Christine Marie Mason, founder and CEO of Rosebud Woman, has launched and led six companies and written seven books. She is a futurist, a yogi, tantrika, mother of 4, and grandmother, as well as co-founder of a meditation center and medicinal farm on Hawaii.
Christine has spoken on radio, TV, in print and podcasts from NPR to Vogue to TEDx about entrepreneurship, freeing the mind and body, activism and sexual and intimate wellness. Just as many people are puzzled and angry that they need a separate health insurance policy for their teeth, Christine wondered why skin care products excluded the vulva, or hid those products in remote corners of the pharmacy. It’s all the same body, right?
We asked Christine about what “intimate wellness” means to her and to her product line, as well the ongoing struggle for the rights of women.
Grit Daily: What is the problem you set out to solve with Rosebud Woman?
Christine Marie Mason: I wanted beautiful, healing, and sustainable intimate skin formulas for myself, and couldn’t find them. Everything for the vulva was stuck in the back of the drug store – sticky lubes or chemmy feminine care. I wanted true skincare, the quality I would use on my face, that solved the concerns I had in perimenopause. So, after a lot of playing around in the lab and working with global plant traditions, intimate skincare was born. When I surveyed other women, prior to launch, they reported concerns around lack of moisture (dryness), skin density and tissue thinning, lack of resilience in the skin, itching/swelling/irritation, and concerns around cleanliness- so we made products to address all those needs. We worked with one of the top organic chemists in the world to formulate products that would deliver results for these concerns, while supporting the health of the women using them.
Grit Daily: What were your goals for Rosebud Woman when you launched the company, and what are your goals moving forward?
Christine Marie Mason: I had a vision of a world where every woman knows and enjoys her body through all of life’s stages, free of sexual or body shame. Where her body is restored to wholeness, for her own sovereignty and pleasure – including and especially the vulva and vagina. So much of our individual suffering is connected to ‘shame’, ‘lack of transparency’ and ‘repression’. For women, this is also tied to body denial: trying to fit into a preconceived idea of what is beautiful or being uninformed on vital aspects of their intimate lives. People of all genders still have tremendous knowledge gaps, traumas and shame around their bodies and sexuality. This in turn creates unneeded health issues, lower quality of life, psycho-spiritual-emotional distress, unsatisfactory sexual experiences, and vulnerability to sexual violence and predation. As long as sexual and body taboos exist, and are reinforced in our culture, this suffering will continue. It also means a much less pleasurable experience in the body. We’d like to see that replaced with joy and reverence!
Grit Daily: You were at the forefront of the phrase “intimate wellness” in relation to the brand and its products. Please elaborate on what you mean with the term “intimate wellness.”
Christine Marie Mason: A woman lives with her body 24/7, 365 days a year for 80 years or more. Sexuality is a small part of that. Intimate care is a daily thing, it’s for self. Sexuality is still taboo – either forbidden or lascivious- in so many parts of the world- but being well in your body shouldn’t be taboo at all. We want to see healthy, accepting attitudes towards our genitalia included in wellness, and not always sexualized.
Grit Daily: There has been an active women’s movement continually in the US at least since the 1970s, and of course the struggle for women’s rights dates at least to the suffrage movement in the 19th century. What are the sentiments you are hearing from women now?
Christine Marie Mason: We see an enormous opportunity to encourage self-love, which is a precursor to loving cultural systems. It seems that in the last few years, v-care went from taboo to trendy very quickly; every generation advances the conversation a little more. Yes, you’re right, we’re a hundred years into women’s suffrage, and only 50 years into reliable birth control, and about that same amount of time has passed since women have been able to get a credit card or a mortgage in their own name. The women in the feminist movement of the 70s are fully mature and empowered; their daughters and granddaughters expect more. And companies like ours are also part of the change. By normalizing words like labia or vulva and speaking to intimate wellness as a personal care option instead of a sexuality enabler, we’re removing the stigma and pointing to more ease. Women right now are outraged, of course, to have their rights taken away. They remain frustrated that 98% of capital goes to men. There are so many reasons to be exhausted by the violence directed at people for just being born a girl. But we keep on keeping on because we are resilient. We keep our eyes on a gender just future, and work for it.
Grit Daily: You’re a yogi. Did your yoga background influence how you approached Rosebud Woman?
Christine Marie Mason: Of course! The kind of self-love and acceptance that comes from a long arc yoga practice is baked into our brand ethos: the message is that you were born perfect. Being in the body, breathing as a practice of union, meditation to calm the mind: all these things change your identity.
Grit Daily: Rosebud Woman has products for all aspects of a woman’s life and wellness. Why is that? Brands are often advised to find a niche for their products.
Christine Marie Mason: We target intimate wellness and body care for women in all stages of life. We started with menopause and perimenopause, and that went to pre and post-natal. Because we formulate for a healthy vulva and vaginome, as well as healthy skin in general, there are a lot of needs across age ranges we can speak to.
Grit Daily: Is there anything you want to mention that I have not asked about?
Christine Marie Mason: How we treat women reflects the way we treat Earth and the rest of nature: as an object, to be extracted from. Respect and reverence for our own life force, for these bodies we’ve been given, will extend to the life of the planet. We’re trying, to the extent we can in a business and supply chain context, to make choices that are in alignment with that ethos.