Recently there’s been some talk about periods among Freethoughblogs bloggers. A rather famous TERF wrote some tweets about how women are “people who menstruate.” That’s not correct. It’s wrong to imagine that only women can menstruate (so can trans men and non-binary people). It’s also wrong to say that if you don’t menstruate, you’re not a woman (a lot of women, including cis women, do not have periods for various reasons). Periods are not what defines an individual as a woman. There are various groups of people who have been assigned “female” at birth and identify as women but do not have periods:
–Women who have had a hysterectomy.
–Some of the women who have had an endometrial ablation.
–Women who choose to continuously use hormonal birth control.
–Women who are malnourished or very physically active.
–Some women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
–Women with various genetic health conditions.
–Women who were born intersex.
And, yes, of course, there are also trans women who do not have periods either. Welcome to the club! Statistically, trans people are a small minority, thus trans women are only a fraction of all the women who do not have periods. It’s funny how in their attempt to redefine the word “woman” TERFs came up with a definition that excludes so many cis women. Simultaneously defining “women” as “adult AFAB people” and “people who menstruate” is impossible, because both of these groups of people overlap only partially.
Anyway, some people who have periods are not women. This means that there exist people who are not women but need period hygiene products. Discussions about periods are often phrased so as to assume that everybody who experiences menstruation is a woman.
First question: why the hell are menstrual pads, tampons, and menstrual cups called “feminine hygiene products”? Not all people who need those items are “feminine.” As usually, non-binary and trans AFAB people are hidden from existence and erased from human language.
Moreover, since trans men and non-binary people also can experience menstruation, there are people who would prefer not being forced to buy tampons that come in a pink package and are advertised for “ladies.”
Here is a list of various brands that sell menstrual cups. Just look at their brand names! Venus Cup, Diva cup, Athena Cup, Bella Cup, Blossom Cup, Dutchess Cup, Eva Cup, FemmeCup, FemmyCycle, Fleur Cup, Lady Cup, Lily Cup, Misscup, Pixie Cup, SheCup. What the fuck! Do you really need such ridiculously feminine brand names?
Come on, marketing specialists! I prefer to live as male. I am not going to be happy about a product that is marketed exclusively to people who are attracted to words like “she,” “femme,” or “lady.” My preferred pronouns are either “he” or “them.” I am not feminine. And don’t even try to call me a lady!
And trans masculine people like me aren’t the only ones who will cringe whenever we are forced to buy items that are actually called “feminine hygiene products” (why can’t people just call those things “menstrual products” or something like that instead!) and come in a ridiculously pink package with over the top feminine aesthetic. Not every person who experiences menstruation likes pink color. There exist butch lesbians. There exist straight cis women who simply do not like feminine aesthetic. Why can’t companies who sell period products market them in more gender neutral terms so as to have a broader appeal?
Judging from the packaging, these tampons are intended only for cis women who love pink color, wear skirts, love high heels, like jewelry, and have long hair. Oh right, they must also be thin and look young and pretty.
To be fair, there does exist a couple exceptions, there are a few brands that market their products in more gender neutral terms.
For example, here is a brand that doesn’t use feminine names or aesthetics in their packaging. Do you think this one is the product I personally Use? Actually, no. Unfortunately, this brand doesn’t sell any products that would fit me in terms of size.
Menstrual products are made from different materials, they come in different shapes and sizes. And one size does not fit every person who has periods. Thus I cannot automatically pick the only product that gets sold in a non-pink packaging.
My rough estimate is that at least 80% of all the menstrual products are sold in pink or sickeningly feminine packaging and their marketing is aimed exclusively at feminine cis women. If I am buying something in a supermarket, then they won’t have products from ten different brands so that I could choose the one that isn’t marketed to feminine cis women. On top of that, I still need to pay attention to sizes and materials so as to pick something that actually fits my needs.
If I buy online, my choices are wider, but it is still challenging to pick something I can live with when at least 80% of all the products on the market are off limits due to their marketing/brand name/packaging. Now, of course, I could suck it up and just buy the pink box anyway and live with it (unfortunately, I have had to do exactly that way too often), but on some level I do hate to financially support brands who disrespect my lifestyle choices and whose marketing I loathe.