Thursday 9 March 2017

Attack of the Robot Fannies: Technology and Menstruation

You've really got to admire the balls on chiropractor-come-menstruation technologist Daniel Dopps.  When Fanny read about his plans to help women deal with menstrual bleeding by gluing up their fannies, she laughed so hard some wee came out. Or it would have done if her bits weren't glued up. Really, this guy actually makes Gwyneth Paltrow's foray into vaginal steaming look pretty amateur on nut-o-meter.

Rather worryingly, Dopps thinks that the vagina-glue combo is actually SUPER logical. He mansplains:
"Mensez feminine lipstick is a natural patented compound of amino acids and oil in a lipstick applicator that is applied to the labia minora and causes them to cling together in a manner strong enough to retain menstrual fluid in the vestibule above the labia minora where the vaginal opening and urethra exit. The Mensez compound is instantly washed away with urine, which releases the menstrual fluid along with the urine into the toilet every time a woman urinates."
Ohh - so it's actually really clever and science-y! Fanny totally didn't get that with her lady brain! Please let her buy your muff glue!

It is clear though that Dopps sees his glue aberration as a simple solution to a simple problem. The blood flows, and this, according to Dobbs, has a major psychologically distracting impact for women: and that's a problem. So...(cue a bunch of scientists gathered around scratching their arses)...let's just stop it up! Stop up the hole! Solution! With glue! Or how about a nice bit of cork? Or gaffer tape! Genius! Fanny is quids in already! Behold, women, the power of science! Lady-craziness begone! You might even be as good as men now! (Well, let's not get carried away).
Nice bit of gaffer for your vag?

And to add insult to glue-related-injury, when challenged by womankind, Dopp came back with this charming statement:
"Yes, I am a man and you as a woman, should have come up with a better solution than diapers and plugs, but you didn’t."
Seriously, is this guy single?!  He really is truly alluring...

Interestingly though, he isn't the first to suggest that period-tech might be something of a neglected industry. Radhika Sanghani in The Daily Telegraph bemoans the fact that:
"There just aren’t enough companies trying out new things when it comes to feminine care – and that’s the way it’s always been."
So Fanny got to thinking, like a menstrual Carrie Bradshaw, about the role of tech and innovation in our periods, and whether we could or should be doing more to improve our bloody lot.

Undeniably, there has been some fantastic invention. The menstrual cup was a very serious game changer and is increasingly recognised as a brilliant mainstream option, not just for the eco-minded. And there are plenty of apps to track your cycle, gadgets for easing cramps, and even brands offering leak-proof pants.  All great so far.

But there are also some pretty hopeless disappointments. Even disposable pads and tampons could be considered a pretty nasty technical bodge.  I think we really have to question whether a pad constructed from questionable plastic crap that makes your fanny feel nasty, bulks up your pants, costs a bomb, and needs constant replenishing is really up there in the greatest inventions hall of fame. Surely we just deserve better than this. Surely we CAN do better than this.

But there's somewhat of an obstacle in our way.  And it starts with the framing and perception of our periods as a "problem" to be "solved" (not least by men brandishing glue).
But how to solve the menstruation problem?!

Sure, we may not actually enjoy them, but once we stop judging our periods as "gross" and despising them for interrupting our busy lives,  we can focus on ways to experience our bleed in as much comfort and style as possible. And if we turn our attention to making our experience more pleasant, we may just find that some really useful innovation is right under our noses.

This is why Fanny Cool is a big fan(ny) of cloth pads. Despite horrid cramps and a heavy flow, using a nice, soft cloth pad with a lovely, fancy pattern provides somewhat of celebration of the bleed. Not an out and out rave, mind you, but a jolly, dignified affair, like a lovely tea party in your pants. A little treat on a rainy day.

Cloth pads may not require tech support, be available for iPhone, or give you a bionic vagina, but they nevertheless function as a lively, comfy and really cost-effective way to experience your flow, available in the widest array of prints: funny, beautiful, abstract - something for every fanny's personality.

Wouldn't it be incredible if we put our creative energies into understanding the nicest materials to wear against our skin, the prettiest patterns and the things that make us feel more like the excellent and natural human beings that we are?


As for our dear friend, Mr Dopps - Fanny leaves you with a piece of advice: maybe you should glue your own lips shut. Just a suggestion.

Fanny, over and out.

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