period

Being alive in the 21st century is complicated. But being a woman navigating these unprecedented times can often seem like a cruel joke (especially if you haven’t mastered the stiletto). Technology has streamlined our world, but when it comes to goings on down there, ladies, do you often feel stuck in the dark ages? Well, no more. Check out these eco—and user—friendly upgrades.

Since a month before my 13th birthday when a red splotch changed my life forever, I’ve despised the term “sanitary napkin.” It’s about as misleading and degrading to the monthly occurrence as those birth control pill commercials celebrating how you can reduce your period to just several times per year with the miracles of modern poison science. Menstruation is not a disease. It’s not a curse, and it does not have to be a nuisance either.

Although it may seem like reusable products would be throwbacks to centuries long past, they’re actually pretty progressive. They’re gentler on your body and they’re lighter on the environment. Rather than sending hundreds of disposable menstrual pads or tampons into our sewer systems and landfills each year, check out the reusable Glad Rags. Many women have switched to these because they’re less irritating than the disposable kind, they’re also more affordable in the long run, and they definitely cut down on waste. They work like regular pads, except you wash them after use. (Don’t say “ew”—it’s just blood—it’s a part of being a human woman.)

Menstrual cups, like the popular Diva Cup, have actually been around for nearly a century. They catch the flow from inside but unlike tampons (most often made from genetically modified cotton) which expand to soak up the blood and have been linked to the serious condition toxic shock syndrome, menstrual cups catch your flow… like a cup. They fit like a diaphragm, and are made from a reusable silicone, which is non-toxic and breakdowns much faster than plastic.

And of course, there’s one more “gah!”-worthy reason to bemoan our gender assignment: Potty time. No one likes to sit on public toilets and I don’t care how many chair poses you do in yoga class, squatting in an airplane bathroom is pretty damn near impossible. While you don’t see too many female urinals in public restrooms (yet!), you can bring your own. Called Go Girl, it’s a funnel like contraption that you carry with you (in a sealed pee-leak-proof container) so that you can pee standing up anywhere. Yep, gals, we can finally write our names in the snow, too.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: SCA