It has been very recently that people started to spread the word about menstrual cups. A revolutionary menstrual product that women swear by once they try it. These little things are game-changers and have improved the menstrual cycle of many women around the world. You might think it’s recent that the world came up with menstrual cups, but, in fact, menstrual cups are older than our grandmothers. Let’s look into the history and the evolution of the #PeriodRevolution!
Surprisingly, in 1936, it was a man that actually brought forward the first concept of a menstrual product that collects your menstrual blood instead of absorbing it. His concept was a belt that was to be worn around the waist with a little bag attached to it, positioned just under the vagina externally. The idea was that the bag would collect your menstrual flow. Sounds simple enough as an idea, but… the laws of physics kind of make this hard to actually work and be accurate. The idea didn’t catch on.
In 1937, Leona Chalmers - now considered to be "The Grandmother of Menstrual Cups" - became the first person to introduce a product that collects your menstrual blood internally. Leona’s cups were made of latex rubber, and although quite revolutionary and reportedly an improvement upon traditional pads according to women who tried them, again, the idea didn’t catch on with most consumers. To the general public, it seemed strange and unfamiliar to wear a menstrual product inside of the body. This first patent of the menstrual cup ceased from production around World War II, as latex rubber became hard to come by, as it was needed for war supplies.
After the war, in the 1950’s, a menstrual cup brand under the name Tassette was introduced to the market, this time teaming up with medics and nurses to help them promote their product. Still, without the financial backing of the larger traditional menstrual pad companies, this new internal product was never able to gain the foothold in the market that a new concept needs in order to survive.
It wasn’t until these larger pad companies themselves decided to invest in an internally worn menstrual product (and one made from the same materials they were already accessing for their pads) that hearts and minds began to change. With their large scale advertising power, these companies successfully introduced the tampon as a better, more modern way for the working woman to manage her flow. The Tassette company faded from existence.
Where We Are Today
All along its journey, the cup never lost its small base of loyal users. In small group testing, women who use tampons and give cups a try most often report that they will continue to use the cup. When Tassett went out of business, letters from impassioned - and panicked! - users flooded the office, pleading for the last reserves of the reusable cups the company had on hand.
Fast forward to modern times, where taboos about menstrual talk and wearing internal menstrual products are fading quickly - and women are more empowered than ever with increasing consumer knowledge about the chemicals, bleaches and dangers associated with traditional pads and tampons. In the era of smart consumers, the menstrual cup has gained a wider, more appreciative audience. Combine this with the improved medical grade silicone of today, and the current “boom” in menstrual cups makes perfect sense.
This article is dedicated to the many women around the world who have joined the #CupLife - whether for their own health, the health of our planet, the ease of use, or one of plenty of other reasons - who help spread the good word to their sisters and loved ones. Here’s to winning hearts and minds for a better, more sustainable period product - without a big marketing budget - one period at a time