March 8 marks a momentums day for women all across the world. This day we celebrate the progress women have made, against all social currents and odds, throughout the last hundred of years till now. While we think it is 100% necessary to celebrate the fruits of all waves of feminism, it is important to not lose sight of the long journey ahead of us, in search for fairness, justice and equality. In the next few weeks we highlight some amazing women in Hong Kong – first up is Olivia Cotes-James, Founder and CEO of LUÜNA Naturals.
I’m the founder and CEO of LUÜNA, the social impact period care company, led by women. We exist to make periods better- for our bodies, our planet and for our sisters in need. I started the company to tackle the widespread use of toxic, plastic-filled period products which most women, myself included, have used for years without knowing the negative impact they have on our health & our planet.
I was furious when I found out after almost a decade of using them, that my tampons contained polyester, rayon and conventional cotton grown with carcinogenic pesticides. I stopped using them because I was, well, disgusted, and perhaps unsurprisingly, as soon as I did the irritations I’d suffered for years stopped.
Today, more research is coming out to link these synthetic products with serious health issues like endocrine hormone disruption in women, and more attention given to the fact these materials take upwards of 100 years to degrade. Bad news for our bodies and our planet.
So we developed healthy organic cotton tampons, pads and liners that are free of the dangerous toxins and synthetics found in big brand products, as well as our amazing 100% medical-grade silicone period cup. We provide these products alongside taboo-free education within corporates, organisations, schools and universities, to help normalise conversations about periods across the world.
As a social impact company, our business model provides reusable period care and educational workshops to those in need for every organic cotton subscription or period cup we sell.
There are so many ways we can pursue female empowerment, but through my work, with LUÜNA I have become focused on the oppressiveness of attitudes towards our bodies that persist today, even in supposedly ‘forward-thinking’ cultures. In my view, it is this archaic perception of our fundamental female biology which poses the biggest barrier to the advancement of women and girls, inclusive of our periods, our sexual pleasure and our female health. The foundations of true female empowerment should be built upon a new understanding, one that says our bodies should not be considered ‘other’ against the male paradigm of ‘strength,’ but celebrated as powerful in their own right.
In my view, it is the oppressive perception of our female bodies as “different” that poses the biggest barrier to our advancement as women and girls. Male and female biology is distinct yes, but too often one is regarded as normal, as the default, and the other as “different.” Whether we are considering the fact that airbags are fitted and designed without breasts in mind, or how menstruation affects us and our needs as women, or even our sexual pleasure. True equality begins when our bodies stop being held up as ‘other’ against the male paradigm and are celebrated as powerful in their own right.
Wearing Trainers, with anything, makes me feel empowered. It could be jeans and a t-shirt or a silk jumpsuit, but add Trainers and chunky gold jewellery, and I’m set.
|Chloé | FR 34||Balenciaga | EU 36||Georg Jenson|
Stay tuned for more incredible women and their stories!