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Photo Credit: Justin J Newman Photography justinjnewmanphotography.squarespace.com

Photo Credit: Justin J Newman Photography
justinjnewmanphotography.squarespace.com

Last week’s post introduced you to Ashleigh Sergeant, our #FWOTM that lives the yogi talk, naturally and sustainably. We learned she not only teaches people to “build a life you love” in spirit, but also in physical form with the example of the beautiful sustainable home she and her husband Justin recently built in Costa Rica (pictured above).

Fueled by a love for mother nature and protecting the planet for generations to come, this week Justin and Ashleigh share in their own words through this exclusive guest blog post, a more detailed look at three specific sustainable aspects of their new home that make it special and more friendly to the environment.

container

Recycled Shipping Container – The central structure of the home is a 40ft high cube recycled shipping container. There are currently over 17 million shipping containers in the world right now and only 5 or 6 million are actively being used for global shipping on vessels, boats, trucks and trains. This leaves millions of inactive shipping containers laying around in ship yards, junk yards, dumps and recycling centers. Instead of tossing these incredibly durable and structurally sound items aside, people around the world are recycling them to create artistic, eco-friendly homes and structures.

We purchased our used container here in Costa Rica from a shipping yard near the capital city of San Jose. Shipping containers are all 8ft wide, 8ft tall and either 20 or 40ft long. The “high cube” containers, which only come in the 40ft length are 9.5 feet tall. Because the popularity of building with these vessels is increasing in Costa Rica, the prices have sky rocketed. Our high cube cost us $3,500, which totaled about $5,000 after delivery. In the US, containers are still extremely affordable.

Shipping containers are structurally built to withstand the weight of being stacked up to 9 containers at a time. This makes them extremely structurally sound and a great platform to build from since the infrastructure is already in tact to create second and third story homes. This statistic was one of our key motivators in using a container to build because it made it very easy for a quick build and move-in.

Treefence2

Living Fence – The fence surrounding our property (you need a fence in Costa to both claim your land and to keep your neighbors cows from destroying your land!) is a “Living Tree Fence.” This means that the fence posts are all living trees. When the fence is planted the trees are just tiny little sticks. It’s incredible, here the jungle is so fertile you can literally just stick the end of a branch in the dirt (for some trees) and it will grow roots and become a tree! Not only does this method use natural materials but it also provides shade and can be used to support an agroforestry system on the property.  Agroforestry uses strategic placement of trees and shrubs among other crops or pasture to facilitate a sustainable land use system. Combining both forestry and agriculture principles, agroforestry creates more productive, healthy, diverse and sustainable usage of the land. In our situation, we planted trees that are “nitrogen fixers” which have been used in perennial agriculture for millennia. Nitrogen fixing trees help to restore nutrients and fertility back to the land while also moderating harsh conditions.

bathhouse

Biodigestor – The septic system in our home is called a biodigestor which uses anaerobic digestion to process the waste which can then be used as renewable energy. The collection process gathers biodegradable waste into an area with the absence of oxygen where microorganisms break it down. The result is super clean water being returned right back to the land and harvestable methane gas. We use this gas as fuel for our tankless hot water heater — a completely renewable and sustainable system!

Thanks so much for your interest in our journey!

To continue following please visit out blog at:

And follow on social media at: http://ashleighsergeant.com/costa-rica

IG: @ashleighsergeant

FB: https://www.facebook.com/ashleighsergeantyoga

 

Pura Vida!

 

Ashleigh and Justin

Photo Credit: Justin J Newman Photography justinjnewmanphotography.squarespace.com

Photo Credit: Justin J Newman Photography
justinjnewmanphotography.squarespace.com

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know there are teachers out there that can lead you through a valuable life mantra that transcends your experience beyond any physical pose you may have been trying to master on your mat and elevates your being to a place of wanting to live a more conscious, natural and earth-loving life.

