Chemicals Are Not For Pussies
Have you ever questioned your use of tampons, pads and panty liners? About a year ago, I came across an incredibly inspiring TEDxAmsterdamWomen speech by Mariah Mansvelt Beck and her mission to change the female hygiene industry.
Up until that point, the idea that something needed change in that sphere had never even crossed my mind, let alone that the tampons I’d been using for ten years were loaded with toxic ingredients!
Whatever we put in our bodies will affect it either positively or negatively. So it makes sense to think twice about what we use down there every month!
Green Rebels Interview
With Mariah Mansvelt Beck & Wendelien Hebly
Why did you start Yoni?
“When I, Mariah, turned 30 I found out I was developing cervical cancer. I met a specialist who advised me to start using organic cotton tampons and pads to prevent further irritation of that part of my body.
I was convinced but ran into a couple of issues. First of all, I could only buy the organic cotton option in a few eco-stores. Secondly, I started to wonder why I hadn’t heard about this option before.
But when I talked to friends I realised I wasn’t the only one thinking about their use of product. On a Sunday after having to bike around Amsterdam in the rain to buy my organic tampons I ended up sharing this story with Wendelien, one of my best friends (we’ve known each other for over 15 years now!).
This was a light bulb moment for the both of us. Right then and there the idea for Yoni was born.
We believe, that all women have the right to know what their products are made of and that every women should at least know about the alternatives.
We also believe that the organic cotton option should be readily available, next to the synthetic options on the mainstream shelves. And if no one else was doing it, then we would. So that’s what we did.
It took a couple of months of research in the evenings and in the weekends before making the big step of saying off our jobs. In the summer of 2013 we took a leap of faith and did just that because to make Yoni a succes we felt we really needed to dedicate our time and attention to the cause.”
What can you advise our readers to pay attention to when buying tampons, pads and panty liners?
“We would advise women to pay attention to the ingredients on the packaging of the products they buy ;) – We say this with a wink because we know you’re not going to find anything on the boxes of normal tampons, pads and panty liners. This is something we think needs to change and this is why we always say [for Yoni] what’s in the box, is on the box.[Mariah and Wendelien found out that most tampons and pads that are currently on the shelves include ingredients they shouldn’t and that these products fall under general EU product regulation. This means there are no specific rules on what’s allowed in the products but also not about what should or should not be mentioned on the packaging!]
The lack of transparency makes it hard for us women to know what we are exactly using in or near one of the most absorbent parts of our bodies. With our initiative we hope to make women aware of the fact there now is a transparent organic cotton option next to the synthetic options out there.
Especially if you are suffering from irritations (like 1/3 of us are!) it would definitely be worthwhile to consider trying a cotton option. Additionally, we would always advise women to use products with the lowest possible absorbency, to resist the possible temptation of using a product you can wear the entire day. And we’d also advise women against using e.g. panty liners every day and to look out for products with parfum added to them – these are all things that can lead to irritation and can mess with our bodies’ natural balance.”
What is your experience with skeptics and/or the industry?
“We’ve noticed that even in a progressive and open-minded country like the Netherlands feminine hygiene and menstruation in general are still real taboo topics. We’ve noticed this in particular with the media where we’ve often gotten the feedback that they love our mission and what we’re doing BUT that their readers aren’t waiting for an article about this topic.
We challenge this belief because in our experience the general public understands the importance of our message. This is reflected back in our overall sales as well as by the messages and reactions we receive on a daily basis from women in support of Yoni.
So we will continue to challenge and be creative in sharing our story – hoping the media will soon start to understand tampons, pads and panty liners are just as much of a care product as the next moisturiser out there. We really hope the next time a magazine discusses a new facial cream, they think twice and use that space to feature a product more of their readers definitely have experience with than this particular type or brand of cream.
We also team up with inspiring female creatives to come up with great contemporary ways to bring forward our mission. We just launched a series of short films with Ine & Sanne to explain the female cycle; the Cycle Series. And we aim to continue spreading our message in a distinctive and provocative way.”
How can we raise consciousness amongst as many women possible?
“Everyone can help us on our mission by simply sharing the story with the women you know. Pass the story on and feel free to drop us a line if you have questions, feedback or ideas – we really appreciate it (firstname.lastname@example.org)!”
When we found out your average tampons, pads and panty liners could contain synthetic materials, plastics, and toxics like chlorine bleach and pesticides we were shocked. This is why we started Yoni. We believe every woman should have the choice for healthier and environmentally friendlier tampons, pads and panty liners. That’s why we offer the organic cotton option. No plastics, no chlorine, no pesticides. Just cotton!
Please share this story with all the wonderful women (and men) in your life! They will thank you later ;) It’s time for a change. Let’s keep chemicals away from vaginas globally!
Currently, Yoni ships to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. They are working on reducing international shipping rates to expand their reach to other countries.
Photo Credit © Yoni