4 Products To Keep Your Period Plastic-Free

4 Products To Keep Your Period Plastic-Free

C'mon ladies, let's save a few sea turtles during our crimson tide!

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Our plastic waste eats up landfills, oceans, and the environment around us. It's killing the planet and the creatures that inhabit it. If we all make small, easy swaps on everyday products, we can make one large change for Mother Earth! So I know we all dread that time of the month, but Aunt Flow visits us whether we like it or not. With some of these feminine products, we can change our habits to help our planet, our bodies, and our wallets!

1. Cloth pads

http://gladrags.com

Sanitary napkins can take from 500 to 800 years to decompose in a landfill. Reusable pads are an easy option when first starting your low-waste journey! The cloth pads snap around your underwear to stay in place, with an absorbing cloth inside to ensure that they don't leak. Most come with washable carrying cases so you can change out the pad out in public restrooms. If you're at home, you simply toss the cloth pad in your laundry basket. Cloth pads come in all shapes in sizes, even slim fit that are made for thongs. Not to mention there are adorable patterns and colors!

2. Menstrual cup

https://www.saaltco.com

I recently bought a menstrual cup and cannot wait to try it! Menstrual cups are known for being incredibly comfortable, so comfortable you forget they're there. They last all day long, don't leak, and are completely reusable! All cups will come with an instruction guide. The cup is easy to insert, but you'll want to make sure you have a good understanding of where your cervix is before you do it. Once home for the day, all you have to do is pull the cup out and rinse it in your sink. Cleanliness is the most important factor to remember when using the cup. Most companies sell a soap that is safe for both you and the cup materials.

If you are a regular tampon user, I recommend the cup for you. It's similar, saves money, and is a healthier option than the chemicals found in your tampons, and we've all feared toxic shock syndrome which is not something that occurs when using the cup. On a less important note (but the fun part), my cup came with the cutest pink carrying case so I can throw it in my purse for emergencies.

3. Period panties

https://www.shethinx.com

Period panties are the easiest option by far. They take no extra work— you just put on underwear like you do every day. The nice part is that they come in all kinds of sizes and styles, from hip-huggers to bikinis and thongs. When I used period panties, I always went for the hip-hugging style, which I would recommend for any girls blessed with a big booty like me. My favorite part about period panties is that you can buy different kinds depending on how heavy your flow is. Think of these like regular and super-plus tampons. I opted for the heaviest flow option, only because I was scared of spotting onto my pants.

I loved my period panties and will continue to use them on my lighter days, but I advise caution to girls with heavy flows. The one downfall is that if you're out in public and start to feel like you need a fresh pair, you're SOL. Now, I never had the issue of needing to change them, so maybe they just gave me flashbacks of middle school and the constant fear that somebody could see spots on my jeans...but understand that they take some getting used to. Just don't knock 'em until you try them!

4. Applicator-free tampons

http://www.ob-tampons.com

Although I am a fan of reusable products that are zero waste, I understand changing your habits can be difficult. If you can't make the switch and know tampons are the best option for you, try O.B. tampons! They reduce waste by not coming with the unnecessary plastic applicators. O.B. tampons are inserted by just using your finger, but don't worry about the mess they are designed to keep your tampon (and your finger) clean! O.B. tampons are a healthy, low waste option that won't disrupt the lifestyle you have today. They're easy to find online and in most stores!

All it takes are a few small changes in your lifestyle to conserve waste. Even though your period only comes once every month, think about how much plastic you'll avoid using over the course of a year!

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A Solution To The Abortion Debate

We need to tackle the problem at its core.
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There are very few political issues that are as controversial as abortion. Pro-life vs. Pro-choice seem to be the smack down of the year, every year. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion years ago, but people from all sides of the political spectrum still focus on it.

I'm not going to give you a pro-choice argument. Yes, I am pro-choice, and yes I have very firm beliefs, but I don't think the argument should focus on whether or not women should have access to abortion.

The argument needs to tackle this "issue" of abortion at a much deeper level. It's not about pregnant women wanting abortions — it's about unwanted pregnancies.