At least that’s what we’ve experienced in Ashleigh Sergeant‘s class, which is why we’ve chosen her to be our Fierce Woman of the Month. Ashleigh is not only a highly celebrated yoga teacher, but if not more importantly, she has built a life she loves and is helping others “connect with their unique purpose,” which in many cases can lead to a new found love for mother nature.

With Earth Day coming up next week, we are all (hopefully) taking on initiatives to celebrate our beautiful planet, however what more can we do year round to connect to the great powers of the Earth every day? Ashleigh’s yoga practice lead her on a progressive journey of answering this question. It sharpened her senses to the beauty of the world we live in and finding ways to preserve it by becoming one with it.

Photo Credit: Justin J Newman Photography justinjnewmanphotography.squarespace.com Photo Credit: Justin J Newman Photography justinjnewmanphotography.squarespace.com

Photo Credit: Justin J Newman Photography justinjnewmanphotography.squarespace.com 

In her own words, “it took a big leap of faith,” to leave the successful urban routine and following she had in NYC (where we first met Ashleigh)  for sunny LA (where we just opened a new satellite office) to where she recently created her own “magical” sustainable Avatar-like home not in the fictional native planet of Pandora, but in the beautiful reality of the jungles of Costa Rica (a place we recently launched Maxim Hygiene products).

Learn more about Ashleigh’s story in our exclusive and first ever Fierce Woman video interview below. Although a little long, you’ll be uplifted by Ashleigh’s authentic spirit, story and the beautiful green landscapes she gets to have as her backdrop not only in this video but in every day life!

For those who prefer a quick read, we’ve transcribed bits and pieces of her responses below the video. We’re hoping this piece will have you as excited as we are to check back in next week for a guest blog post by Ashleigh and her husband Justin on pointers about how they built different aspects of their beautiful sustainable home (just in case this interview inspires you to build one of your own).

Your bio tells us you grew up with and picked up your yogi lifestyle from your mom. Was eco-conscious living a big part of your upbringing? If so, how and was it difficult to live with those standards amongst your peers who may have not had the same values?

I didn’t live in a hippie commune away from society, kind of like I’m moving towards now, but I more feel like I was raised with a little more awareness and  consciousness about what I’m putting in my body, so it was always beneficial to me and I never felt really hindered by it actually.

How long have you been dreaming about having a sustainably made home of your own and how did you begin researching ways of creating it?

I’ve kind of been dreaming of living an alternative lifestyle my whole life. Everywhere I traveled made me realize the world is so much bigger than where I grew up in New Jersey and New York. I just saw all these different cultures and different ways of living and I was instantly and consistently pulled more and more towards trying to live this way or that way… helped me see I could live somewhere totally magical and totally creative and the idea of bringing that creativity in to my home and surrounding myself with is a big part of what my yoga practice brought to me. Creating the space around us creates our reality.

Here are the two books Ashleigh read and recommends for researching ways of creating a sustainable home:

Builders of the Pacific Coast

builders of the pacific coast

Home Work

home workWhat was the most difficult and most fun part about the sustainable home building process?

The difficult part was really learning patience. Being New Yorkers we kind of were very pushy and wanted things to happen immediately. The more and more we pushed it seemed the slower it felt. I had to learn things take time.

The most fun part about it is seeing our land…walking around the property, getting our hands dirty and connecting to the earth and realizing this is my home. Becoming one with a piece of this land that offers us so much abundance.

Why choose Costa Rica for your new home?

So many reasons…the water is 86 degress, so warm, and so beautiful. It’s the land of Pura Vida (pure living). It’s about realizing here that every day is about enjoying yourself, being present in the moment and appreciating everything the world gives – our food, our shelter, our oxygen. Everything is so alive here. I feel so healthy and nourished by the seasonal and organic food here

Not that long ago Costa Rica dissolved their armed forces and put the money in to building schools and conserving the rainforest. I love that this is country is doing what they can, even though they are a small country, to really put that out there in the world.

Also Costa Rica runs off of 95% sustainable power so even when you’re plugging in to the grid here Costa Rica is generating most of its own energy which is huge for me because it’s less impact on mother nature who serves us all the time.

