Number 8: it could save you €6000.
Or any other type of menstrual protection for that matter. Instead the blood collects on the woman’s underwear or clothes.
Nope, women have in fact been free bleeding for centuries. Sanitary products like pads and tampons only hit the mainstream back in the 1930s. Before this date many women would have used materials worn outside their clothes to collect the blood, much the same way free bleeding works today.
Anti-feminist organisation 4Chan launched a campaign called Operation Free bleeding. While the campaign was designed to provoke anger from around the web, it had the opposite effect and brought free bleeding back to the fore in a positive way.
Not everyone can wear tampons and many women find sanitary pads uncomfortable. Others find menstrual cups inconvenient due to the constant washing they require (not the kind of thing we want to be doing in the office sink) and so for some free bleeding can seem like the logical choice.
Here in Ireland we’re pretty lucky that when our lady flow comes to town we just have to nip to the shops to pick up a packet of pads or tampons, but that’s not the case everywhere. In 2015, Kiran Gandhi free-bled while running the London Marathon to raise awareness of the lack of access to sanitary products in other parts of the world.
Once you’ve popped that pad into the bin, you probably don’t think about it again, but sanitary waste is a big issue, with women throwing away an average of seven pounds of feminine hygiene products each every year. After running the London Marathon last year Kiran Gandhi voiced her environmental concerns. “Women’s bodies have never been burdensome to the Earth, and the products we use to care for ourselves should not be either,” she said.
Free bleeding doesn’t mean ruining every pair of sweat pants you own. In response to its increased popularity, special period underwear has flooded the market. Basically, they’re pants with extra reinforced material that soak up the excess liquid.
€200 is the average amount Irish women spend on sanitary products each and every year. Over a lifetime, free bleeding for the duration of your period could save you roughly €6000.