It’s time for a Girls Night Out!

Pamper_PinkA few weekends ago, us Divas attended an old fashioned Girls Night Out! We’re talking a night filled with trips to the candy bar; fantastic manicures and massages, chocolate fondue, appetizers and a dance party.

That’s right, it was that kind of Girls Night Out!

And it was fabulous.

Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph (HFHWDF) invited The DivaCup to participate in their annual Girls Night Out, “Pamper me Pink” event and we of course said yes! Over a hundred women came out to the event; each dressed up in pink – pink outfits, pink glitter, pink jewelry, pink feather boas… pink!

The night started off with a Zumba lesson, followed by spa treatments, a fashion show, gift raffles, shopping (for great products like The DivaCup) and of course dancing.

Pink glitter and dancing aside, at the core of the event was the knowledge of knowing that every dollar raised went toward a great cause: building homes for those in need.

women build 2HFHWDG’s Women Build is described as an organization that “… is dedicated to empowering women to make positive change in the community while learning valuable trade skills”. Women Build is in its third build and each build helps give a family a safe, comfortable place to live.

Two things we took away from the event:

1, The women in our community are amazing!

2. Women deserve a Girls Night Out every once and a while.

In addition to supporting a local organization that is helping families in our community at “Pamper Me Pink”, we also had the opportunity to share The DivaCup concept with many women. We also met some incredible women who have helped with the Women Build projects as well as running their own business ventures, organizations and humanitarian events.

As we get excited for the spring and summer seasons and events, let’s also get excited for the many opportunities we have to give back to our community. Whether you join a project similar to Women Build, help out at a shelter or donate resources, your giving will have a lasting impact in the lives of families for years to come.

We’d also like to encourage all of our Divas to plan a Girls Night Out (spa party, dance party, dinner out, etc.) for a friend in need or group of women in their community because all women deserve a night of pink!

Tell a Diva your Girls Night Out idea today!

 

Making Sense of Earth Day

Pink_earthI can remember celebrating Earth Day as far back as grade school. School days were filled with community garbage collection, recycling fairs and of course garbage free lunches. At the time I didn’t think much of the origins of the day – April 22nd was always the day that we took time to do a little bit extra for the planet.

Now well into my adult life, I thought it was time to investigate the history behind Earth Day.

Up until the late 1960s, the environment was not something people talked about. This changed in 1969 when Rachel Carson released Silent Spring, a book that explores the unique relationship between people and the environment, calling for a chemical free approach to everyday practices.

In 1970, with the environment on the mind, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a “teach in”, bringing together the public for a series of talks about the environment. The day was a great success and saw people from all walks of life joining together to advocate for a better, healthier future. Twenty years later in 1990, the world celebrated the first International Earth Day and since then legislation has been passed for better waste removal processes, clean air initiatives and species protection programs (to name a few).

If history has taught us anything it is that we really aren’t that different from the eco advocates of the 1970s. Every so often we realize that a certain product or process has detrimental effects on our health and environment and we make great strides to remedy and refashion our lives to live better, and care better for the earth.

And this also holds true for period care!

dump truck dumping trashWhether we like to admit it or not, period care plays a significant role in land and water pollution. Every month hundreds of thousands of disposable pads and tampons are thrown out, and each carries little potential to decompose. We have seen improvements in the chemical makeup, ingredient list and plastics of disposable tampons and pads; however nothing has had a more beneficial impact on our health and the environment than reusable options like The DivaCup.

The DivaCup is a reusable option that is made of healthcare grade silicone which means it is free of chemicals, plastics and dyes; making every cycle waste free!

What is incredible about the early years of Earth Day is how easily eco-friendly practices were adopted. It just made sense to stop spraying chemicals on our plants. It made sense to reuse certain plastics rather than throw them in our landfills. And the same “make sense” mentality holds true for period care.

This Earth Day, make a change that will have a lasting impact on your health, the environment and your bank account, by trying The DivaCup. You can even win a DivaCup in our “Eco Diva Giveaway“! Simply pin what being an Eco Diva means to you with the hash tag #EcoDiva on Pinterest and then head over to our contest entry page for your chance to win!