Image courtesy of janinejust.com

If you were to talk to your grandparents or great-grandparents today, chances are they lived much simpler lives with fewer personal items and articles of clothing than you. Fast-fashion has become the norm, as people desire to keep up with trends and dress like their favorite celebrities, and become easily enticed by pretty storefront windows and glossy magazines.

Companies have taken note of this behavioral shift over the years and have gone to great lengths to not only reply to the growing consumer demand, but also to create one. Factories and sweatshops are included in many business models and society has learned how to overlook the harm it causes not only the workers in these places, but the environment as well.

If we look at the infographic below we can see the impact the production of just one single t-shirt has on the planet. If more people were to buy less clothing and try to reuse and recycle what they already have, it will benefit nature, the workers that have to mass manufacture our clothing and accessories, and our wallets.

Image courtesy of asianfashionlaw.com

Image courtesy of asianfashionlaw.com

More and more companies and activists are starting to investigate how to improve working conditions and be eco-friendly, and they are doing what they can to revise business plans and raise awareness about the impact our insatiable consumerism has on the environment and on those around us. The advocacy group Canadian Fair Trade Network recently created an emotional campaign, “The Label Doesn’t Tell the Whole story”, that reveals some of the horrors workers in many third world countries face daily, many of which we are hardly ever informed about.

Image courtesy of The Canadian Fair Trade Network. The label reads, “Made in Cambodia by Behnly, nine years old. He gets up at 5am every morning to make his way to the garment factory where he works. It will be dark when he arrives and dark when he leaves. He dresses lightly because the temperature in the room he works reaches 30 degrees. The dust in the room fills his nose and mouth. He will make less than a dollar, for a day spent slowly suffocating. A mask would cost the company ten cents.The label doesn’t tell the whole story.”

The Slow Fashion Movement, coined in 2007 by design consultant Kate Fletcher, was established to go against the injustices factory workers face as well as an attempt to help save the environment. The movement is meant to encourage people to consume less and in a more intelligent manner, and give them peace of mind that they are spending their money on products that are of high-quality and were created in an ethical and sustainable way.

In order to create more sustainable fashion, people have gotten creative in the materials they are using. Designers and companies like Heidi and Adele are experimenting and toying with unique materials like waste salmon and eel skins, a byproduct of the food industry that’s becoming the new alternative to python, a popular fashion material that is unethically sourced. Take a look at these hot clutches that were produced from this more sustainable material:

clutch_ethical

Image courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk

The goal of using different resources is to reuse, recycle, and reduce waste, as well as find ways to produce fashionable items. Many individuals are starting to take an interest in buying products that are made of these unique materials because not only are they attractive, but they they are “one-of-a-kind,” which makes people feel special and like they own exclusive pieces.

At Maxim Hygiene it is our goal to deliver high-quality sustainable and ethical products, as well as inform you about how to lead a more environmentally friendly and health conscious way of life that benefits the planet as well as mankind.

If you are interested in learning even more about how to live a sustainable and ethical but savvy lifestyle, then check out this article by Fashion Hedge that includes some of her favorite bloggers to follow.

So, Green Queens, what do you think about the Slow Fashion Movement? Have you already joined it yourself? Let us know and share some your fave finds here!

Image courtesy of hbtinsurance.com

The origins of consumerism can be traced back hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that it started taking root in the United States. The values of leading a simple way of life decreased and people became more and more interested in buying and owning more things.

Today we have evolved into a hyper consumerist society, and we believe ads that promise to solve all of our problems and allow ourselves to be enticed by pretty packaging. This standard of living takes us away from the reality that we are negatively impacting the Earth as well as our own bodies, and it has created the false impression that we need more things in order to be happy.

With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, we felt that it was important to address this problem head-on and dedicate our April blog posts to celebrating Mother Nature as well as give you Green Goddesses some tips and insight into how you can be more environmentally responsible. As you all know, Maxim Hygiene products are made of 100% certified organic and natural cotton so it is our goal to protect not only you but also the planet.