There are many reasons a woman chooses to have an abortion. Maybe they can't afford a pregnancy and a child. Maybe they have health problems. Maybe they are not in a place in their lives where they can properly care for a child. Or maybe, they just don't want to have the baby.

Regardless of their reasons, the core cause of abortion is an unwanted pregnancy. Naturally, the way to end abortion is to stop unwanted pregnancies from occurring in the first place. If a woman never becomes pregnant without wanting to be pregnant, there would be no need for abortion, and the divisive debate could finally end.

How do we do this, you ask? Well, you've come to the right place.

There are two things that need to happen in order to stop unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

1. Comprehensive sexual education

27 states currently have abstinence-only education. This means students in 27 states are never taught about birth control. They never learn the realities of sex and sexual experiences because they are taught not to have sex until marriage.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with practicing abstinence until marriage — or even in marriage if that's what you decide. But the truth is, not everyone is going to be abstinent, and by teaching a curriculum that stresses abstinence, students lack a knowledge base necessary to prevent pregnancies and STDs. Some people won't know anything about sex alone, let alone about condoms, the birth control pill, the birth control patch, shot, ring, IUD, or other forms of birth control that could prevent pregnancies.

Statistically, states with abstinence-only education have a much higher rate of teenage pregnancy or STD transmission, while states with more comprehensive education have seen a drastic decrease in these cases.

People seem to think that including comprehensive sex ed in schools will encourage teenagers and young adults to have premarital sex. But lets face it: they're going to do it anyway. So lets make sure they are educations and that they practice safe-sex so no unwanted pregnancies occur.

2. Access to birth control

Education is all fine and dandy, but unless people have access to birth control, they can't really practice safe sex.

The discourse around birth control needs to be less taboo. Young women should not be embarrassed to talk to their healthcare provider about different options. Both men and women who plan to be sexually active, even if they have the smallest inkling that they will be sexually active, should have condoms so that they are never in a position to "risk it."

Birth control needs to be covered by all health insurance. Not only does it prevent pregnancies, but it also helps regulate women's menstrual cycles and treat endometriosis, along with other health problems women may have. But most importantly, it prevents unwanted pregnancies. Birth control needs to be available to every one, both men and women and genderfluid and genderqueer and everything else on the gender spectrum.


Even people who are pro-choice are not pro-abortion. Whether it is because of morals, medical reasons, or any other reason, no one wants abortions to happen.

Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions from happening. People will resort to dangerous methods to get abortions if they are outlawed, but they will not stop completely. The only way to stop abortions is to solve the core of the problem through comprehensive sex ed and access to birth control.

In order to make that happen, the discussion needs to move away from "Should abortion be legal or not?" to "Let's stop unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place." Stopping unwanted pregnancies is the only way to stop abortions.

Cover Image Credit: The New Yorker

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Sexual Education Needs To Be Taught In Middle School

No, porn does not teach you sex.

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Sex education is supported widely and even by parents, however, we are not teaching it effectively. In middle school, I didn't learn sexual education, let alone learn anything about puberty and what a menstrual cycle even is. In middle school, I learned more from my friends than from health class or my parents.

If parents supposedly support sexual education, why are we not creating a curriculum to teach it more effectively? These teenagers are 'learning' more from their friends than their parents or adults and learning from porn. No, porn does not teach realistic sexual expectations. Teens don't see the side of where the pornstars are posing in sex positions or take multiple takes. Teens don't see that pornstars get tested for HIV and STDs very often. Most teens say they never received any sexual education at all.

These topics we need to focus on teaching should range from menstruating, puberty, self-touching, and all the way to sex and diseases, as well as pregnancy. we teach girls that they need to be on birth control but what about these young men needing to wear condoms. Many girls don't even know the difference between tampons or how to even insert a tampon. Lots of teens are told that they shouldn't be touching themselves, but we should be teaching them that it is ok to explore your body. I've come across many young men that think that just because they don't feel like they have a disease that they don't have to get tested.

Everyone needs to get tested and everyone needs to learn an excessive amount of information about sex because no one else is teaching it.

I have a passion for teaching sexual health to middle schoolers for the sake of their sexual health and for future generations.

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