Do You Have Low Menstrual Esteem? Here’s How to Know and How to Stop It

Abiola Abrams
xoJane

I spoke to Yoni Cup inventor Lori Angel about menstruation empowerment.

For years I have been an evangelist for us taking a different approach to our menstrual cycles. How we approach almost one week a month for almost 40 years of our lives is important. You can’t love yourself fully and have shame, blame, guilt or disgust related to your bodily functions as a woman. We’ve heard the negative and derogatory joke, “don’t trust anything that bleeds and doesn’t die”, right? Let’s reframe that to anyone who can bleed for days and still thrive MUST be magical and powerful.

Lori Angel is the inventor of the Yoni Cup and other upcoming menstruation-related empowerment products such as the Cycle Beads. Her mission is to help black women to have higher “menstrual esteem.” Yes!

Thank you for this important work, Lori. You created the term “low menstrual esteem.” Tell us more.

Low menstrual esteem is the result of women being shamed and oppressed with the reality of having a week or so per month of bleeding and other related symptoms. In this modern day, women are not allowed to talk about their menses without some level of disgust and judgment being the punishment.

Women have learned from organized religion as well as the entertainment industry and our mothers’ mis-education that we do not discuss menstrual cycles…period. Even if it is killing us. Low menstrual esteem comes in the form of feeling a lack of self confidence during the 3-7 days of menstruation per month.

Subconsciously those feelings linger on longer than the menstrual cycle lasts. Those low vibrational thoughts and feelings create imbalances in the sacral chakra energy center and may manifest as infections, cancers and other toxic manifestations in the womb space.

Well said, Lori. It’s so important to our mental and physical health to give loving attention to our sacral chakra area, including the womb space. What inspired you to do this work and to create the Yoni Cup?

In 2012, I was searching high and low for the tools I needed to become a liberated and healthier black woman. I discovered the menstrual cup from my mentor, “Diva Mama Tonya.” She introduced me to many healthy and feminine ways to take care of myself.

When I got my first menstrual cup I couldn't believe how amazing having a menstrual cycle had become with the cup. However, I noticed that some of the other available cups are not 100% medical grade silicon and many have some plastic contents in them. So I set out to manufacture my own brand of healthier menstrual cups which gave rise to the new brand Yoni Cups.

Beautiful! Why do you think that this is such a taboo topic among black women? When I had my menarche (first period), my otherwise loving and attentive mother taught me nothing about menstruating.

Black women are taught the bare minimum about menstruation. Most of our mothers give us a pack of maxi-pads with an attitude of fear of us getting pregnant since we now are fertile.

They don’t consider inviting over other menstruating women to celebrate and having us all wear shades of red and do some sort of rites of passage into womanhood as some of the women in the eastern hemisphere do to celebrate this time in a young woman's life. We are left to learn from peers, ads and whatever else we experience. This stains our menstrual consciousness for eternity.

Indeed. That’s why we are so excited to share your work. A few years ago, I collaborated with acclaimed artist and friend Zelma Davis on an empowering Afrocentric fable and rites of passage ceremony about first periods and there was such a sense of taboo that we were celebrating our bodies in this way. Tell us about the Yoni Cup and how we use it.

Yoni Cup is a menstrual cup. It is a healthier alternative to maxi pads and tampons. It is made from 100% medical grade silicon, therefore rendering it very flexible, vaginal pH friendly, eco-healthy and very cost effective.

Yoni Cup sits snuggly in the vaginal canal beneath the cervix and it collects the menses instead of absorbing it. You insert the cup like you would a tampon and once you release it, it unfolds in your yoni and comfortably possesses the menses until it is time to remove the cup, empty it, wash it out and re-insert.

Yoni Cups cost just $35 and they last up to 10 years with proper care. They replace around 3,250 maxi pads or tampons.

What does the Yoni Cup mean to our sex lives and sexual health?

It has been proven that women who have switched to the Yoni Cup experience less vaginal dryness, less vaginal foul odors, less bacterial infections, shorter menstrual cycles, less menstrual cramping and an overall better quality of menses. All of these factors contribute to the health of a woman's sexuality. The healthier, the happier, the sexier.

Awesome. Thank you, Lori Angel. I also want to point out that you are a 100% African American woman-owned business. 

This post originally appeared on essence.com: Do You Have Low 'Menstrual Esteem’? Here’s How to Know and How to Stop it