We want to kick off this “going green adventure” by discussing cleaning products used in another intimate place other than the one we’re so used to talking about, your home. Our guess is that if you are like most people, you use big name brand cleaning products that contain ingredients you can’t even pronounce because you have been under the impression that they clean “better” than organic or DIY products. However, this impression is a false one, and there is no reason that you should pollute your sanctuary with things you do not even know the origin of.

In 2012 the Environmental Defense Fund did a study on toxic chemicals found in homes, and what we personally find the most alarming is that 232 toxic chemicals alone were found in the umbilical cord blood of U.S. newborns. Not only are we negatively affecting ourselves, but we are harming our innocent unborn loved ones.

Image courtesy of edf.org

Many of your cleaning products are main culprits of this toxicity, and the chemicals that are contained in them are even known to alter our hormones. However, the good news is that this issue can be remedied in two ways: By purchasing cleaning products from trustworthy eco-friendly companies that do not use any harsh chemicals or toxic ingredients in their products, as can be seen in this TreeHugger slideshow, or by creating your own at home. Personally we prefer the latter because it saves you money, limits your waste by reusing bottles, and protects your health because you know exactly what you are putting into your environment and in the air.

Take a look below to see our top 5 personal favorite DIY Cleaning products:

Image courtesy of lushsg.com

All-Purpose Cleaner: 

Mix 9 parts water + 1 part white vinegar in a spray bottle and shake. Feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to make the mixture smell more pleasant.

Air Freshener: 

Combine 1 tablespoon of baking soda + 15-20 drops of essential oil (choose your favorite scent) in a bowl and mix well. Next add two cups of water to the mixture and stir together until the baking soda is dissolved. Pour the whole mixture in a spray bottle and spritz around the house, as needed.

Antibacterial Spray (great for Kitchen Bathroom):

An antibacterial spray is great and goes beyond our favorite all-purpose cleaner DIY. Fill a spray bottle with ¼ cup of water + ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide + 40 drops of tea-tree oil + 10 drops of another essential oil like orange or lemon and shake together to combine.

Laundry Powder:

Combine ½ cup of soap flakes (can be grated from a bar of soap you have on hand) + ½ cup of borax and ½ cup washing soda, and place them in a jar that has an airtight lid. When you wash your clothes only use ½ to 1 tablespoon per load, and keep in mind that this laundry powder was created for warm-water loads, so we are not positive of the effectiveness of it for cold-water washes.

Window Cleaner

Mix ¼ cup of vinegar + 2 cups of water + ½ teaspoon of all natural liquid soap in a spray bottle and shake well. Spritz the mixture onto windows as needed, but try to avoid cleaning your windows on extremely hot days, as it can leave streaks.

Let us know if you are able to try any of the above DIY ideas out and tell us what you think! Also, check out this great DIY infographic for even more do it yourself cleaning product ideas. Huffington Post also created a great infographic about 4 products you should always have in your home, but we cut one of them out of the diagram as can be seen below (petroleum jelly) as it is not an eco-friendly nor a sustainable resource, and we don’t think you should be smearing yourself in something that blocks toxins from getting out of your skin anyway. The other three ingredients in this infographic are great to have around the home. They are so versatile we don’t know why you wouldn’t want to have them around and make as much use of them as possible.

Original image curtesy of huffingtonpost.com

Original image curtesy of huffingtonpost.com

Happy Spring cleaning little green fairies and let’s thank Mother Nature by showing her some tender loving care starting at home sweet home!

Throughout history women’s bodies have been cherished, criticized and molded into “perfection.” However, what is considered “perfection” if beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

Is perfection thin, curvy, big breasts, small breasts, or a tiny waist? The popular Internet news media company Buzzfeed created a video compilation in January titled “Women’s Ideal Body Types Throughout History” to explore what perfection and beauty standards were for women during different historical periods.

All of the women in the video wore white leotards to showcase and focus solely on the female body. The video starts out in Ancient Egypt and takes the viewers through various time periods, like the Renaissance and Flapper Period, until it reaches modern day and reveals today’s ideal body shape. According to current standards, the epitome of perfection is a large butt and breasts, flat stomach, “healthy skinny”, and the thigh gap.

