Looncup Gives Your Vagina A Cyber Footprint

by Holiday Black

Okay…we need to talk about something: “they” are making a menstrual cup with Bluetooth and texting capacity. I’m talking a piece of silicone with some serious hardware in your yoni, and I’m not on some cyberpunk or George Orwell trip either. Introducing…the world’s first-ever smart menstrual cup: Looncup.

The cup has sensors, batteries, Bluetooth, and an antenna. Call me an alarmist conspiracy theorist but like, HELLO DUDE, our reproductive systems sort of control the whole world, and also are constantly under attack in EVERY WAY, OKAY?! THIS IS REAL. THE CIA IS GOING TO BE REPORTING FROM INSIDE YOUR VAGINIA. 

No, I’m kidding (sort of). But just saying—is this development good or bad? Ostensibly, the more information we have about our bodies the better, and I’m all for what helps women gain some leverage over our very politicized and specific healthcare concerns. The cup tracks flow, color, changes in body temperature, and allegedly also sends messages to your phone telling you when to go to the doctor. It tells you when your cup is full (lol) and also predicts when your next period will come. Over time the cup accumulates data, which it then compares across your cycle.  Sounds good right?

I mean, there’s definitely the secret part of me that wants to buy clay masks from some farm in Woodstock and massage my kale and like, Namaste the fuck out of my menstrual blood, or whatever. I do want to know what’s going on. And if knowing what color is inside my cup helps me do that, well, then, fine. I do worry about my menstrual health, mostly because when I go to get that shit checked out I’m usually treated with as much TLC as a Phillips head screwdriver. So, the Looncup has some benefits that I’m excited about.

But then there’s also this bacon, egg and cheese realist inside me that knows we live in a world of eclipsing privacy. I also know that the minute something is on your smartphone, “they” can access it. Yeah, data about your menstrual flow may seem pretty unassuming, but periods are important. The government knows that. Once something can be tracked, predicted, and monitored, then it can also be preyed upon. Pretty sure Edward Snowden would advise that we don’t put electronic tracking devices in our vaginas.

I’m stoked on the potential benefits of the Looncup, but it’s not something I want to dismiss as being innocuous, like Loonlab’s advertising video of a white woman forward-crawling through a country club swimming pool.  I think about the eugenics movement in Native American reservations in the 1970s—thousands of women were sterilized without consent. Women, as child-bearers, reproduce the workforce. We control how many people are available in an economy at a given time. So yeah, the state definitely has a stake in women’s health. There are a lot of reasons that surveillance might be a beneficial tool when it comes to the general misogynistic buzz of our current moment.

I think these questions are important because I value women’s health, and I value our right to control our bodies—a right that is, as we all know, constantly being hammered away. I think it’s important to consider what it means for this technology to enter our body. 

As I sit here and speculate the apocalyptic future, I’m also reflecting on the remarkably tasteless branding of looncup. Loon…what is that supposed to suggest? It feels like that old misogynistic trope that we women just get fucking batshit crazy while bleeding. I don’t really like receiving backhanded insults in a marketing scheme that also promises to help me “take back my freedom.” After all, it’s not the systematic patriarchy permeating our world, but my natural monthly cycle that’s hindering my liberation. Right? 

Photo credit: Looncup

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