And the Most Sexist Invention Award Goes to This German Startup
Well done, boys!
Three men from Germany decided it was a brilliant idea to create a ground-breaking product for menstruation.
Oh yes, you read that correctly.
Men and menstruation aren't exactly two words you expect to encounter in a sentence (unless we talk about trans men), but here we are. These brave fellas decided to disrupt the market they probably know close to zero about.
The German startup has created a product called Pinky - a bright pink disposable glove you're encouraged to wear while removing a tampon or pad, which then forms its own bag. Yes, it works similarly to a dog poo bag.
The product no one needs
The men behind the Pinky glove claim they came up with the product after speaking to their female housemates about menstruation challenges.
I highly doubt that conversation ever happened.
The idea was first pitched on the German equivalent of Dragons' Den Die Höhle der Löwen (The Lions' Cave). One of the male judges was so impressed that he decided to invest €30,000 in the company.
But when the internet caught wind of the product, things changed for the Pinky team. Not surprisingly, their Pinky gloves have received a massive global backlash for being sexist, useless and environmentally unfriendly.
Because who in their mind would think it's a good idea for more men to contribute to the stigma around menstruation while making money from selling a product no woman needs?
Pinky gloves reinforce the stigma around periods
The Pinky trio, consciously or not, contributed to the discourse that periods are disgusting, shameful, and as a result - should be hidden. And what better way to hide your tampons or pads than by using a fluorescent pink glove, right?
Besides the fact that using the colour pink because "it's for women" is an outdated marketing stunt, disposing of menstrual products isn't exactly rocket science.
You remove the product, wrap it in a tissue, and put it in a bin. Voilà. Three easy steps that get the job done perfectly. There is no need to invent a disruptive, unicorn product to make the process more complex.
And the fact that men created a product out of disgust that women touch their genitals while menstruating is just disturbing and incredibly sexist.
If you want to discuss what's actually gross, let's talk about male genitalia for a change. Men use hand urinating all the time, and the studies show that they rarely wash their hands after using public restrooms. What a shock. Yet, there are no Manly Extra Durable Blue dick-handling gloves out there, are there?
Could it be because women are shamed disproportionately more when it comes to their bodies and natural bodily functions? Oh yes, that's why.
No, menstruation isn't disgusting
Maybe it comes as a shock to some men, but menstruation is NOT disgusting to us. Yes, it's inconvenient and painful at times, but it's part of what makes us women.
There is really no need to invent a product that will only further stigmatise a topic that's still taboo in so many cultures.
Too often, girls and women are considered "dirty" or "impure" and are denied basic human rights because they are menstruating. From not being allowed to touch flowers or fruit, go to school, attend religious ceremonies, take a bath to have to eat away from their families and stay elsewhere.
All of that happens because men didn't get the memo that menstruation is normal. Not to mention, reinforcing the myth that it is disgusting also contributes to period poverty - a lack of access to sanitary products primarily due to financial constraints.
Period poverty sadly exists everywhere in the world, developed countries included. In the United States, close to 12 million women aged between 12 to 52 live below the poverty line, and most don't have access to sanitary pads.
Pinky gloves are an unnecessary and wasteful invention. They are not the life-changing product the German startup initially thought it was. Instead, it's just menstrual capitalism at its finest.
There is nothing unhygienic about period blood, and I have never met a woman that would be disgusted by the act of removing her own menstrual products.
If you're disgusted by something as natural as periods, it's not my responsibility as a woman to hide away any possible sign of me menstruating. It's YOUR responsibility to educate yourself and leave those harmful misconceptions where they belong - in the past.
And instead of creating products out of disgust and attempting to monetise our vaginas, we should focus on raising awareness and removing the menstruation stigma and eliminating period poverty.
This story was originally published on Medium.