Long before Courtney Cox became the neurotic Monica Geller on the sitcom Friends, she starred in a 1985 commercial for tampons. Rocking some purple Spandex and tights, as if she just finished a ballet class, Courtney made an unprecedented statement. For the first time in the history of American mainstream media, the word “period” was uttered. Before that, it was all about euphemisms: that time of the month, Aunt Flow and other ridiculous absurdities. Old ads called for “internal sanitary protection” and pitied not only the cramps-suffering woman but also her husband. Puh-leeze! Even though it’s a natural process that half the world population must endure throughout our lives, we, as a society, are embarrassed by a simple bodily function. Today, I say enough!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: $20 Million
The blatant preposterousness around the so-called “monthly curse” isn’t just a cultural thing; it’s also monetary, and women are paying a big price for simply, well, being women. The majority of U.S. women regularly pay what’s referred to as a “tampon tax.” In California alone, women pay roughly $7 a month over about 40 years for taxed feminine-hygiene products. That equates to about $20 million a year in taxes. Now that’s what I call paying a premium!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Meika Hollender, Co-founder of Sustain Natural
Today, we’re praising Meika Hollender for having the guts to shake up the period game. Meika is the co-founder of Sustain Natural, a progressive and unapologetically enlightened brand that offers non-toxic, all-natural tampons, pads, condoms and other personal-hygiene products. As Meika says, Sustain Natural puts women’s bodies first and leaves out the bad stuff.
Speaking of the bad stuff, do you even know what your feminine-hygiene products are made from? Although we often intricately review nutrition labels like it’s our job, many of us don’t quite know exactly what we’re putting into our most sacred of body parts. Other brands are often composed of toxic ingredients like chlorine-bleached rayon, BPA and chemical fragrances. And guess what? In addition to that darn sexist tampon tax, the FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to disclose ingredients or even conduct testing on tampons. Sustain Natural removes the worry. The company’s tampons are made from 100 percent organic cotton, and all products are organic, vegan, sustainable and fair-trade.
Even before launching Sustain Natural, Meika knew the virtues of natural products. Her father (and the co-founder of her company) is Jeffrey Hollender, the co-founder of Seventh Generation, which, for the past 30 or so years, has sold a variety of natural home-goods and personal-care products.
In college, enterprising Meika developed her own sustainable-business major. After graduating, she dipped her toes in the marketing world, thinking that was a safe, logical course. But after realizing not all businesses are created equal, Meika returned to the field she knew in her gut was right for her, launching her company in 2013. And with additional funding from ThirdLove and other forward-thinking biz execs, Sustain Natural is on its way to becoming a household name.
And here’s another really cool tenet of the company: Since more than 20 million American women don’t have access to reproductive health care, Sustain Natural gives 10 percent of its profits to women’s health-care organizations.
What’s also special about Sustain Natural is that women can sign up for automatic delivery. That means every 30 or 60 days, you can get your own custom kit with a slew of lady necessities, including tampons and pads, lubricant and personal wipes, and even fair-trade, carcinogen-free condoms.
Thanks, Meika, for raising the standards when it comes to feminine hygiene and offering women a whole new—and natural—alternative to embracing our girl power!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s sign off with a fierce quote by a fierce lady, designer Diane Von Furstenberg:
“You know, I have never met a woman who is not strong. They don’t exist.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.