Are “CupAware” Events the New Tupperware Parties? Women’s Bodies as a Source of Corporate Profit

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I read with interest ‘We’re Having a Menstrual Liberation’: How Periods Got Woke, published in The Guardian (U.K.). It’s a clunky and awkward title that obscures the contents of the article.  

I am sitting in a hotel meeting room with 12 women, all of us squeezing menstrual cups against our cheeks. The blinds are down, the wine has been flowing for the past hour, and after a few people have taken selfies… Mandu Reid, an expert in “cupography”…goes on to demonstrate some of the best positions for inserting a cup – sitting on the edge of a toilet seat “manspreading”, standing with one leg up on the toilet seat (her own favourite), or lying down with your legs in the air, a pose she holds while we take pictures for social media. “The most important thing is for you to be relaxed. Put on some jazz, light some candles,” she jokes.

This is a CupAware party, designed to get women together to talk about menstrual cups. It couldn’t be more different from the last bit of menstrual education I received, when I was 12 and the “Tampax lady” came into my school in her navy blazer and gave out freebies. * * * 

Reid is part of a new wave of period activists, determined to challenge the status quo of our flows. Despite being part of the lives of half the global population, there has been little innovation or big thinking around periods in 80 years – since the tampon was invented. Recently, however, there has been a flurry of activity, from campaigns to petitions, product launches to new advertising imagery.

You can read the full article here.

Are “Cup Aware” parties the Tupperware parties of the 21st century? I’m all for menstral health, sustainable menstrual hygiene products, and ending period taboos. But I can’t help but notice that messages about embracing one’s body all seem to … be associated with selling a product. I call this mix of feminist messaging and period positivity #menstrualcapitalism. It’s not inherently bad–just something to notice.

And I’m not a fan of the article’s title because the word “woke,” with its origins in African-American activism, is being used by mainstream media for all sorts of purposes without any recognition of the history behind the word. 
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