I love my grandmother but in her time and age, a woman’s worth was her beauty and chastity. That was her reality but realities change over time.
Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel all talk about how you need to challenge assumptions. Things that look like truths. They might have been true at one time but they aren’t anymore. These are probably what Thiel considers secrets out in plain sight.
One example of this was SpaceX. Everyone thought that Musk was crazy when he wanted to innovate the spaceship industry. He took meetings in Russia to buy rockets and even the people selling him the rockets thought he might be crazy. However, Musk was able to figure out by rebuilding truths from the ground up, that there could be a lot of changes made, efficiencies to be forged and discovered.
Something I realized was that truth comes in different dimensions. Something we consider true today was probably true 50 years ago. People have been consistently passing down what they consider to be true. However, they have failed to notice that times have changed and not only that but the truth they passed down from one generation to the next, they just ate it up without question. Or maybe they did but their parents or teachers didn’t know the answer and they made whoever asked the question feel stupid. That’s how you get secrets.
Another example of this is clean water. Today almost everyone in the United States takes clean water for granted. So consistent access to cheap clean water in the United States might be considered a truth today and when this innovation occurred a few decades ago, but they were not a truth 100 years ago.
The only problem is that so many people have taken cheap clean water for granted like the faucet in your kitchen will never stop, they have failed to see or realize that their source for clean water, whether you’re in the West Coast, London, or India, is drying up. Mexico City once used to be surrounded by water- look at it now. The Colorado River is at its lowest in the past few decades. What happened in South Africa will happen across the world but it is unfathomable to millions of people because they believe that they will always have access to cheap clean water. They fail to see that their source of abundant water has gotten to dangerously low levels and that if they’re getting their water from groundwater- they are probably literally stealing from their future.
Chemicals and plastics are another secret. I grew up taking plastic for granted. I’m 20 something but I had no idea that plastic was made out of petrochemicals, and that they were probably in everything from my bras, to my clothes, shoes, shampoo, food containers, straws, and more.
It’s strange that my reality today didn’t exist decades ago. Less than a century ago we did not have acrylic fabrics or yarns, cheap plastic clothing made from polyester or rayon. Almost a century ago- someone discovered a new way to make billiard balls and then DuPont became the father of plastic by inventing polymers like neoprene, nylon, and more.
When I met someone who only bought organic food, I thought she was a little crazy. Now that I’ve decided to only wear GOTS-certified clothing, I feel crazy too. I always had this assumption that everything was safe. Our food, our clothes, our beauty products- otherwise why would they sell it? Well for some reason or another- as plastic began to invade consumer America, cancer rates began to increase too.
I was shocked when reading Killer Clothes, that there were studies from Harvard and Johns Hopkins, linking bras to breast cancer. It kind of seems obvious that a tight bra might block lymphatic drainage leading to toxins to accumulate in boob fat, which can then be cooked if you’re overheating through thick bra material with zero breathability- that eventually leads to breast cancer- BUT WHY DID I HAVE TO READ THIS IN AN OBSCURE BOOK? Why did no one tell me that wearing an ill-fitting bra could lead to breast cancer? No one even told me how to find a bra that fits well, I just got measured by some minimum wage employee who told me my bra size. That is not the right way to measure someone’s boobs! Reading that some women wore a bra consistently day and night made me shudder. I legitimately cannot wait to chuck these torture devices out the window.
Another secret that I have been working on tackling is period poverty. When I got my period, my grandma just handed me a disposable plastic pad. It was a given. I struggled with my first tampon when I was a virgin, I had no idea how that shit worked. No one talked about periods. I would always complain about cramps and my mom would just tell me to take some Advil. She would have terrible cramps too. I thought cramps were a given.
Now imagine my surprise when I learned about all the bad chemicals that can be found in disposable tampons and pads. Imagine how furious I was when I found out from my gynecologist that all the BVIs I was getting when I had a copper IUD was probably from the tampons I was using- because everyday disposable tampons are not made out of 100% cotton- they’re mixed with rayon that can disintegrate in a woman’s vagina and lead to bacterial growth. Who doesn’t like building bacteria in their body because of tiny pieces of disintegrating plastic right?
This stuff makes me really angry because I’m only 25 and I’ve had to live through some intense cramps. Cramps that practically disabled me for an entire day. I cannot believe that there are women out there, right now, wondering what the fuck is wrong with their vagina, when the answer could be the products they’re using. Not to mention how overpriced they are. So overpriced that there are millions of women in the United States that can’t afford period care.
The things we take for granted as truths weren’t always truths.
The things we consider safe, we should reconsider.
Times and standards have changed.
We need to do more.