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.