In addition to greening the way you care for your period, there are many eco changes that can have lasting benefits. Vanessa Farquharson’s (2009) Sleeping Naked is Green offers 366 helpful tips (many of which you may already be practicing) to green your life!

A few of our favorites are:

  • Using The DivaCup instead of tampons
  • Wear clothes twice before washing
  • No more bottled water
  • Fill kettle with exact amount of water
  • Eat food from the pot or pan you cook it in
  • Shut down computer at the end of the day
  • Running outside only (no treadmill)
  • No more gift wrap
  • Picking up litter when you see it
  • Making all your bills electronic
  • Using tote bags, no more plastic bags
  • Changing over to natural glass and surface cleaner
  • Making sure there’s always at least one “green” element in the gifts you give
  • Always asking for no receipt, unless you really need one
  • Enforced quiet time (no radio, stereo or other music)
  • Adding an eco-friendly tip to my email signature
  • Sending out electronic invites rather than paper ones
  • Using rechargeable batteries

Don’t forget to share what being an Eco Diva means to you for a chance to win 1 of 3 DivaCup prize packs in our “Eco Diva Giveaway”! Enter today to win!

Menstruation: Still Taboo in the 21st Century?

Recent news stories have suggested that a woman’s menstrual cycle may compromise or place restrictions on job duties, specifically those related to the military.

At the core of these conversations is not really whether a menstruating woman should or should not be on the frontlines or that they are less suited for combat. What is really being discussed is whether the capabilities of women are limited due to menstruation. 

Today, discussions (and in some cases discrimination) around the menstruating body poses a challenge for women working in what some call a “non-traditional” occupation. Our Military Diva shared about these challenges on our Diva Blog affirming what we already know to be true, the menstrual cycle is still seen as a taboo topic.

Although we’ve come a long way from the misleading menstrual claims of age old medical textbooks, the question needs to be asked: “Why is menstruation still being used as an excuse to prevent women from advancing in their field of choice?”

One answer may be that regardless of how accepting menstrual talk is today, discussion about menstruation is heavily influenced by historical and cultural moments. And when we skim over the history of menstrual talk what we find can be quite discouraging.

Here is a brief look at what was once said about the menstrual cycle:

  • Ancient philosophers warned of the damaging effects of menstrual flow, the dangers of the “wandering womb”; and often cited menstruation as a sign of reproductive failure. (1,2,4)
  • In the late 1800s, texts of medical professionals carried forward this ancient menstrual talk, convincing women (and society as a whole) that menstruating women were not biologically capable of accomplishing much outside of the home. Specific exercises were even prescribed to young girls when they first started their menses to ensure ultimate health for child-bearing. (2, 6)
  • Up until the mid-1920s the “mental strain” of education was said to weaken a woman’s reproductive capabilities and women who worked outside the home were said to disrupt the natural rhythm of the menstrual cycle, leading to reproductive challenges. (2, 3)
  • And let’s not forget the 1950s Lysol ads that advocated women use this popular furniture cleaner as a vaginal douche! (5)

This is a fair bit of negative menstrual talk for us to work through!

As a woman, I will be the first to agree that having your period is not always a walk in the park. But, what I am capable of accomplishing while menstruating has little to do with my period and more to do with who I am as a person. From what history has shown us, women have and will continue to accomplish many great things, regardless of whether or not they are menstruating.

Of course, I cannot ignore the obvious “hassles” of period care. But, since switching to The DivaCup, the hassle of product changes, disposal and storage are no longer an issue.

For some women, the menstrual cycle can pose some unfortunate symptoms – extreme cramping, heavy flow, mood changes etc. – which may be limiting. However, just as we’ve come a long way in how we care for our periods, there are ways (healthy ways even) to manage such symptoms.

Military Diva, Stephanie Mckee

Military Diva, Stephanie Mckee

Many of the news stories surrounding the recent dismissal of those who’ve questioned whether women should be “dealing” with their periods while in combat raise some important issues that need to be addressed. If we take a closer look at the broader concern, it may be that the commentary is not suggesting that women not serve in the military, but more so that the process of caring for one’s cycle can be problematic.