Today’s “beautiful”. Image courtesy of buzzfeed.

However, today’s beautiful will be tomorrow’s “ugly” and that is what Buzzfeed’s video tries to demonstrate to viewers. Ideal body types are simply trends, and as we all know, trends go as quickly as they come. In the clip we see that in only a matter of a few decades a woman is praised for how plump she is, and then later scoffed at for not being thin enough.

Ideal female body shapes since 1910. It is important to note how quickly beauty standards shifted between the years. Image courtesy of dbreath.com

Ideal female body shapes since 1910. It is important to note how quickly beauty standards shifted between the years. Image courtesy of dbreath.com

The video received lots of positive, as well as harsh, feedback. The people who commented negatively on the clip seemed to have missed the point of the compilation, and preferred to focus on criticizing the women by comparing them to contemporary beauty norms.

Women have gone through extreme measures for millennia to try to obtain “perfection” according to what society, culture, as well as the media deem appropriate. Although today’s “ideal” or “acceptable” female body type is nearly impossible to achieve without the help of plastic surgery and extreme diets, the good news is that many people are fighting back and are tired of trying to live up to challenging standards. Some companies like Dove for example, empower women through their “Real Beauty” campaigns by showing us that all bodies and races are beautiful, and that no one should be ashamed of how they look.

Dove Real Beauty Campaign. Women are celebrated for their beauty no matter their size, shape or race. Image courtesy of visiblemeasures.com

So, the question still remains: What is the “ideal” or “acceptable” body type that a woman should strive for? You are all gorgeous Green Goddesses, fierce women inside and out and we at Maxim Hygiene strive to help you feel and believe that. That’s why we also make feminine hygiene products that not only range in absorbency but also in shape and size to fit the needs of all you gorgeous ladies.

We personally believe that there is no “ideal” body apart from the one you already have. You do not need to conform to societal pressures to be “accepted.” The only person you need to accept is yourself. Feel strong and proud of who you already are! It is important to be healthy, so paying attention to what you eat as well as regular exercise are essential, but the actual shape of your body and “what your mama gave you” should just be “shaken” and needs not to be altered to make you feel beautiful.

Go out and rock that fierce woman in you and don’t let any negativity from society stop you from feeling anything less than fabulous!

Courtney Kenny Porto

Courtney Kenny Porto

The Feminist Art Movement began in the late 1960s as a way for women to find their voice through art and have their work showcased in galleries. Before this movement, the art world was very male-dominated and women were rarely given the opportunity to publicly display their work. Feminist art was meant to be very thought provoking, as well as influential in altering archaic ways of thinking and putting a stop to social stigmas and taboos.

The Feminist Art Movement has come a long way and there are still artists paving the way in empowering women and promoting social change through their work, which is how and why we chose Courtney Kenny Porto as our Fierce Woman of the Month.

Courtney’s feminist inspired artwork is fueled by her own unique experiences of being a woman and the taboo topics that come along with that. She draws inspiration for her art from everyday life, societal pressures, phobias and the human form. Courtney uses lots of unique mediums for her work like yarn, and enjoys experimenting with new materials. In her artist statement she says, “I believe that in order to be truly genuine, artists must portray ideas and concepts that are close to their own heart. The truly powerful artists do this in such a way that others are also able to deeply relate. This is my objective.”

She Was a Flower by Courtney Kenny Porto

She Was a Flower by Courtney Kenny Porto

Courtney’s most recent work clearly meets her objective as a feminist artist and is currently being featured in an exhibit called “I Heard She’s a Feminist.” She created a mini series of three large tampon prints that are being displayed at the exhibit and the names of the prints are “What is it”, “It’s a Tampon” and “Sorry I Asked”. In last week’s post, “Are Periods Taboo?,” we discussed that people do often see menstruation as taboo. Ms. Porto produced these tampon prints with the objective to expose people to this social stigma, encourage them to fight against it and start viewing periods as a normal part of a woman’s life.

