Progressive brand THINX’s “Underwear for People with Periods” campaign is the company’s latest step in the right direction for awareness and inclusion of transgender people and others who are gender-nonconforming.
The New York-based label has recently sparked conversation as one of the first companies to offer underwear that prevents leakage during periods, thus reducing worry and possibly eliminating the need for tampons and pads altogether. In addition to this functionality, the different styles offered are sleek, appearing as typical underwear. The brand has been progressive not only in efforts to make periods more manageable, but also in increasing acceptance and access through advertising as well as donating part of their proceeds toward making reusable pads for young women in Africa.
Despite these positive moves toward a society that supports making periods easier and more accepted, THINX lacked in one area: they have been gearing products exclusively toward women. While this initially seems acceptable, LGBTQ activists quickly pointed out that many transgender men, as well as genderqueer individuals and others deviating from cisnormative expectations, also experience periods and deserve visibility. The company started with phrases such as “or any menstruating human” to their ads that mentioned women, but this month they made their largest change yet, releasing a new, more gender-neutral style of their signature underwear.
The new campaign that accompanies this new style, “Underwear for People with Periods,” features transgender model Sawyer Devust discussing his experiences, as well as the importance of this product and trans visibility. He speaks of his struggles with periods during the five years he lived as a man before taking hormones, praises the new product for its potential to help others going through similar difficulties and talks about the need for transgender men and nonbinary people to have more of a voice.
NYU student Sadichha Karki said she sees THINX’s new campaign as helpful to non-female people with periods who may feel ashamed.
“I think that having to use any myriad of menstrual hygiene products is at best inconvenient and at worst, and more commonly, can add to dysphoria,” Karki said. “A constant monthly reminder that many trans men don’t deserve.”
However, Karki emphasizes the importance of the campaign’s inclusion of a vast spectrum.
“I have a lot of genderqueer friends that are actually really excited about this, because it’s not only the cis female and trans male community that deals with the gross inconvenience of blood pouring out of your genitals, it’s people with genders throughout the color spectrum,” Karki said.
Overall, she is excited about THINX’s gender-neutral style.
“It’s also increasing visibility for the trans community as well as others, and putting out a product this revolutionary in such a stagnant market of menstrual products is rad,” Karki said.
Hopefully both THINX and Devust will continue challenging norms, thus creating a more accepting society and empowering those who do not conform to a cisnormative society. However, this product does not fix all of the problems transgender and genderqueer people face, and it is important that companies and the public continue working toward greater acceptance.
Email Alexandra Webb at [email protected]