Dad & Daughter Make Condoms That Empower Women -- It’s About Time

If you just glanced at a recent headline about a dad and daughter starting a natural condom and lube company, your first reaction might be a little like mine: "What!?" But once you look a little closer, you might become convinced (like I did) that this is an amazing thing, not just for the founders, but also for women everywhere.

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See, the daughter is Meika Hollender, a 28-year-old graduate of NYU's Stern School of Business, and the father is Jeffrey Hollender, the founder of Seventh Generation, which has been making natural household products since 1988. It was Meika's mother, Sheila Hollender, who 10 years ago suggested to her husband that Seventh Generation should add natural feminine hygiene products to the brand, and ever since it's taken off.

"That had a big impact on me," Meika told Forbes.

Fast forward a decade and the young woman and her dad have formed a company called Sustain, which sells organic, nontoxic, and sustainable condoms and lubes and all-cotton post-play wipes marketed to young women. See, although women are the ones who buy the majority of these products, the products are often marketed to dudes, with names like "Trojan" and "Magnum" adorning the packaging. Another aspect of the business is that is aims to stop slut-shaming women for their sexual activity and start meeting their need for products they can trust.

Every woman should be able to get behind that, right?

And the fact that the entire business, which just raised $2.5 million in funding to expand, was launched by a father and daughter makes this entire concept an even bigger win for girls everywhere.

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Girls are taught that their sexuality is something shameful, and that in itself can warp a girl's sense of power over her own sex life. But when you double down on that sentiment by teaching her that her sexuality is something upsetting and awful in the eyes of her father -- who is for a long time the most important man in her life -- that's a powerful message, too.

So the message of Sustain is twofold. First, young women have sex, are sexual, and have a legit demand for products that should be made and marketed with their needs in mind. Second, just by virtue of being a father-daughter business, its message is also that men are tough enough to accept that their little girls are all grown up and are just as entitled to express their sexuality as boys are -- and live in a world where sexual products are made for them, too.

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And hey, if the products are healthier and better for the environment, doesn't everyone win? Just in case you weren't already convinced of how great the idea behind Sustain is, a portion of proceeds is donated to help the 17.4 million women in need of better access to reproductive health care and family planning services.

So bravo to Meika and her rad dad. Because it's businesses like Sustain that don't just fill a market gap -- they start a movement that's been a long time coming for our girls.

 

Image via Sustain

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