Life Cycle with artist

Courtney Kenny Porto and her three original tampon prints

At Maxim Hygiene we want women to feel proud of their bodies and especially their periods. Through her art, Courtney is doing a great job of shedding some light on our values and moving the The Feminist Art Movement forward.

If you are in the Omaha area, we encourage you to stop by the Connect Gallery to check out Courtney’s work. An Artist Reception will be held Friday March 20th from 5:30-9 PM at the gallery. The exhibit is running through March 28th.

To gain more insight on Courtney’s artwork and what inspires her, check out our exclusive interview below .

At Maxim Hygiene, we define a Fierce Woman as a “glorious female creature whose idea of beauty is hinged upon the idea that she can change the world with each choice, each moment and each breath of her life.” Who in your life is a Fierce Woman and why?

My mom is a Fierce Woman in my life. She is a woman who leads by example. Her confidence and unhinged individuality make her an excellent role model for me as well as any other woman who is lucky enough to cross paths. She has always been someone who believes in the importance of feeling empowered and has taught me to empower myself both as an artist and a woman.

She Was Alone by Courtney Kenny Porto

She Was Alone by Courtney Kenny Porto

Your tampon prints that will be exhibited at your upcoming gallery opening in March are meant to desensitize people from thinking of menstruation as something “bad” or “strange” and allow them to accept that it is a natural part of life – Do you often try to push people to fight against socially accepted taboos? What was your inspiration for this particular exhibit?  Did you spend a lot of time examining tampons to help shape your rendering of one?

I do often try to push people to fight socially accepted taboos with my work, sometimes very subtly, and (as with my tampon pieces) sometimes not so subtly. My best pieces depict a message I feel passionate about. My inspiration for this exhibit was a collection of my experiences as a woman as well as some of my feminist beliefs. I spent months knowing that I wanted to make art somehow pertaining to tampons, but it took several failed attempts and weeks of studying different types of tampons to find out what it is that makes a tampon recognizable as a tampon before I eventually landed on the idea to pull prints from them.

What is the most rewarding part about being a female artist?

The most rewarding part of being an artist in general for me is two-fold. First, the finished piece – at the risk of sounding completely arrogant, I spend quite a bit of time staring at my own recently finished work. It’s always exhilarating to be able to see how it finally came together in spite of all of the struggle, confusion, self-doubt and frustration in the process. The second most rewarding part of being an artist is watching others view my work and either take away exactly what I had intended, or something completely different than I had ever thought of. I love listening to others’ interpretations of my work. I love evoking conversation, and I love making people think. As far as being a female artist, I don’t know that the most rewarding part is any different than it would be for a male artist.

Are there any other female artists that inspire you? If yes, what do you like most about their work? 

One female artist who continues to inspire me is Mary Kay. One of my favorite qualities of Kay’s work is her use of metaphor. Taken at surface value, her work is beautiful for its luscious colors, painterly brushstrokes and textures, but on a deeper level, these works contain powerful stories about life, death and insemination. Aside from the merit of her work, Mary Kay herself is an inspiration to me. She is a beautiful person who is not only a wealth of knowledge, but also someone who uses much of her time to help and encourage others.

What interests you most about feminism?

I am interested most in feminism from a social and cultural perspective. The term feminism means different things to different people, and unfortunately it has been misrepresented in some instances. This misrepresentation has lead to a negative connotation for some people. I am happily married, am not a “man hater” in any sense of the term, and do not want to act like a man or dress like a man. For me, feminism is about respect (both from others and from self), pride (of a woman’s body, mind, and everything that it is to be a woman), and embracing differences (the unique characteristics that we hold as women). It is not about trying to be a man, but is instead about being proud to be a woman.

Where do you see your artwork evolving in the future? For example, I know you currently use yarn in some of your work, do you plan on using other unique mediums?

