Petition: Change ‘Feminine’ Products Names, Trans Men Have Periods Too

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AP/Emrah Gurel

A company on a mission to “shake up the period protection industry” has launched a petition on the change.org website asking that producers rename their products, replacing “feminine care” and “feminine hygiene” with “period products” or “menstrual products.”

They argue “trans men and non-binary people can have periods too” and their feelings must not be hurt.

“We want to see supermarkets and retailers in the UK and North America commit to tackling the stigma around periods,” the Naturacare petition said.

The petition also said, in part:

The use of the terms ‘sanitary products’ or ‘feminine hygiene products’ suggests there is something unsanitary or unhygienic about having a period when this is not the case. Avoiding terms like ‘period’ and ‘menstruation’, as though they are shameful, upholds the very real stigma around this natural bodily function. This stigma affects people’s quality of life, every day.

As well as this, the word ‘feminine’ assumes that all people who have periods are feminine. This is not the case – trans men and non-binary people can have periods too. The use of the term ‘feminine hygiene’ suggests you need to have a period to be ‘feminine’, when trans women and plenty of cis women don’t have periods.

We think it’s time our society ditched the code words and started calling it what it is – a period. Then we can begin to have a mature and respectful conversation about the biology behind menstruation and remove some of the shame from the subject.

The wording of the petition seems ironic as they are promoting the biology of menstrual cycles but deny the biological fact about male and female biology.

In the United States the petition is asking CVS, Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, and Amazon to make the changes. In the E.U., Sainsbury and Tesco are being targeted.

Pink News, an LGBT website reported on women who want to live as men as the reason these name changes should be made:

Trans model and activist Kenny Ethan Jones described his experience of period stigma in an article for NBC, writing: “Having a period already causes me a lot of dysphoria, but this dysphoria becomes heightened when I have to shop for a product that is labeled as ‘women’s health’ and, in most cases, is pretty and pink.”

The constant messaging from retailers that all women, and only women, have menstrual cycles contributes to stigma and shame surrounding periods, as does their use of words like “sanitary” and “hygiene.”

As of Tuesday, 12,000 people have signed the petition.

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