A Hofer Facebook post promoting Menstrual Cups late last month sparked a surprising amount of negative comments from online users. So, let’s talk about it.

“Gross” and “makes me want to throw up”  are only some of the remarks left under the post promoting the new Olivia cup for €8.99 on a pink background – no triggering blood stains or nudity in sight – but apparently the cup itself was enough to stir up a variety of emotions.

Hofer’s social media team welcomed the hype, seeing this as an opportunity to educate online trolls, consisting mostly of male users. “The first patent for the cup was filed in 1937, and it has been known to be a sustainable alternative for 82 years” says the comment, which quickly gained likes and support for the social media team under fire.

“Respect for the Hofer-Social Media Team. I couldn’t have remained so factual to all these comments. Women menstruate and that’s a fact, if they didn’t, none of you would exist!” says one comment.

 

With more than 1,700 comments, the ad and its reactions show just how little progress has been made to educate the public about the female menstrual cycle, with some confused users, including women, commenting “what exactly is this product supposed to be?”.

This incident demonstrated that the female cycle remains taboo, and may be an important wake up call: Researchers from the Medical Research Council and the Department for International Development recently confirmed menstrual cups were just as reliable as tampons, and are significantly better for the environment. On top of its eco-friendly benefits, a Lancet study finds that 70% of the women using the cups wish to continue, as it is reusable (for as long as 10 years) and is notably cheaper than other feminine hygiene products.

Normalizing the discussion on women’s periods and the related products has the potential of lowering the unfair pressure on women to cut out single-use plastics, as tampon applicators and a variety of basic products women consume contain ecologically harmful materials while the market is simply too slow to offer alternatives.

But perhaps saving the planet one cup at a time is too big of a task, and we can strive for more immediate results from such online incidents; making the internet a more respectful space.

 

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