We've all been dealing with a menstrual period for quite some time, and many of us know a lot about the best pads, tampons, and cups that work for our cycles and respective lifestyles. But did you know that a black woman actually revolutionized the menstrual pad in its early inception and was able to patent five inventions, more than any other African American woman in history?
Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, who grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and inventors, bought her first patent, which was for the sanitary belt, in the 1950s---well before disposable pads would become the norm. It featured a "moisture-proof napkin pocket" that would help women avoid leaks that ruin their clothes. Discrimination would keep Kenner from becoming rich from her pursuits, according to reports, but she did it for the love and was still a pioneer as a black female patent-holding inventor.
Here are five other black women who have been leaders in the realm of women's menstrual health and have empowered black women around the world to take charge of their own reproductive advocacy:
Image via Ruby Love
Crystal Etienne founded this company, formerly known as PantyProp, to offer undergarments with absorbancy that gets rid of the need for tampons or pads. The brand is even one of the first to offer swimwear (I live!) and has an amazing backstory of entrepreneurial triumph. Etienne took $25,000 to start the company in her home in 2015 and reportedly made $300,000 in its first year. It would eventually see sales upwards of $10 million by its third year. Along with period underwear, the brand has period kits, activewear, and double-sided pads, and it recently landed a $15 million investment deal to continue the company's expansion.
Image via Instagram/@iambeadixon
This brand includes tampons and pads that are chemical-free, 100% cotton, and herbal-infused. They also have feminine care feminine care systems (with the same awesome qualities) that feature wipes and washes to cleanse, refresh, soothe, and balance, and you can take a quiz to figure out what system works for your needs. Beatrice Dixon founded the company after struggling with bacterial vaginosis---a common condition that affects 29% of women ages 14-49 and has a higher prevalence among black women (51%) than their white counterparts (23%). After not being able to find remedies that were natural and effective, she decided to be the change she wanted to see. After "an ancestor" visited her in a dream, she worked to formulate plant-based products for the nether-regions, and The Honey Pot Co. was born.
Image via Black Women's Health Imparative
Linda Goler Blount oversees the strategy and implementation of this organization's initiatives which work toward health equity and reproductive justice for black women. Last year, the BWHI launched an initiative called the Positive Period! Campaign, raising funds to provide 2,000 menstrual cups for women and girls in Kigali, Rwanda and Atlanta, Ga. in partnership with the Freedom Cup Company. Purchases of the cups will be matched 3-to-1. The organization has also hosted talks with women in an effort to lift the shame related to menstruation and reproductive health issues in the black community and has forged relationships with other diaspora communities to open dialogue on the issue, raise awareness for more advanced gynecological and reproductive healthcare resources and research for black women.
Image via The White Dress Project
This founder suffered from excessive bleeding and other symptoms of uterine fibroids and decided to start her own organization where women could find information, sisterhood, and advocacy. She was also able to rally for the passing of a resolution to make July Fibroids Awareness Month in Georgia, and the campaign continues for other states. Fibroids, benign tumors that cause heavy bleeding and pain and can lead to infertility, are more prevalent among black women (with studies showing that 60% will have them by 35). They can wreak havoc on your menstrual cycle, self-esteem, and overall quality of life, so having resources that centralize support for black women is key especially since there are still disparities for us in terms of healthcare resources and treatment related to our reproductive systems and maternal health. The White Dress Project sponsors events where women wear white to lift the shame and honor healthcare leaders as well as other fibroid survivors including Real Housewives of Atlanta's Cynthia Bailey.
Image via Instagram/@shaniciaboswell
Shanicia Boswell's platform isn't totally dedicated to menstrual health but Boswell covers issues like "free bleeding" and reproductive health for black women, along with content that advocates for African American maternity health and parenting resources. She's even hosted a "Period Party" in Atlanta last month as an "educational celebration on period health, fibroid prevention, and natural family planning." She's used her platform to promote its "Menstrual Drives" where donations of tampons, pads and cups are given to local homeless women. She also sheds light on stories of black women entrepreneurs and innovators who promote healthy living for black women.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
One thing about Megan Thee Stallion is that she’s going to motivate you to stay active. From afar, she seems like the perfect gym bestie, and up close, it looks like her workouts would have us gasping for air. But hey, she doesn’t call her routines “bootcamp” for nothing.
After an extended break from social media and the public eye, the Houston Hottie is back sharing the high-energy workouts that are keeping her lean and she’s happy to report that “the results have been resulting."
The 28-year-old rapper dropped an Instagram Reel, detailing the workout routine that’s putting her endurance to the test. With the help of her personal trainer, Megan has one word in mind when it comes to her progress and that’s: “Consistency.”
The “Savage” artist has been traveling, making “hot girl moves," and after returning from a trip to New York, she expressed that her trainer is pushing her to keep the same energy back in the gym.
“I had just gotten back from New York and I told my trainer, ‘Look, friend, I was having a time. Can you please take it easy?’” Megan said. “He said, ‘Hmm, I’ve seen you doing all that hot girl s—, so what you need to do is get in that gym and have that same energy.’”
Her trainer then instructed her to do jumping squats with an exercise ball and resistance band around her legs for an extra burn. “I put my thing down, flipped it, and reversed it and that’s what happened. This sh– burned like a motherf—,” she teased in the video’s voiceover while executing both forward and backward jumping squats.
It’s clear that when it comes to Megan’s fitness, her trainer doesn’t play around about pushing her to her limits. In the next set of her cardio moves, we see the Grammy-winning artist jumping rope and moving on to a combination of mountain climbers and lateral jumps over a speed hurdle.
“Right here, that’s when I realized: I’ve been saying my trainer’s crazy but I know he’s really, really crazy because he must think that I’m trying out for the Houston Texans or something,” she joked.
To finish her workout, Meg hit two more barbell exercises, one being a set of cleans with 10-pound weight plates on the barbell. She then closed out by doing lunges with the barbell racked on her shoulders.
Of course, the best way to close out a workout is to nourish yourself with a balanced meal. Meg showed off her delicious post-workout plate with salmon, a sweet potato, and assorted veggies.
With so much of her public life being shared on the internet, it’s nice to see her letting us in on her progress in a fun and motivating way. “I just want to be transparent with y'all. Working out hurts, but it’s really a mental thang, so go do it!”
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Featured image by Taylor Hill/Getty Images