And sometimes the process can be.

What many women don’t yet know is that The DivaCup offers a better way to care for your period. Because The DivaCup offers 12 hours of leak-free protection, women can work long hours without fear of leaking, whether on the frontlines, in the office, on campus or at home with the kids. Add to this, the reusable feature of The DivaCup and you no longer have to worry about disposal, environmental effects or whether or not you grabbed extra product for the day’s events.

Over the past 10 years, the Diva Team has learned that changing the way our society views menstruation and period care takes time. Although we may not like to read stories that question a woman’s capability while menstruating, viewing these moments as opportunities to educate the public about the truth of the matter and offering solutions to “dealing” with one’s period, can have lasting effects for women and society as a whole.

Help us debunk the menstrual myths of the past by sharing your insight with the Diva Community today, as well as with the women (and men) all around you!

Want to learn more about the history of menstrual talk? There resources will provide you with years of menstrual culture history!

1. Dean Jones, L. (1994). Women’s Bodies in Classical Greek Science. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
2. Delaney, J., Lupton, M.J., & Toth, E. (1976). The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation. New York, NY: E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc.
3. Meyer. M. L. (2005). Thicker Than Water: The Origins of Blood as Symbol and Ritual. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis Group.
4. Stein, E., & Kim, S. (2009). Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.
5. Tone, A. (2001). Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.
6. Vertinsky, P. (1988). “Of No Use Without Health”: Late Nineteenth Century Medical Prescriptions for Female Exercise Through the Life Span. Women & Health, 14(1), 89-115.

{Guest Post} The “art” of being a Diva

When I had my first period, about 25 years ago, the fashion trend then was very baggy pants with the bottoms rolled up. “Balloon pants” were the skinny jeans of 1987 and I wore them everywhere. You would think the giant maxi pads my mother gave me to wear would be easily hidden in pants that big, but you’d be wrong. I still remember the day I went bowling with my friends and one of them pointed out that she could see my pad wagging through the back of my pants like a tail. I was humiliated.

So, I bought a box of tampons and after a few failed attempts I was able to insert one. I said goodbye to those giant pads forever. As I progressed through puberty, I had very heavy periods – sometimes going through a super absorbency tampon every couple of hours! I was always wondering if I was going to leak through my pants and face another humiliating moment.

Finally when I was about 15, everything balanced out and I was able to deal with my monthly menstruation with minimal hassle.

As the years went by I continued to wear tampons and never thought about seeking an alternative. I didn’t like wearing them because I found them to be a bit dry, especially if my flow was light and it was always difficult to avoid peeing on the string.

Then I found The DivaCup… and have been at peace with my feminine hygiene ever since.

Sally 1I’ve been a student of Brazilian jiu jitsu for about four and a half years and as the only female student in my class, I’ve always felt a little out of place. BJJ is a martial art which was developed to allow a smaller person to defend him or herself against a larger opponent using chokes and joint locks. Most techniques happen on the ground, kind of like wrestling. Some of these techniques, like the triangle choke, involve one person wrapping her legs around her opponent’s head and arm to cut the blood supply off at the neck.

Curious about how this all works? Check out this video of me finishing a triangle choke in competition.

Being in such close contact with another person in training can be pretty uncomfortable especially during your menstrual period. Fortunately since I started using The DivaCup, I almost feel more comfortable during that time of the month than I do on a regular day because The DivaCup forms a seal that prevents menstrual flow from leaking! In fact, in all the years I’ve used The DivaCup, I have never experienced the leakage I sometimes had while using tampons.

I am so pleased to support a Canadian company that cares about women’s health and wellness as much as The DivaCup does and I hope you will too.

For my review of The DivaCup and for more information about competing in Brazilian jiu jitsu, please check out my author page on Breaking Muscle.

Sally Arsenault

Sally 2Sally Arsenault has been a fitness enthusiast for over a decade training in weightlifting, Brazilian jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts, wrestling, and muay Thai. She enjoys sharing her love of BJJ with other women in her women’s only jiu jitsu class at Titans MMA and looks forward to future competitions and new fitness challenges.