This week, Congresswoman Grace Meng pushes for more tampon transparency.



This Week in Women: Tell us What's in Our Tampons

This week, we’re exploring uncomfortable conversations for the greater good—hot button topics, such as societal expectations about women’s bodies, dealing with unexpected adversity, and laws around disclosing ingredients in tampons. On the note of embracing the awkward, Heineken paved the way for other brands by releasing a video that was the antidote to Pepsi’s ambiguous activism. Heineken effectively demonstrated the power of removing political prejudices to have an open-minded conversation over a beer with the #OpenYourWorld campaign. That said, it’s time for This Week in Women!

Jenni, Lena & America Talk Bodies at Tribeca Film Festival

At Tribeca Film Festival, Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham participated in a special talk about Girls and career rollercoasters as part of the “Tribeca Talks” line-up. America Ferrera moderated the discussion and directed the conversation towards what is becoming rather familiar territory for Dunham: discussing a “non-traditional” body and nudity on Girls.

“I’ve always been like Rihanna to myself. Like, I just have a great time with my own body,” Dunham said. “Some of the most love and compliments I’ve gotten have been from women who are considered to have perfect and beautiful bodies, who I think feel the constant pressure to maintain those bodies. They seemed to have felt freed in some way by seeing me just say ‘fuck it.’”

Ferrera shared her own experience, exploring how societal expectations can often times impede people from fully grasping the importance of a body of work. “Having played Ugly Betty on television, I got so much of, ‘You’re not ugly! You’re so pretty!’ […] in retrospect, I find it so messed up that through all of the work that I did, the thing that people thought was the bravest thing a woman could do on television was be ugly. I thought that was so indicative of something that was wrong in our culture and the way we were having a conversation about women.”

“It’s not about starting and ending with how we feel about our bodies,” Ferrera added. “To me, I feel like it’s more and more about: how do we get over the distraction of what our bodies are supposed to look like so we can go on to direct and write and produce and create?”

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg Explores Resilience and Adversity

Billionaire business woman, activist, and author Sheryl Sandberg’s second book hit stands this week and proved to be a bittersweet sequel of sorts from her canonized Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy reflects on a deeply personal topic for the Facebook COO after losing her husband of an unexpected heart attack in 2015, and the unexpected challenges that rose from his passing.

In an interview with NPR, Sandberg explained how she is more empathetic after experiencing loss. “I think in some ways I didn’t get it. When I wrote Lean In, I certainly thought about single mothers and single parents, and I wrote about that in the book,” Sandberg said. “But I also titled a whole chapter ‘Make Your Partner a Real Partner.’ And it wasn’t until I lost Dave that I really understood how hard that could be for someone who didn’t have one, the same way Father’s Day is so hard for us now. […] And I posted this last Mother’s Day and said I don’t think I understood this deeply enough. And I really believe we need to do better. Resilience is needed by everyone and hardship is not evenly distributed. People who are living with disadvantage and living in poverty face more to overcome and have fewer resources with which to overcome and we need to change both of those.”

In conjunction with her new book, Sandberg has launched—a deeply powerful online network that connects people to stories, groups, and resources.

U.S. Congresswoman Meng Pushes for More Transparency on Packaging 

U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng from New York City’s borough of Queens wrote an op-ed for Huffington Post this week about “supporting your rights to know what’s in your tampons or pads.”

“These products are either inserted into, or placed closely next to, sensitive female anatomy, and yet there is no requirement that their ingredients be made public! This lack of transparency prevents women from avoiding certain ingredients or chemicals and restricts informed consumer choice,” Meng wrote. “It’s simple: menstrual hygiene products should have their ingredients labeled. You have a right to know what’s in your tampon, just like you have the right to know what’s in your face cream, or contact solution, or deodorant.”

Congresswoman Meng will be co-hosting a public event with Women’s Voices for the Earth on May 23 at the Capitol in Washington D.C. to give more remarks about the bill.

Featured image via Marie Claire 

Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.

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