The NYC Subway Actually Considered Banning Ads For Period Underwear

You’d think that in all the thousands of years of human existence, by now the general population would be a little less freaked out by the fact that all women—gasp!—get periods. For this reason, THINX is a company “committed to breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation” that sells “period underwear” designed to promote “comfort, confidence, and peace of mind” for women.

Controversy erupted when it was reported that New York City’s subway system was considering not running ads for THINX that feature suggestive images, which are intended to spur discussion and help to eliminate the stigma surrounding menstruation.

Outfront Media, the company that approves advertisements for the MTA, has since clarified that the THINX ads were being reviewed since the company has recently “tightened its guidelines.” According to Mic, an Outfront representative wrote in an email to THINX cofounder Miki Agrawal that the women featured in the ad "seem to have a bit too much skin," and that the pictures of egg and grapefruit, "regardless of the context, [seem] inappropriate." Interestingly, many NYC subway stations are filled with pictures of scantily clad women advertising breast implants and diet pills, and there doesn’t seem to have been any hesitation in getting those ads approved.

Veronica del Rosario, THINX’s director of marketing, told Mic that Outfront expressed concern about children seeing the word “period” in the advertisements. "I stated [to an Outfront rep] that it was extremely disheartening that [certain other ads] could fly, but something for women that speaks directly to women isn't OK by them," she said. "He replied, 'This is not a women's issue. Don't try to make it a women's rights thing.'"

Since then, the MTA has agreed to run the original ads without any censorship. Sounds like a good thing, but THINX is still disappointed. "They're kind of backpedaling because there's so much social pressure to run these ads,” Agrawal told Cosmopolitan. We agree—if this weren’t a “women’s rights thing,” there would have been no controversy in the first place.