Did you know that 100 million girls miss school around the globe because they lack the sanitary supplies they need to manage their periods? Often labeled as a week of shame, menstruation has been discovered to play a role in holding women back from living a full life and in response to this discovery, a company was born.
According to the THINX website:
THINX IS COMMITTED TO BREAKING THE TABOO SURROUNDING MENSTRUATION
….by changing the way the world thinks about periods. Ranging in style and coverage, the technology (aka underwear) is moisture wicking, absorbent, anti-microbial, and leak resistant! Yes! Leak-Resistant! An absolute game-changer!
Once introduced to the innovative THINX underwear, my 23-year old self wished I had kept a tally! How many underwear had I ruined during my monthly menses before the creation of the stain-resistant underwear? How many friends would have been excused from checking my derrière every 20 minutes because of my lack of trust in undergarments while in high school? How many girls could I have contributed jobs and sanitary resources to while simultaneously choosing a more eco-friendly solution to my monthly visitor? You read that correctly -- the third question was not a typo by ANY MEANS because for every pair of THINX you purchase, THINX sends funds to their partner, AFRIpads, “a social business in Uganda that hires local women and trains them to both sew and sell washable, reusable cloth pads, turning them into local entrepreneurs.” It’s simply amazing.
But what has amazed me the most is the invitation THINX makes to the world by charging us to change the way we thinks about periods.. My heart moves at the possibility of pushing shame aside and running the race alongside them as an African American women who has her period every 26+/- days. Especially, since I’m just starting to feel comfortable talking about it. And since it has been discovered through research in “Nobody Told Me Nothin”: Communication About Menstruation Among Low-Income African American Women”, that as a result of the fact that “minority women disproportionately face greater menstrual problems than those experienced by majority women in the United States,” African American women’s “history of avoidance of and negative discussions surrounding menstruation will likely continue to make it difficult for them to have positive and informative discussions with others in the future unless some type of educational intervention occurs,” I’m ready to commit to turning the hypothesis around.
The educational intervention could very well be joining THINX on this mission by purchasing a pair or cycle set, but at the core -- it could also be the sharing of your experience with a friend or family member. If we truly want the wounds of living in a society that was built on silencing us -- to heal, we have to look deep inside ourselves and acknowledge the cycle we have played a part in sustaining. With THINX and companies alike multiplying, the time has arrived to discuss our periods (or lack thereof), how we as African American women are 3x likely to experience uterine fibroids, and gain practice in how we’ll explain body development to our little loved ones with another.
What’s your next step??
About Shanae Burch
To introduce myself, my name is Shanae Burch. For just over a year, I have been a Qualitative Research Intern for Community Conversations: Sister to Sister, and have been inspired by every minute. A 2013 graduate from Emerson College’s Acting program, I am very passionate about preserving the art of storytelling and believe the use of stories can raise awareness of existing health issues and equip communities with tools to forestall or even reverse projected health outcomes. It’s why I believe in Community Conversations, and why it’s such a treat to be involved with this organization as an intern and participant. As a Special Studies student at Harvard Graduate School of Education this school year, I’ll be crafting a program known in my heart as “Storytelling for Health Education.” I look forward to blogging about my experience as an Intern, as well as faith, fitness, and food adventures in Cambridge.