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If you are a woman, you know all too well about your monthly friend that comes to visit.  With that being said, women aren't the only ones that menstruate.  Gender non conforming, nonbinary, and trans individuals may menstruate as well.  While period products are made to look feminine and empower women, the advertisements for these products leave out a key demographic: those who bleed but don't look like or identify as women.  This may not seem like a huge issue to some, but those that experience dysphoria with having a body that menstruates may feel even worse when they have to go to the store to purchase frilly products that practically scream "I have a vagina!".  It’s a constant reminder that someone possesses a body or goes through a biological process they may not necessarily want.

 

Of course there is nothing wrong with being a woman and it's great that we can be so open about discussing such a natural process!  As a nonbinary person, though, I believe that people that aren't women should also be included in this discussion.  It is important to have inclusion because it decreases the amount of stigma surrounding periods for those that are not women.  Not only does such an open discussion improve the self-esteem of menstruating individuals, it also creates awareness about the differences in gender expression, gender identity, and biological sex for those that have a narrower view about periods.

 

Instead of creating shame around individuals that aren't women but still bleed, period commercials should embrace this!  Why not offer more inclusion?  This inclusion can come in the form of new advertisements with diversity in the individuals depicted.  Inclusion could also come in the form of a gender-neutral line of products such as period underwear that is both inclusionary and environmentally friendly!

 

Not every brand is behind the times.  One brand that has embraced inclusivity is Thinx.  This company, which was established in 2013, prides themselves on breaking through the taboo that surrounds periods.  They offer period underwear in various sizes from thong to boyshort and sell items like athletic and sleep shorts.  Items are on the pricier side, but they can be washed and worn many times before wearing out.  This is not the case for disposable products.

 

Thinx is progressive in its appeal and, thus, many period companies have not caught up with the times.  It is important in adapting to our changing world.  Fifty years ago, the vast majority of people thought biological sex and gender were the same thing.  As times change, so should our advertisements in order to adapt to changing audiences.  No matter the avenue, companies need to expand their inclusivity to encompass those that aren't cisgender or of the gender binary.

 

Hello, I'm Melissa! My pronouns are they/them. I am passionate about conservation, zero waste living, corporate social responsibility, inclusive urban development and have interest in mental health and LGBTQ+ rights. I am a senior at UNC Charlotte studying Geography with a concentration in Urban & Regional Planning.
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