The current research examined psychological factors that contribute to interest in unconventional menstrual products, including the commonly studied menstrual cup, but also menstrual underwear, reusable pads, and the menstrual sea sponge. Because unconventional menstrual products are reusable and require cleaning, they are less convenient than conventional menstrual products, requiring more contact with one’s body and menstrual fluids during menstruation. Therefore, people who feel that menstruation is bothersome and disgusting/shameful or people who self-objectify are unlikely to be interested in these products. In contrast, people with more pro-environmental attitudes might find reusable products more appealing. Pro-environmentalism involves significant consideration for others; therefore, those who value communion could also be drawn to these products. Thus, this survey assessed whether interest in unconventional menstrual products was related to negative menstrual attitudes, increased self-objectification, communal values, and concern for the environment. Through the online platform Prolific Academic, this study recruited 269 English-speaking participants between ages 18 and 45 who experienced menstruation within the last year. Correlations revealed partial support for the hypotheses that positive menstrual attitudes and pro-environmental attitudes would be related to more interest in unconventional menstrual products. Additionally, qualitative data from open-ended responses provided supplemental information regarding rationale for (dis)interest in these products. Though experimental research is needed, these findings contribute to the limited existing literature and suggest that promoting positive menstrual attitudes and environmental awareness might be beneficial in diverting environmental harm created by the consumption of conventional menstrual products.
Dr. Laura R. Ramsey, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown, Committee Member
Prof. Stephanie Penley, Committee Member
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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Sullivan, Jessica. (2021). Going Against the Flow: Attitudes Related to Interest in Unconventional Menstrual Products. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 495. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/495
Copyright © 2021 Jessica Sullivan