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Menstrual cups like the Lily Cup are safer and more environmentally friendly than tampons. You can also use them to make really cool origami.
If you’re looking for a surefire way to piss off feminist blog commenters, here’s a tip: Ask if they prefer menstrual cups or tampons. You will ignite a battle so explosive that it will make the comments on a post on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict look tame. That’s because women have surprisingly strong emotional attachments to their favorite menstrual products. For this reason, they’re sure to flock to the Lily Cup Compact, a collapsible menstrual cup that’s currently fundraising on Kickstarter.
Founded by the Swedish women’s “intimate health” brand Intimina, the Lily Cup is purportedly the first menstrual cup to raise money on Kickstarter. (It is not, however, the first menstrual product to use such a crowdsourcing platform. THINX, a startup that manufactures ultra-absorbent “period panties,” nearly doubled its fundraising goal when it launched its Indiegogo campaign back in 2013.) The product is functionally similar to other menstrual cups like the Diva Cup or Moon Cup: It’s a silicone cup that you fold up and insert into the vagina, so it collects menstrual flow. (It’s also really, really fun to do origami with, just FYI.)
The primary difference between this and other cups is that the Lily Cup is collapsible, meaning it can be folded up into a flat, disc-like shape and inserted into a small container that looks like a tin of lip balm. In this sense, it’s much more discreet and portable than a Diva Cup, which you can pretty much only carry around in its accompanying velvet bag. (Or in a plastic sandwich bag, which I was once forced to use when I lost the bag that came with my Diva Cup. For the sake of SFW-ness, I won’t elaborate further, but never again, ladies. Never again.)
Although menstrual cups haven’t quite gone mainstream yet—more than 70 percent of women opt for tampons, according to one study—they’ve developed a cult-like following among many women, who rave about their distinct advantages over pads or tampons. For one thing, a menstrual cup can be worn for up to ten hours before it should be rinsed out and reinserted, as opposed to tampons, which most professionals recommend should be removed after four to eight hours.
Furthermore, because they’re reusable, menstrual cups are more environmentally friendly than pads or tampons. According to the book Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, the average woman goes through about 250 to 300 pounds of menstrual waste—meaning “pads, plugs, and applicators”—during her lifetime. The average menstrual cup, however, lasts for years: According to Intimina, one Lily Cup “do[es] the job” of more than 1,625 pads or tampons.
With these advantages in mind, it’s easy to see how a menstrual cup like the Lily Cup would garner attention from female donors on Kickstarter. Indeed, it seems like the campaign is already off and running: Since launching earlier this week, the page has already raised more than $4,000, or more than half of its $7,800 goal. Let the menstrual cup revolution begin! Just don’t carry it in a Ziploc bag. Seriously, you’ll regret it.
H/T Intimina/Kickstarter | Screengrab via Intimina/Kickstarter
EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.