seems rather popular I guess. It seemed like there was every other Stayfree pad available, all except our fav as there was a huge hole in the shelf where they were placed, bummer… and at this price, it hasn’t happened in like 4 months so time to stock up while we can! I even went to SDM with one of my female coworkers so that was rather fun. She did want to buy some O.B. tampons, but she didn’t really have a place to hide them as she forgot her purse and her car was driven by her husband today. I suppose if she really wanted to, there are tons of places to hide them until the end-of-the-day, but she also had preference towards the U by Kotex tampons so even at such an attractive price for O.B. she still couldn’t take the dive.
Well I accomplished a lot today anyways, got 3 packs of Stayfree pads and 1 pack of Carefree liners to stock up bebe’s pad drawer! Counting down the days already to my sweetie’s period already 🙂 Just wish she had shorter cycles, lol!
Just this recent summer, I met up with a childhood friend who has returned to Canada. With her mom, she came and settled in the GTA to complete her high school education and hopefully pursue higher-education upon graduation. I spent several weekends with her, helping her get acquainted with her surroundings and to my surprize, she’s doing quite well. Her aptitude in English is superb, so communication here is not an issue for her. Plus, let’s face it – if you live in the GTA, you could probably get by without knowing English, Cantonese or Mandarin would do fine. She even told me that based on school statistics, 95% of her school is Asian and 80% of those are Chinese, accounting for very little language-barrier while at school, other than the need to listen and communicate in English for lessons and class.
But anyways, onto the main point of the story is that for newcomers from Hong Kong or other parts of Asia, it’s a shocker to have to deal with completely different feminine hygiene options. You may think, “Holy, such a big deal over having to buy local pads and tampons?” – but it really is, because feminine hygiene options are integral to peace-of-mind and well-being for most women on a monthly basis. Although I have known this friend for a long time, she had moved back to Hong Kong for many years, therefore, we have not had the close-contact that most of my girls do. With that in mind, she also was unaware of my openness towards menstruation and shopping for feminine hygiene. After breaking the ice a few times of hanging out, we went shopping and I could tell she was keenly checking out the pad/tampon aisle out the corner of her eyes while we were picking up shampoo. It was a whole new world for her – with brands unknown to her or even for recognizable brands, the types, lengths, terminology – and how they work was all different. However, with a male presence, she dare not wander into the aisle. I casually mentioned, “Hey, let’s go down each aisle and we buy what you need” as I tried to encourage her to get products that were useful, regardless of what they were. She eyed the aisle at the end so I took charge and led the way, showing that I was totally ok with her shopping for pads and tampons. I casually wandered off to the side, as I think for a girl who doesn’t know me very well didn’t want me to look over her shoulder as she browsed. I didn’t want to express discomfort though, as I’m sure we all know I lack discomfort towards menstruation (lol) – but more out of respect for her comfort instead.
After a while, she wandered over to me and shyly said, “thank you” – it was cute and she’s a really nice girl. We’ve known each other for so long, but we rarely get to connect because of distance and because the age gap is rather large – 10 years to be exact. However, her hands and basket were empty because she didn’t know what the right things were to use. She asked me if there was anywhere she could buy pads found in Hong Kong and other than T&T (which has limited of choices available at outrageous prices like $10+) and a place in Mississauga, I didn’t have that many other options for her (and we were all the way out in Markham). I do know with the Asian population in the GTA and with so many Asian marts, there are bound to be places that sell them, but where can we find a place where stocking up won’t break the bank? She’s here as a student, so in the form of income, there’s no much… so she’s very good when it comes to spending wisely. We shopped around the area, looking for places that had pads from Asia to begin with, let alone good prices.
Finally, we fell upon a place called “Foody” – a well known (apparently) Chinese supermarket with an assortment of foods and household items, but also, sanitary pads from Asia! I’m not affiliated with Foody in any way, other than a happy customer for providing us with what we wanted at reasonable prices. The supermarket is located at:
豐泰超市Hwy 7 分店 (Foodymart Hwy 7 Branch)
5221 Hwy 7, Markham ON
Hwy 7 夾 McCowan 西南角 (Intersection of Hwy 7 and McCowan Southwest corner)
電話：905-305-9866 (Telephone Number)
I suppose when this “street view” shot was taken, that it wasn’t even built yet. However, it’s in the plaza across from Marksville Mall. Speaking of being in Markham lately, I really miss my ex… after a bit of a scheduling mishap, she’s gotten really pissed off at me (pissed off enough where she didn’t even reply to my birthday wishes to her) and it’s sad. I didn’t hold on to her in hopes I’d be able to win her back one day, but she was a really nice friend to have. I guess perhaps with some time and fate, we may cross-paths again later on in life – because we all know, the world is small. From what I heard, there’s never a “low-traffic” time at Foody, it’s ALWAYS busy… day or night, weekday or weekend. When I was at the parking lot there, it took me 10 minutes to find a spot and it was at like the farthest corner of the parking lot ever.
If you’re new to Canada, live in the GTA area and want to find napkins that you use “back at home” – you can probably find them here. I have to remind you that with any imported item, you can expect a higher cost (especially as compared to buying them local back at home), but it is at least within REASON.
You can get a variety of Laurier Night-Use pads for $7.99, ranging from 12-20 pieces each.
Sofy Body Fit for $4.99 which were completely sold out.
Whisper Day-Use pads for $5.99 for 22 + 2 (24 total) pieces.
Center-IN 25cm Day-Use pads for $7.99 double-packs of 20ea (40 total).
And of course local pads ranging from $3.99 to $5.99 by Always.
You can also get imported Stayfree and Kotex, as you can see, they’re very different than Canadian packaging for these pads but unfortunately the bright lighting caused the price tag to be unreadable and I couldn’t remember how much they were (and consequently, everything along the top shelf). There is also a 400-size (40cm) Elis Night-Use pad which sounds like it can absorb an entire period worth of flow!
Center-IN 21cm Day-Use pads for $7.99 double-packs of 28ea (56 total).
Center-IN 30cm Night-Use pads for $4.99 double-packs of 11ea (22 total).
Laurier Day-Use maxi pads for $4.99 for 32 (64 total) pieces.
You can click on the pictures for a larger view, but as it was taken with phone camera the resolution is not the best. Anyways, if you’ve been searching for a reasonably priced and assortment of Asian and non-Asian sanitary napkins, you can find them here! I’m sure once one of my girls come back from her trip, we’ll be hitting this place up to run some tests on them. For sure I already eyed a few that I know won’t let us down. Maybe if this recently-arrived friend of mine ever shows enough comfort, I’ll see how open she is about this! If you know of any more places, feel free to let me know! Better yet, if you have an online resource willing to sell to Canada and ship here at reasonable prices, DEFINITELY let me know! 🙂
Of course if this friend was close enough to me, I’d probably tease her that this would’ve never been a problem if she used a menstrual cup or cloth-pads, but I doubt I could pull saying that without making her feel all weird, lol… in time, in time 😆