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“The Adventures of Toni the Tampon” soaks up success

Alumna hopes to change conversation surrounding menstruation

“The Adventures of Toni the Tampon” soaks up success

A 2015 AU graduate is challenging the way that kids and adults talk about menstruation through her unique coloring book.

As the creator of the coloring book, “The Adventures of Toni the Tampon,” Cass Clemmer aims to change the discussion of menstruation. The coloring book is centered around a main character, Toni the Tampon, that Clemmer created and developed with the help of her mother.

“I developed a whole character from Toni after I saw some googly-eyes my mom had bought for me and decided to put them on a tampon,” she said in an email. “From there, the two collided into my period coloring book.”

The book features Toni and friends going through adventures in outer space, at the skate park and other creative settings. It took Clemmer a year to complete the project and she made it the centerpiece of her undergraduate capstone for her gender studies class.

“I wanted to create an interactive and humorous way to normalize menstruation, for kids and adults alike,” Clemmer said.

Clemmer said that she found the inspiration for her book through her classes and professors at AU. In September of 2014, Clemmer transferred to AU as a Gender and Sexuality Studies major within the College of Arts and Sciences. She got the idea from a class that discussed uncomfortable societal norms where she was able to talk about menstruation among her peers for the first time.

The discussion inspired her to start sketching tampons, menstrual cups and other products that she felt challenged period stigmas. She brought her sketches to Professor Brett Williams, who taught her anthropology class on societal taboos.

Williams gave her the encouragement she needed to continue the project, calling the idea “hilarious and fun.” From there, Clemmer decided to turn her sketches into a coloring book for her capstone project.

“I took her advice and kept researching, drawing and brainstorming new ways to talk about periods, particularly with kids of all genders,” Clemmer said. “It's really thanks to my incredible professors and peers that I was able to complete the project.”

After graduating from AU, Clemmer brought her project to the general public and turned her project into a coloring book for people of all ages and genders to enjoy. “The Adventures of Toni the Tampon” proved to be a success, selling 102 copies in its first month and a half of sales on Amazon.

Clemmer plans to donate profits from the coloring book to the American Civil Liberties Union as a response to President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria.

She said she is also making free coloring pages to serve as “self-care for the resistance” that include messages of protest against the Trump administration. Clemmer’s experience as an AU student influenced her to challenge both societal and political issues.

“I am working on some potential bulk orders for educators and decided to donate all proceeds for the month of February to organizations fighting for the resistance,” Clemmer said.

lcalitri@theeagleonline.com