Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Menstration: An Obstacle To Development?

I'm not sure I buy this argument. Now, I'm a guy and so have no conception of the difficulty of menstruation. Nor am I somebody who lives in the developing world and all its problems. Therefore, I'm certainly not a woman who lives in the developing world, and have little concept of how much difficulty the lack of sanitary pads creates in their lives. But I am nevertheless skeptical.

This sounds to FLG like idea of women in the developed world, particularly middle class women who went to Africa and Asia to do development work, who were appalled at the lack of everyday conveniences they take for granted. It's a sort of soft paternalism, or maternalism, if you will. For a superficial woman in a movie, it's the cliched lack of hairdryer. In this case, it's disposable sanitary napkins.

What makes FLG skeptical? Primarily, and he knows this might come as a shock, but women managed to deal with their menstrual cycles before the invention of sanitary pads. In fact, FLG reckons that sanitary pads have probably only been around for the last hundred years or so. Maybe 150 at the outside.

Admittedly, times have changed and women have careers now that they didn't a century ago. Perhaps this is an obstacle to development, but FLG is pretty confident that there are far more pressing issues. He's not saying that you shouldn't donate to this campaign, if you feel the need. But he is saying that our USAID money shouldn't be put toward this.

PS. At first, FLG was wondering how they could reconcile the increased waste generated by disposable sanitary napkins with what he presumes to be the campaigners' stance on environmental sustainability, but apparently they want to make the things out of banana fibers or something.


Anonymous said...

Tampons are a human right? Somebody better alert Castro. He only allows households in Cuba 30 sheets of toilet paper per month. Surely toilet paper is a much higher value human right as everyone requires the use of it every day? More than once a day to boot.

This isn't about * concern * over the lack of tampons or sanitary napkins holding women back. Did Catherine the Great, Abigail Adams, Sacagawea, Poccohontas. Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, Julia Ward Howe, Clara Barton use tampons? No. And did not having tampons prevent them from earning their place in history? No. (Most of them didn't have dentistry or electricity too and did that stop them?) In fact the woman remain more accomplished today than their modern counterparts behind this movement. It's all about this:

"As we know, educating women and offering them a means to understand and regulate their fertility is a key component of economic progress in developing nations.

"Perhaps we could use some of that money that the Democrat-controlled Senate Finance Committee recently appropriated for abstinence-only education?"

This is an attack by the totalitarians wearing smiley faces on abstinence-only education in this country as well as a lame and uncouth attempt to spread fertility services (read- abortion) to underdeveloped countries.

The Liberals need to get a grip on their overuse of human right. To misquote Mr. Incredible, "if everything's a human right then there aren't any human rights.

BTW, do you recall those great wintr nights at the local pub when you'd sit over a pint or 4 with your mates asking deep questions like if you could travel back in time what would you bring with you?

My answer always was the same, a trunk of tampons and a dentist.

Mrs. P

Miss Self-Important said...

Both this post and the ensuing comments in opposition are hilarious in their outrage over imaginary injustice.

"But I'm not so sure tampons should be supplied to every lady the world over--if only because it would mean supporting the feminine hygiene industry."

"This kind of technology is truly groundbreaking in that it removes the monthly financial penalty for bleeding."

FLG said...


It is pretty damn funny.

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