With ‘Dune,’ Frank Herbert designed the Maxi Pad of the Future

Don’t tell Frank Herbert (or the people at Thinx), but he actually came up with a pretty genius pair of menstrual clothes. In 1965. It was just, well, his outer garment – and it did a lot more than collect blood and endometrial lining.

Herbert’s invention was, of course, the sTILL. One of the iconic pieces of tech in his novel Dune—And a symbolic part of sci-fi tech, time-it’s an invention born out of necessity. Arrakis, where most of the novel takes place, is a wilderness; to survive, the native planet Fremen makes suit-suits that collect everything in their wet excrement-sweat, urine, dirt, droplets from inhaled breath-and recycle it into drinking water. The idea is actually kind of brilliant and, if you think about it, very useful on a few days a month to anyone who is menstruating. The garments are the only ones to remove any discharge and recycle it with others!

To be clear, Herbert never mentioned the specific purpose of the book. (“No, that’s a very good point,” says Jacqueline West, DuneThe costume designer, when I asked him about what I thought was a maxi pad. “Perhaps Frank Herbert once did not think so far, but he thought of others.”) The author describes the solutions in detail in the book – the tubes that collect air from the nose, how the power moves the body pumps, the “micro -sandwich” that acts as a “heat filtration and exchange system” – but he doesn’t think that some bodies have different functions than others. (However, the record will show that there was an entry of menstruation in Fremen [Fremenstruation?] on Dune Encyclopedia.) Herbert was also wrong in science. There is no way that body fluids can also be returned in any suit in the way he describes without violating basic thermodynamics. However, what he thought of in the 1960s provided a great way to deal with blood at the time without spending hundreds of dollars a year on tampons, underer liners, or menstrual cups.

Of course, Herbert is not here. Spacefaring sci-fi stories rarely think in stages. Ripley, as I recall, never went around Nostromo looking for tampons. Rey did not look for Millennium Falcon, though, you might think his wrapper can be placed in some used creation. It’s hard to imagine what would happen if The MartianMark Watney has a matrix. Even the current adaptation of Y: The Last Man, which features a cast almost entirely composed of period-havers, talks little about menses. It’s not just a topic that is always covered in science fiction, unless it’s hypothetical fiction like Story of the Servant mainly dealing with reproduction.

And, let’s be honest, it’s not like sci-fi that has no dealings with physical objects. For decades the diversity has been sprinkled with cyborgs, transhumanism, and even virtual worlds – all of which have challenged modern ideas of what bodies are, and their functions. There is ample space for discussing episodes, but those discussions rarely happen. (Perhaps technology has made them obsolete.) Even if the settlements act like a second skin, they don’t make desert dwellers cyborgs, and in Herbert’s world such a thing is possible. accumulated despite considering the prohibition of thinking machines. However, his genius part of the analogus equipment does not accomplish what could be one of its main activities.

It’s hard not to imagine what would happen if so many writers were exploring the subject. Sci-fi dream seeks the things that man ultimately desires to bring into the world-artificial intelligence, robots, smartphones-and perhaps if Herbert planted the idea of ​​his novel being the best novel ever imagined, a people at Procter & Gamble would think it would be cool to invest in making something beyond dry-weaving and pads with wings. (However, TBH, the wings are the catch.) However, the technology of the time is the same for decades – and NASA once suggested Sally Ride took 100 tampons in a week of space travel.

Look, maybe no one wants to read about it anyone bathroom activity in a sci-fi book-such are mundane for life, not the page (o salida). But considering that Herbert also explains the removal of moisture from urine and feces and not menstruation, it seems like a management-one that identifies the blind spots in his novel about the roles of characters known for women. (There are no trans characters in Dune novel.) Bene Gesserit were some of the most powerful political and spiritual women in Dune universe, but they are also mentioned as threatening ghosts in space. Paul Atreides ’mother, Jessica, was a staunch member of Bene Gesserit herself, a staunch person, but her narrative was mostly there to serve Paul. Same with Chani, the Fremen he became his mistress. (Many of these descriptions are carried on Denis Villeneuve magnifies the roles of women in his film adaptation of Herbert’s book.) Perhaps their physical needs were not considered because their real life was not considered.

Fortunately, though, there are people who end up doing what Dune nothing. DivaCup and others have come out to disrupt the menstrual cycle market; GladRags is brought back reusable pads; Knix, Modibodi, and others have all varieties of underwear during absorbing—Most hyperlocals have not been done without all the water reclaim functionality. The products of the present time a $ 20-billion-plus industry. Imagine if Frank Herbert had seen that.

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