Buying menstrual products may get a little less stressful for teens and young adults who menstruate but don’t identify as female, thanks to a recent change by Procter & Gamble (P&G). Last week, the company announced that it would be removing the Venus symbol — traditionally associated with the female sex — from the packaging of its Always brand sanitary pads.
The decision is a response to requests from transgender, non-binary, and otherwise gender-diverse customers who say that the stereotypically feminine imagery can contribute to gender dysphoria and other distress. Along with cisgender girls and women — those whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth — some transmasculine and non-binary people still experience menstrual periods. And while the persistent stigma associated with menstruation may make buying pads or tampons a bit embarrassing for cis females, that sense of discomfort tends to be amplified in those who outwardly present as male.
“After hearing from many people, we recognized that not everyone who has a period and needs to use a pad identifies as female,” said P&G in a statement. “To ensure that anyone who needs to use a period product feels comfortable with Always, we’re adjusting our pad wrapper design as part of our next round of product changes.”
That’s welcome news to Dr. Jeremi Carswell, director of the Gender Management Service at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The idea that menstruation somehow defines femininity is harmful to gender-diverse kids and teens as well as their non-menstruating cisgender peers,” she says. “I’m pleased that this issue is being addressed on a national, commercial level.”
Get more answers from the Gender Management Service.
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