The Listserve is a email chain lottery – 11,600 people and counting have signed up. Each day, one subscriber is chosen at random to send one email to the whole list. Today, on the third day of the project, that person was Adrienne Stortz. She wrote about menstrual cups. For thousands of people.
Why? Stortz tells BuzzFeed Shift in an email: “I really am passionate about spreading the word and making life better for ladies around me.”
Making life better for ladies through a cup that collects menses? Interesting.
Stortz’s email to The Listserve, entitled “Be A Diva,” extolled the virtues of the menstrual cup, commonly referred to as a Diva Cup, a tampon alternative that collects menstrual fluid, instead of absorbing it. The concept makes many women – and certainly most men – a little squeamish, but a number of the women who do use them are outspoken advocates. Stortz is certainly one of those. As she wrote in the email:
Most ladies have grown up knowing that there are two ways to deal with periods: pads and tampons. The “feminine hygiene” aisle at most stores reinforces this, and each month we drop up to $30 on an assortment of items with wings and strings to be strategically packed into hidden pockets of purses. There is a better way…Diva Cups (my brand of choice, but there’s also The Keeper, Moon Cup, and other brands) are a complete game changer. Buy it once for about $35, and use it for 10 years. You can leave it in for up to 12 hours, and it will hold quite a lot (even for those of us who are blessed with ‘extra super plus’ volumes of fun each month). Rinse it out in the sink, pop it back in, and you are good to go.
Think it’s too gross? Nope. You can handle it. And if you can’t, just do it while squinting and saying, “Ew, ew, ew, ew.” The actual amount of liquid involved in all of this turns out to be less than you might expect, once you see it in a little cup.
If you had the captive attention of thousands of people for a brief period of time, what would you write about? Stortz, who lives in Brooklyn, NY and works as a social media manager, says her initial inclination was to “do something light and non-controversial.” She thought of sharing a favorite recipe for ginger juice that she’d just perfected.
Instead, she chose the Diva Cup. “I tend to be a proselytizer anyway, and share a lot of opinions about how people can best do things both online and offline,” she explains. “The topic of Diva Cups is one that always seems to come up with women at the end of the night after a few drinks (and if it’s really late, I’ll tell men, too!)”
Stortz’s email got the kind of mockery and negative response you’d expect. She got one response with the subject line “Fuck You,” and a message that read: “The list isn’t for your cheap add advertising attempts.” And as The Observer pointed out, Listserve subscribers took to Twitter to air their grievances over the… period piece.
Other responses (she received 25 in total) were more positive, from women (and even men!) who were Diva Cup fans or were interested in buying them. One woman even wrote: “Also, and this is gross (but maybe not to you?) there is nothing, NOTHING, like that velvety oxblood color. I want a couch that color.”
Stortz’s email may have irked some people, and there’s no way to say for certain whether she actually succeeded in creating any Diva Cup converts, but her approach – to talk about things that “come up… after a few drinks” is frankly a welcome one. On the first day, a Swedish man offered convoluted advice about accepting failure and appreciating the small things, like fancy tomato sauce. Or something. And yesterday, just the second day of this experiment, the lucky email writer shared this poem:
The softest sound of worship;
The things we can’t possess
Are without plan or purpose,
Yet do sometimes suggest
The reason in our figures,
The meaning of our call,
And though we cannot calculate
We know the sum of all.
So, you tell me – what would you rather read: some lady’s funny Diva Cup rant or some guy’s terrible poetry?