Menstruation happens for roughly half of the global population — always has, always will. But despite the fact that bleeding from the vagina is a truly awe-inspiring biological process that’s central to the continuation of human life on this planet, “society” has long deemed menstruation dirty, shameful, impure — and even inherently evil.
Back in the day, before feminine hygiene products became a thing, women got creative during menstruation, using scraps of fabric, tree bark, sheep’s wool, sea sponges, and other naturally absorbent materials to hide their blood.
Happily, in modern times, Americans are doing a pretty good job of destigmatizing menstruation — people who bleed from their vaginas generally aren’t labeled witches or sent away to live in a hut for a week. That’s largely because in the 1920s, the world’s dudes realized that they could make an absolute bloody killing helping bleeding ladies hide their curse. And they were right.
Today, the feminine hygiene market is making a lot of folks — mostly non-bleeders, I’m sure — super duper rich. Fortune Business Insights predicts that by 2027, the global feminine hygiene product market will be worth $51 billion. While this “blood money” scheme is great for huge corporations like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Kimberly-Clark, it’s not so great for the earth.