Ranty Friday — Pants

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Pants

Today’s post is not so fuelled by anger but by sadness really but it has made me really properly think this week and made me determined to do something about it.   And I guess rant that this is even a thing.

This morning I have been tweeting about being on a pants mission.  Tomorrow we are off to the ball (I feel like Cinderella) and I have a rather fitted dress.  And love handles that include the whole luggage department of John Lewis.  So I went off to Marks and Spencers and no word of lie when asked if I needed help said to the lovely lady “where are the suck it all in things”.   I was tired.  Words were failing me but she knew what I meant.

£20 later and I am sorted.  I have a new pair of pants.

But last weekend I was talking to a young girl in Kenya about pants and I just wanted to weep.   The project we were at was doing an amazing job of mentoring the girls and giving them support.   In all sorts of areas of their lives, and really helping these girls to turn their lives around.   But, with all things, there is still so much to do.  Still so many girls that need help.  And boys, let’s not forget the boys we met at HOVIC but this story concerns the girls.

Specifically periods. Periods are a fact for all girls.  No matter where we are in the world.  Thankfully those of us in the western world have access to the supplies we need. There are some awesome brands out there, really going the extra mile for tween and teen girls, such as Knixteen which sells period panties specifically for girls.  But imagine not having those necessary sanitary products. Imagine not going to school for one week every month because you are worried about what might happen or about being teased by the boys.

Or because you don’t have any pants.

Yeah.  There’s the killer line.   You don’t have any pants.

Can you imagine?  No.  Nor can I.    And this was the first time on any of these trips and in any of the situations we have been in that I have felt sad.   Lasting Change is happening.  It is all around Africa, women are being empowered to make positive changes to their families and are getting themselves out of poverty.  It really is happening and it is bloody brilliant to witness.   But whilst that happens there are still girls that don’t have pants.

Whilst I am spending £20 on one pair of pants to wear under a party dress.

That’s not right.   And it makes me sad.

And determined to do something about it.   I don’t know how yet, I can’t just walk into Asda and buy 400 pairs of pants and send them to Kenya.   But I am determined to do something about this one.

£1 for pants anyone?


Photo of pants courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • Don’t be sad about spending that on pants it’s just what we’re used to. What your doing out there will change people’s lives forever, it’s really quite inspiring. I’m really enjoying your updates and your courage to take part in such a great cause. Keep up the good work Mrs B!

  • Yes, there must be something that can be done about this. What about all those outlet stores, maybe they will donate some pants?

    I am on board and will help any way I can. I will try to come up with some ideas too.

    Best wishes,

    Cath x

  • It doesn’t matter how many times I read this, it just makes me so damn sad. Glad there are people like team Honk in the world, to make lasting changes xx

  • Oh that is beyond sad. I am quite particular about having not just pants but comfy pants. Count me in for some sort of pants collection drive! Meantime, enjoy the ball and appreciate your pants – you deserve good pants. Can I type pants one more time? PANTS

  • Surely we can do something about this. I don’t think collecting pants/donations for pants will be a problem – but is there a way to easily get them over to the people you met? #PantstoAfrica!

  • Whilst we live in a world where it feels OK to spend £20 on a pair of knickers it’s only when we balance it against other communities that if feels wrong. It isn’t our fault – it’s the fault of the power leaders in each of the countries (including our own). And yes, you can send 400 pairs of pants to Africa but it doesn’t solve the problem – however we/you can help highlight the issues (as you are doing) and get people to (a) donate and (b) lay pressure where it matters.

  • I am happy to donate some new pants at the danceathon! .. there are 2000 pairs right there if everyone donate just one pair!

    Having a teen that has just started her periods my heart breaks for these girls .. knowing my daughter own insecurities as mine had been at her age this is dreadful 🙁

  • I have no words… I just cannot even imagine being in that situation. I’m sure you will think of an amazing way to help and change that situation though.

  • LOVE this post. And you’re so like me – sometimes these stories seem SO huge with so much to do, and then something small hits you like a train. Like pants. And the injustice of how WE have pants for all occasions and yet those gorgeous girls don’t even have one pair and it affects their life THAT much that they have to miss a week of school. I’m sure there’s something we can do? *puts pants on head *replaces with thinking cap

  • Oh, this is indeed heartbreaking!

    I have to admit, I never realised it was quite as bad as them having no pants, but I have thought many a time about those girls and women who, like me, may have awful problems with their periods and no access to help for that. I mean in my teens I would only go 2-3 weeks between (agonising) periods… I’d have had no chance of getting anywhere if I lived somewhere without support. It has been hard enough here in the UK, facing discrimination on the workplace and trying all sorts of medical interventions, but I cannot imagine how much worse it could be for others… And that totally breaks my heart.

    But to think that even those girls and women who have relatively normal periods are still affected by them every single month because of something so small as having no pants… Well that’s just too much to even comprehend!!

    If you come up with an idea, T, let me know… I’ll be right there behind you xx

    • Me again… I was telling TJ about this in the car today and it suddenly dawned on me, perhaps it might be worth contacting companies that make cloth sanitary protection (CSP) to see whether they would consider getting involved, donating items etc. I mean pants are just the start of it, right? What if women could be provided with washable cloth sanitary towels and tampon alternatives which would mean that month after month they would have a way of keeping their pants and clothes free of the icky mess that periods make?

      For big companies like Cheeky Wipes and Mooncup it would be a great opportunity to get involved (bonus advertisement for them in return for donations!!) however it’s not just the big companies that could be targeted. Lots of WAHMs make their own cloth nappies and CSP. There are even “make your own kits” available to buy, with fabric and a pattern and instructions. Maybe we could get the crafty folk together for parties where everyone makes as many as they can? I know a US group who have “shoe cutting parties” where people get together and cut out pieces of fabric and send to a company who then make them into shoes and send them to Uganda to try and prevent people from getting foot related diseases from having to walk barefoot. Could we take a leaf out of their book and have CSP making parties?

      Just a thought… happy to help out in contacting companies and organising something if you like the idea.

  • This is possible. I want to help in whatever way I can. Your post has moved me to tears and that doesn’t happen often. Trust me. X

  • Hello again,

    I was just thinking about pants again!

    Is there any way we could link up with the comic relief distribution services to get the pants out across the areas needed? Or indeed any of the networks already set up, Band Aid, Oxfam etc…

    One of the main reasons we need to think of this quite early on is storage of the pants before we can send them out.

    We need to get good pants that last well, I know that M&S pants last and wash well but so do sloggi. I guess we need to contact PR depts of all of these types of companies to see if they would like to donate some pants.

    How many pairs of pants would we actually need? And what sort of sizes?

    Do we also need to think of reusable sanitary products? Are these viable? Not to be too graphic would they be able to clean them properly as if we are talking internal products such as moon cups it would be awful to cause any health issues when we are trying to help…

    Just still thinking really.

    If you want to carry on chatting you could follow me on Twitter (I already follow you) then I could DM you my email address) I am @cathvallely

    Best wishes,

    Catherine

  • Completely on board with this. Whatever we need to do. What would HOVIC recommend I wonder, that money is sent and things are sourced locally or buying here?