Panty liners

This is a guest post by Amy Ekins. Amy is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, a project manager for a publishing company and is finishing up her MRes in Creative Writing, for which she was awarded a fee-waiver scholarship from Northumbria University. She tweets here.

arizona desert.jpgPanty liners are once again invading our TV screens, our magazines and our posters in ladies loos. Is it just me that thought the daily panty liner phenomenon was pretty much over? Is it just me that was enraged by it in the first place? Let me elaborate. The idea of a daily panty liner is ridiculous, and it is anti-feminist. “Why is it ridiculous and why is it anti-feminist?” I hear you cry. Well, let me tell you…

It is ridiculous, because if you do a little bit of discharge in your pants and they are unprotected, what happens? Nothing. They dry, because discharge is not a flood, and then you wash them, and the discharge is forgotten. You do not need a toxic little bit of bleached paper on a plastic backing chaffing against your bits all day. (Unless you’re, you know, bleeding, although then there are other options too.) Why is it anti-feminist? Because it is pushing the agenda, like so many other awful ‘feminine hygiene products’, that what the female body does naturally is disgusting, dirty and to be ‘dealt with’ using scented, flowery (and did I mention toxic) expensive bits of paraphernalia which dry us out, itch us up and bring us down.

Discharge is the body’s wonderful way of self-cleaning, and getting rid of all the nasties we don’t want left inside us – cookie crumbs, pet hairs from when you sat on the sofa with no underwear on without looking and accidentally sat on the cat… or what have you… ahem. Anyway, you’d think the female genitalia would therefore be regarded as a feat of design, a lovely clean, homely place, with a nice fluffy doormat welcoming you in. But no – if female ‘hygiene’ products are to be believed, we are sweaty, smelly, dirty, hot and oozing with horrid things.

The time in my life when my vagina was least happy was when I fell into the ‘hygiene’ trap as a teen. Yep, that’s right, I got the wash, I got the liners, I got the deodorant – yes, there is deodorant available for your vagina – and before long I was dry, I was itchy, and my soft and moist lady garden was arid as Arizona. (Well, I think so, I’m English and I’ve only flown over Arizona twice, but I looked at it and thought – “I can relate to that feeling, my friend” – on seeing its cracked, parched, rippling landscape).

What is my point? Don’t give some sexist pig your hard-earned cash, to end up with a vagina like the Arizona desert. Buy yourself some nice underwear or some beads to plait into your rug or something instead, and feel awesome as you clickity-clack whilst you skip through a summer meadow, fresh in the knowledge that your awesome pussy is pushing out those kitty hairs, and mother nature thanks you for not leaving your discharge-catchers in her overflowing landfills. Word.

ETA: In light of the comments below, Amy would like to clarify: I’m not criticising those that need daily liners on occasion, but not all of us do, and the marketing is the issue here – the notion that women’s genitalia is a shameful space.

Photo of the Arizona desert by Gleb TARRO, shared under a Creative Commons licence.