The Thinx Underwear scandal in the Republic of Williamsburg

Yeah I know, I said I’d update this blog every week. Well now it’s in my iCal, and I’m forbidden to have any nice relaxing Sunday night wine before blogging, so we KNOW I’m gonna do this every week.  Because writing is one of the tools in my “anti-depression” toolbox, I should probably get serious about this. Plus, I’m paying for this damn site. So, here goes, with a controversial intro topic: the Great Thinx Underwear Scandal.

Diagram 1: This was basically me in high school swimming class.

Diagram 1: This was basically me in high school swimming class.

Now, I’m no natural extrovert on writing about this stuff. (I mean look, I even referred to it as “stuff”.) I still live in vague fear of the wrath of some obscure Indonesian God, because I went to a temple in Bali even though you weren’t supposed to go in there if you were menstruating, but I was far too terrified to admit it to anyone - especially my dad. I was twelve! I still feel like a self-conscious teenager at the Duane Reade when I have to stand in line with a box of tampons, or worse, pads (in fact, I order tampons online now. But that’s also because apparently normal tampons are going to kill me.).  I still cringe when I remember our high school swimming teacher yelling “Plug it up ladies and get in the pool!” with near hysterical glee, like some deranged classmate of Stephen King’s Carrie (see Diagram 1 above. It was pretty much exactly like that).

So writing this is kind of awkward. But bear with me, because I’m going to take a slightly lengthy and mostly irrelevant ranty detour first, which I’ve demarcated with HTML-style tags for your convenience.

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Recently I’ve realized that there seem to be strange contradictory attitudes in the US which most of the developed world has gotten over years ago.  To wit: the horrifying (and what would be comically hypocritical) situation which arose this week when a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs was the victim of a “pro-life” shooter (how shooting people is Pro-Life I don’t know); the distress of a mother who was forced to leave her baby in childcare and go back to work through the lack of parental leave, which resulted in the death of her baby, to my personal favourite - the Texas Senate Chamber banning tampons but allowing concealed guns back in 2013. There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of how humans actually work, and why society needs to support the half the population responsible for potentially physically producing those humans if they want to be creating functional, non-psychotic ones.
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Sadly, none of that is surprising. The weirdest incident for me occurred recently, when the company Thinx, which makes, and I quote “underwear for women with periods”, met a lot of resistance along the lines of "Won't somebody think of the children??" when trying to buy advertising on the subway.

children.jpg

The New York City Subway. Note that this is the same actual subway that features ads for breast augmentation, tv show promotions that require Nazi insignia to be pasted the length of the train carriage, cocaine dependency studies, scary liver cancer warning posters, lawyers with phone numbers like 1800-MARGARITA, dead rats, abandoned used condoms, alive rats, and Dr Zizmor. But still, periods are apparently more offensive.

How is this less terrifying than the word "period"? "Mommy...WHY IS HIS FACE MELTED?"

How is this less terrifying than the word "period"? "Mommy...WHY IS HIS FACE MELTED?"

Happily, I live near the one subway station which was allowed to show these ads – and, not a company to shy away from opportunity, the good people at Thinx plastered them throughout the entire subway station - even across the turnstiles. For once I was proud to live in the enlightened hipster enclave which is the People’s Republic of Williamsburg, so I decided to support two causes this month: buying some Bernie Sanders badges with a friend (I call dibs on the FEEL THE BERN one!) and buying some Thinx, basically just because the whole thing made me very angry (Even if it was all a publicity stunt, I don't even care. .....yeah I know, who says advertising doesn’t work?) 

Bedford Ave L Train stop (image via Bustle)

Bedford Ave L Train stop (image via Bustle)

In case you’re wondering, without trying to be all product–placementy - Thinx get my absolute seal of approval. Not only do they work and are super high quality and comfy, they survived a barre class with no worries, and meant I didn’t have to line up for the often disgusting bathroom at the cinema. They also mean I don’t have to stress about being devastatingly embarrassed if something goes wrong, which, being me, I tend to do pretty much all the time, regardless of the likelihood of that happening.

Also - no, I didn’t get paid to write this. No, I didn’t get free Thinx, in fact they are bloody (ha) expensive. But, the lack of stress, environmental benefits, and the fact that through my purchase I helped some girls in Africa go to school despite the fact they have the audacity to have perfectly normal bodily functions every month, makes it worth every penny.

P.S. Yep, I cheated on the wine. I know, I know, but at least I posted this blog no?