24th Oct 2019
When it comes to female sanitary products, there’s much that could be improved. There’s still a lot of bulky, unnecessary packaging and scented products and sprays that have no business being anywhere near our self-cleaning vaginas.
Period Poverty is also a very real problem: Recent figures from a survey carried out by Plan International show that nearly 50% of teenage girls across Ireland continuously struggle to afford sanitary products month-on-month. It also tellingly revealed the shame and stigma which still exists; nearly 60%, or one in two, of young women and girls, said school does not inform them adequately about periods, six out of ten young women reported feeling shame and embarrassment about their period, and more than 80 per cent said they did not feel comfortable talking about their periods with their father or a teacher.
Related: ‘The shame and stigma around periods has to end’
Two trans activists have also pointed out that from an inclusivity point of view, products aren’t inclusive, but one brand, Always, is at least listening.
Removing the Venus symbol
You may have noticed that certain Always wrappers and boxes usually dons a Venus symbol — an astrological symbol that nods to the goddess Venus and all things female-oriented. Well, this week, Always just announced its period products like tampons and sanitary pads will no longer feature this symbol.
Related: This eco-friendly tampon brand is helping to fight period poverty in Ireland
The move comes after two trans activists tweeted Always asking why it was necessary for the symbol to appear on the packaging. They also pointed out that while yes, of course, women have periods, some trans and non-binary people also menstruate, so the current packaging doesn’t acknowledge this or include those customers.
hi @Always i understand that you guys love girl positivity but please understand that there are trans men that get periods, and if you could please do something about the ??symbol on your pad packaging, i’d be happy. i’d hate to have any trans males feel dysphoric.
— jocelyn ? (@phiddies) October 13, 2019
Hey @Always can you get rid of the female symbol on all the packaging? Trans men and non-binary people have periods too.
— Earl of Chublington (@villainny) October 6, 2019
Always actually listened to this feedback, and announced, starting in December, that symbol will be removed from all Always packaging, according to NBC News. The rebrand should be in all stores from February 2020. The brand said it has done so “to ensure that anyone who needs to use a period product feels comfortable in doing so.” It is a move that is both progressive and inclusive – and one that has been applauded by many on social media.
Proctor and Gamble, the company that owns Always told Metro:
“For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so. We’re also committed to diversity and inclusion, and after hearing from many people across genders and age groups, we realised that not everyone who has a period and needs to use a pad identifies as female.”
Main photograph: Unsplash
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