Vaginal matters: Teeth and keepers

January 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm | Posted in Feminism, Film, Health, Women | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I was just stunned to see that one of the oldest patriarchal myths has been revived: The vagina dentata, the toothed fanny, reenters the stage in the form a new horror movie: Teeth, the story of a female teenager who – luckily – is the president of a local chastity group – until an act of violence afflicted upon her lets her find out about this physical peculiarity.

I am not a good watcher of horror movies, although they do intrigue me, precisely because of their obsession with the repressed fears and desires of their present times. The first five minutes of Teeth made me want to see more – but I fear I’d have to keep my eyes closed or watch the film through the fabric of a lightly-knitted jumper for most of the time. 😛

And while we’re dealing with vaginal matters: I came across The Unreliable Narrator‘s blog and she has some weird stuff on her blog roll: A total of 13 links to pages who specialize in ‘alternative menstrual products’. Two types of products can be found in all online stores:

  • Reusable menstrual pads, coming in all kinds of fancy designs (zebra, floral, animals, camouflage…)
  • Latex or plastic cups (‘keepers’) to insert into your vagina to collect the flow (rather than absorbing it like tampons)

Wow. The first means that you’d have to carry around stacks of flannel pads (both unused and used), the second means that you’d have to empty and wash the cup before inserting it again (which – agreed – reduces waste; yet would you want to empty and wash your cup in a public restroom?). Does anybody know whether this product sells in Europe as well? Anyway, it sounds like such an unlikely thing to be successful in a country (i.e. USA) where feminine washes are available in every drug store – yet the USA, thankfully, also produced the most uncompromising feminists. Here is an interesting statement from one of the ladies using the ‘keeper’:

“I recently ordered my Keeper and think that it is the 8th wonder of the world. I am a graduate student of Psychology at Connecticut College and because of my love for my Keeper, have decided to conduct a research project assessing attitudes towards alternative forms of menstrual management. I hypothesize that participants who display an interest in alternative products will possess more accurate knowledge about menstruation, more positive attitudes toward menstruation and/or heightened awareness of environmental issues and feminism.” — JL, New London, CT

Below is a sample of those reusable pads, and a plastic version of a keeper:

Pads and Keepers


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  1. 1. Agh, I can’t watch horror movies either. The worst was when I was a film critic and had to review The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I didn’t sleep for weeks….I’m just too easily terrified.

    2. So….alternative menstrual products. :oD

    Here you can learn all you ever wanted to know and then some about both cloth pads and menstrual cups. It’s very strange, because if you’d asked me a year ago if I’d be using these things, I’d have stared at you in revulsion and yelled NO WAY! But now….needless to say I feel differently.

    (Though I should say that most of those sidebar URLs are there because the companies will give you freebies/trial packs if you link to them.)

    My lifesaver has been my Finnish friend the Lunette (not only do they make cups in Europe, but you guys invented them!). I thought about buying the UK Mooncup, but in the end went with the medical-grade silicone Lunette, because it was a little smaller and smoother.

    The wonderful thing about public restrooms and the menstrual cup is that it’s unlikely you’d ever have to empty it–they stay in between 6 and 8, even 10, hours, unlike tampons. If I’ve been at work a long time or have a heavy period, I just wipe it off with a bit of tissue and reinsert it–or if the restroom is empty I can rinse it quickly in the sink–not a big deal. And it’s SO comfortable I couldn’t believe it at first. I don’t have nearly the cramps I used to have from tampons and plastic pads.

    Fortunately also, I don’t have to carry around stacks of pads, any more than you take a whole container of disposables everywhere with you. I have a cute little sushi-patterned zipper bag with a couple of changes; it has a compartment for used (which fold into neat dry squares) and one for clean. I used to take a purse into the stall with me anyway, so what’s the difference?

    Neither of these products is at all popular in the USA, you quite accurately noted. Maybe someday, if we’re ever less prudish, Puritanical and patriarchal.

    3. The !!!1! thing came about because people who were gaming/texting would get excited and couldn’t hold down the shift key. This is also the origin of “ZOMG” and “OMGZ”–bad typing. Then other people got sarcastic about it and started writing the word “one” to make it self-consciously ironic. Urban Dictionary has some great examples of both–I didn’t know this until I read their entry a few months ago.

    I think this has been the longest blog comment I have ever left. Thank you for letting me do so!

  2. 1. Hey, did you know that this exorcism story was turned into two films at the same time? The other one is called “Requiem”, a German film which tells the story of Anneliese Michel (the real person behind Emily Rose) in a rather quiet, near documentary style. A beautiful, touching, and very very sad film. Fueled my anger towards certain catholicisms even more. (hm, you probably need to copy the address as the _(film) is not recognized as part of the link)
    2. Now that is really interesting – the cups don’t look like they are particular comfy nor have I ever heard about anyone in Europe using them. I also have terribly cramps and since I tend to have a rather heavy flow, I do occasionally find myself in the uncomfortable situation of needing a bathroom to change the tampon but not finding one anywhere or not having the opportunity to take that break. Maybe the cap (I suppose it accommodates the tip of the uterus as well) does soothe the cramps somehow – you’ve really made me curious now!
    3. !!!1!! I had an inkling of what it could mean when I typed my comment on your blog – how cute:-) I like dorky things like that.
    4. Gern geschehen! Alles Gute und ebenfalls danke schön!

  3. That’s a cool purse, Kate.

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