Dear Diva International,
I have just returned from my local food co-op where I finally picked up one of your reusable menstrual cups. I had a Keeper when I was in high school but it disappeared after only a few months (I think someone in my house thought it was a tub stopper and chucked it) and I never bothered to replace it as I'd discovered sea sponges and was happy using them as blood-catchers for quite some time. When I heard that the Diva cup existed, that it was like the Keeper only made out of silicone - which is boilable - in lieu of rubber, I made a mental note to get my hands on one someday. Looks like today was the day.
I eagerly opened the package upon my arrival home and pulled out the "usage guide" to make sure that the idea I had in my head of what to do was correct. And that's when I noticed something that really struck me as being problematic - it was the language that was used in the directions. Here, I'll quote a bit:
Do you see what I see? Acceptable-to-talk-about-at-the-dinner-table body parts follow the word your, while "private parts" and the like get a clinical-sounding the. Sadly, the sound of this is not particularly unfamiliar to me, but I was surprised to see it in your pamphlet. In my humble opinion, this language serves to maintain a distancing between womyn and the parts of their bodies that we as a culture aren't particularly comfortable with. This seems to negate one of the benefits of a product that requires womyn to get pretty friendly with their cooches indeed.
I checked out the French side of the directions, and noticed an inconsistent "le" and "vos" preceding les partis du corps. (I am no expert in French translation, so there's nothing much to say here.)
Please don't take my criticism the wrong way. As a founding member of the (no-longer existent) PussyWillow Feminist Health Collective, I am thrilled to introduce other femstruating folks to alternatives to carcinogenic, environmentally insensitive, nasty-corporation-produced tampons and pads. I'm supportive of womyn getting more in touch (literally and figuratively) with the rhythms of their bodies, I just think it'd be great if you examine the language you use and the potential profundity of its meaning.