Pamela Madsen

Shameless Woman

Do You Know A Woman With a Blue Menstruation?

The issue is bigger than blue dye in a tampon commercial.

Posted Mar 19, 2011

If I ever checked my menstrual pad and saw something blue there instead of red, I think I would infarct! So, why do so many makers of "feminine sanitary supplies" feel the need to demonstrate menstruation with blue dye? Is the blue dye supposed to make us feel less ashamed of our monthly bleeding? Did someone - somewhere in the great marketing sky decide that women and the world at large would feel better if blue dye was used to demonstrate effective menstrual pads and tampons?

Why do they think we need to see any demonstration at all of how pads or tampons work or absorb menstrual blood? I am not really sure. But you can never be too careful with directions when it comes to menstruating females I suppose!

Frankly - I have been on a menstruation rant for a few days now. There is simply not enough real information out there for women about their menstrual flow. What is normal - and what is not normal. And what if our menstruation doesn't feel normal to us? What then? Talk about it?

I have been a well known fertility advocate for over 20 years now - and it actually surprises me how few questions I get about menstruation. I get lots of questions about ovulation and conception - but our bleeding time? It is very rare. It is as if there is still a great veil of silence ingrained in us about our flow.

The issue is bigger than silly blue dye in a sanitary napkin commercial  It is how women are made to feel about our bodies - and our ability to be able to name our vaginas and reproductive health issues.

I am proud to say that I believe that we are making progress even if it feels like we are simply taking small bites out of the elephant of shame that still surrounds women's bodies. There are fabulous women like Lissa Rankin, MD, of Owning Pink, Alisa Vitta of FloLiving and one amazing non-profit called Rachel's Well that are working individually and in commmunity with other advocates of women to create change.

I love the work of Rachel's Well - where they are putting out important information to women about their menstrual cycle being an indictor of their over all health. On their website they say:

"Physician investigators funded by the National Institutes of Health have determined through years of research that a woman's menstrual health can be used as an indicator of her overall health. To make this point memorable to patients and their doctors we have been using the phrase "The Menstrual Cycle Is a Vital Sign ®". There may be adverse health effects associated with irregular or interrupted periods. When not brought on by pregnancy or contraception, menstrual irregularities may be a sign of a larger health problem". 

Those of us with a public voice and platforms need to take every opportunity to speak about the parts of being a woman than makes other women squirm!  This simply does not have too be something weird in our lives. If we are able to give women information with laughter, warmth, accuracy and the absence of condenscension - I believe we can create change!

If we don't use every opportunity that we have to speak about our bodies - what is normal and what is not - the silence will remain and the information will continue to be given through the lens of  the blue dye of shame.

Hopefully with companies like UBYKotex waking up - and creating campaigns like "Break The Cycle" - perhaps change is in the air. Check out the video. What do you think of that?