It’s hard to predict where my work will evolve in the future. Had you asked me a few years ago, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed I’d be using yarn. That being said, there are certain ideas and concepts that continue to appear in my work over and over, much like a reoccurring dream. One such concept is the juxtaposition of a pop of color amidst a grey-scale majority; another is the comparison of a blooming flower to a young woman. It is also likely that feminism, femininity and women will continue to play a large role in my work.

As an artist I enjoy experimentation. When viewing my different bodies of work, it is clear that I refuse to stick to one medium and I assume that will always be the case. I enjoy variation and the challenge that it brings. Each medium possesses something unique. Each has its own challenges and virtues. I am currently having fun with the use of caulk in some of my work. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but there is something liberating about caulk. In other words, yes, I think it is safe to say that I plan on using other unique mediums in the future.

Much thanks to Courtney for inspiring us to not only be Fierce Women, but creative Fierce Women. We invite you, our fellow Green Queens, to join in on the fun by sharing your most favorite and “fierce” feminist art pieces.

Image courtesy of services.filkie.com

Image courtesy of services.filkie.com

Any female who is past puberty will know the trials and tribulations that come with “womanhood.” The first time a girl gets her period it is an extremely unnerving and strange feeling, as she realizes that she is no longer little and will be “stuck” with bleeding for about a week, once a month, for at least the next thirty or forty years.

Periods are never any fun for anyone – PMS, menstrual cramps, leaks, the list is endless.

….SCREECH, HALT, EEEK, NOOOO!!!!!…..

This is EXACTLY the type of taboo conversation around menstruation we at Maxim Hygiene Products have been crusading against for the past seven years! We like to create positive perspectives around menstruation, encouraging women and girls to think of them as triumphs and tokens of love, rather than “trials and tribulations.”

Written accounts of menstruation date back to Ancient civilizations. Despite the thousands of years that have passed and as loud as Maxim has been, it seems this sort of sentiment around menses is still happening. Let’s look a little more deeply as to why this might be happening…

Many religions view menstruation as “unclean” and often try to restrict women from doing certain activities like having sex or entering places of worship. Numerous third world countries also struggle with accepting this natural bodily function as something as “normal” and many girls often find themselves being taunted or unable to go to school due to their periods. Access to the proper feminine hygiene products is another major issue for various women around the world, and the lack of education and frankness regarding menstruation has led society to create a social stigma around it.

Image courtesy of thealternative.com

When we look at history and delve deeper into the way menstruation was viewed in the past, we find that women did not always have the short end of the stick (or tampon ;) ). In certain civilizations females were often worshipped during their periods, and even seen as powerful with psychic capabilities that could perform miracles. According to Alain Corbin, the scent of menstrual blood in 1700s France was even considered to be seductive, as it was a sign that a woman was fertile. This way of thinking was very encouraging and proof that society is actually capable of embracing this important part of a woman’s life. According to a recent article in New York Magazine that received a lot of attention, it seems that not much has changed in today’s society in regards to this aspect except that it’s taken somewhat of a different form – male “bloodhounds” seeking out period sex.

In addition to Maxim Hygiene Products, there are many other organizations and people trying to alter today’s hush-hush mentality regarding menstruation and are making positive strides in the process. For example, two teen girls recently created a video game called “Tampon Run” that is meant to raise awareness about the period taboo, and more and more women in sports are trying to help females feel more comfortable talking about “Aunt Flo” or “Aunt Rose” without having to use those euphemisms. Annabel Croft, a tennis player, and Carol Smilie, a TV presenter, came together in 2012 to create a product that would allow women to stop feeling embarrassed about menstrual or bladder leaks, with their “Diary Doll” underwear. A brief look at the customer comments regarding the undergarment makes it appear as if it is a dream come true for many females.

Photo courtesy of diarydoll.com

At Maxim Hygiene we believe that females should not hide nor abstain from talking about their periods openly, and we applaud all of the efforts people are trying to make to change the menstrual taboo. Next week we will feature a feminist female artist in our blog that tackles this subject first hand through her artwork. Come back next week to see the strides she is making towards empowering women and making the world an overall better place.

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