Dirty v. “Dirty”

I never quite understood the menstruation-is-filth thing, mostly because I was so poorly raised no one made sure I was fully inculcated/brainwashed. Men dribble all over the tiles and floor but my pads have to be buried deep in the garbage so no one [read no male] will see them? Never let anyone see any sign you have a period because you will be embarrassed—that always seemed about the inherent belief in female shame in being female.

So I got my Diva Cup. It’s worth about half what I’d spend a year on pads and tampons, give or take a few Walgreen’s brands. The directions for care seemed pretty simple—wash with soap and water every time you empty it— until I got to the end—at the end of each period, boil the Cup in a pot of water for 20 minutes and, according to the FDA, throw it away at the end of the year and buy a new one. 20 minutes at a rolling boil seems extreme for high-grade silicone I paid almost $40 for. And it’s just menstrual blood—why do I have to throw it away after using it a dozen or so times? It’s silicone. You boil it. How unsafe can it be? Is this based on fact or the deep-seated delusion that menstrual blood is the “dirtiest,” most toxic fluid the human body can produce?


What’s menstrual blood/fluid? A “thick, blood vessel-rich, glandular tissue layer” that sheds if no fertilized egg attaches to it. No waste products, no bile, no shit. Grand total: about 3-4 ounces. Yes, ounces, not cups, not gallons.

I’ve never seen a warning on a silicone dildo or anal plug about only using it a year them throwing it away and reinvesting in a new toy for you and your friends and your friends’ friends. Care directions for a silicone butt plug? Put it on the top rack of your dishwasher or boil it for 3-5 minutes. No expiration. More like, Clean it each time and it’ll last forever. And this is an ANAL plug. Does the FDA think that what comes out of and lurks in most asses is somehow cleaner than a period? If a butt plug can be used again after 3-5 minutes of boiling (no warnings about it having to be a rolling boil, either), why do I have to boil a Diva Cup 20 minutes and throw it away after 12 months?

And who’s going to make me?


photo courtesy of Green colander, used under this Creative Commons license

photo courtesy of Jemimus, used under this Creative Commons license

About G Bitch

A mad black woman in New Orleans.
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8 Responses to Dirty v. “Dirty”

  1. liprap says:

    It’s probably because of Toxic Shock Syndrome…but, then again, the cup is not superabsorbent like the Rely was:


    Perhaps if there were more lawsuits and less embarrassment involved in the discussion of what butt plugs do to one’s health, there could be a more intelligent look at why you have to boil the hell out of the silicone (they make silicone baking pans now, so it can take the heat) and why the instructions are not so strict for a butt plug.

    Then again, it would be great to have a much more intelligent discussion pertaining to why women are treated with medicines and cures vetted through tests in which the male physiology is the standard.

  2. liprap says:

    Oh, and this is real good, too:


    Between the genetically engineered cotton and the bleach used on the fibers, it makes you never want to stick anything inside yourself again.

  3. G Bitch says:

    Imagine how much dioxin you absorb over a few decades of menstruation.

    As far as TSS, silicone doesn’t absorb anything which is why it can be sterilized. There are warnings about TSS for women who have had it before but a impermeable silicone menstrual cup is not going to absorb anything–blood, bacteria, etc. So you’re boiling the Diva Cup the extra 15 minutes for what exactly? Maybe because the Diva Cup is ‘worn’ longer than a butt plug? But I don’t know from butt plugs.

    And how on earth would you test a menstrual cup on men?

  4. liprap says:

    Stick it up their asses? ;-)

  5. Ole Blue says:

    So…do women throw away vibrators after one year of use?

    How about boyfriends/lovers/husbands? I mean after all you cannot boil a human.

    How do human men stay sanitary? Most men I know, including me, are filthy most of the time. Physically and minded.

    I think the throw away is just cautionary. Plus many women would not boil the device.

    I remember my female soldiers were just as filthy as the male soldiers at times. Humans are filthy. After all we are just hairless apes.

  6. G Bitch says:

    Ole Blue, you don’t need to throw a vibrator away every year–1) not all vibrators are inserted [maybe you’re thinking of dildos] and 2) not all sex toys are made of permeable materials and 3) even those that are aren’t discarded every year. Silicone is considered superior because of its ability to be sterilized and its longevity. But my point wasn’t about the durability of sex toys or whether humans are naturally or unnaturally “sanitary” or not but about the widespread cross-cultural taboo about women’s bodies and the fluids that come out of them. Why do you say “many would not boil the device”? Because women in combat are as dirty as men in combat? When I go camping, I get as dirty as the guy in the next camp site for obvious reasons but what does that have to do with sterilizing something I insert into my vagina? [I definitely would not use it while camping or in combat.] Do you think most women wouldn’t properly clean something inserted into an internal organ? Why?

    My point is that menstrual blood is not toxic, that fecal matter, like on the chicken you may eat, is more disease-ridden and will hurt you faster and worse than menstrual blood. I’m just sayin’….

  7. Leah says:

    You are so right G Bitch! menstrual blood is not toxic and fecal matter can be. Maybe the menstrual tissue is considered so dirty because it is like death which is associated with disease if the body is not buried and left to rot. They must have associated that blood and tissue with a coincidence of a disease outbreak. Or maybe it has something to do with the Bible – there is a lot of hatred of women spawn out of that crap.

  8. G Bitch says:

    Thanks, Leah! Take a look at this—“Dissecting The Western Woman Artist; An Artist’s Dialogue by Amy E. Fraser.” It’s not complete but has some info on menstrual blood taboos and I was able to find it quickly. Another thing to keep in mind—as patriarchy solidified, so did man/good-woman/bad dualism/beliefs/ideology/culture.

Comments welcomed. Really.