How Progressive Period Products Are Changing The Way We Talk About Menstruation
The emergence of progressive period products.
Despite people having periods since time began, the normalization of menstruation in society is something that has only started happening in recent years.
It’s about bloody time (pardon the pun). Thankfully, we are getting to the point where we are having more frank and open conversations — with some really great positive outcomes, such as educating young people about periods, destigmatizing them, and normalizing what is a perfectly natural bodily function.
One of the big changes instigating a shift in the way we talk about — and view — menstruation? The emergence of progressive period products (such as menstrual cups, period underwear and reusable pads) in the mainstream market.
So how are progressive period products changing the way we talk about menstruation? Read on to find out.
Recommended reading: Let’s End The Taboo, End The Shame And Talk About Periods
No more period shame
In a world made up of multiple different cultures — many of which periods are seen as a taboo subject associated with shame, dirtiness and impurity — erasing period shame is not going to be a quick and easy job.
But in recent years, we’ve come pretty far when it comes to destigmatizing this subject and talking out menstruation openly and positively, as a natural thing.
A lot of this is thanks to many period brands normalizing menstruation; at the end of the day, period products are just another type of necessary product that nearly half of the population needs and uses. So why have we spent so long hiding our tampons and pads away in cupboards and up our sleeves when we go to the bathroom?
Progressive period brands like menstrual cup brand Diva Cups or underwear brand Knix (who offer variations of leak-proof panties) have hit the mainstream in recent years, thanks to their revolutionary designs, honest marketing and refusal to shy away from what used to be a forbidden subject.
These period products have helped hugely open up conversations, empowering people with periods everywhere to embrace their natural cycles and diminishing our social shame.
Recognizing period diversity
Women and girls aren’t the only people who get periods. Trans, intersex, and non-binary people can get periods too, and progressive period products are really helping to provide people with a product alternative that makes them feel more comfortable.
For example, many period underwear brands have now created gender-neutral shorts/boxers options — made for anyone who bleeds, no matter what their gender is. These products and their branding recognizes and celebrates period diversity in a way that wasn’t done before.
And a lot of the brands that provide period products are using their platforms to positively change the way we talk about menstruation when it comes to trans men and non-binary individuals’ experiences — whether it is through social media, product marketing, or literature like this advice article by period tracker app Clue.
Getting your period is bad enough as it is; painful cramps, heavy flows and low energy levels can make you feel like your uterus is personally attacking you. But imagine how much worse it would be if you didn’t have access to the products you needed to deal with your periods properly?
Unfortunately, this is the case for millions of people who have periods around the world. Period poverty is a real social problem, particularly in third-world countries where huge numbers of girls have to miss school every month because they don’t have access to clean pads (which are expensive and hard to come by).
And this isn’t just an issue that affects developing countries; even in supposedly wealthy countries like the US and the UK, there are many people who are unable to afford period products due to the tampon tax (in which sanitary products are currently classed as “luxury,” “non-essential” products).
Progressive period products have the potential to change the conversation around period poverty and inequality. In the US, period non-profit PERIOD has partnered with period underwear brand Thinx to help change period poverty. They want to ensure that every student in the United States has free and easy access to period products — as well as revolutionize the way people talk and think about periods.
It seems that progressive period products aren’t only changing the way we talk about menstruation, but also battling for period justice around the world.
Another thing that progressive period products are helping to do is promote period positivity (now try saying that really quicker ten times).
There’s a certain level of honesty that these products and the brands behind them promote — giving people with periods the chance to own and embrace their own bleeding.
It’s a far cry from the previously over-sanitized advertising of yesteryear. You remember; the adverts featuring neutral pale blue liquids being poured onto pristine white pads, so as not to scare people with the blood and gore of a normal period?!
By normalizing talk about menstruation, these brands are normalizing periods — which is what is going to help with period poverty and period education. Until we are completely open and positive about periods and how normal they really are, menstruation will still be seen as “dirty” and “shameful” (which is one of the barriers to people getting the support they need when it comes to menstruation).
Progressive period products (and the brands behind them) are changing the way we talk about menstruation. And ultimately, this will help us all to ditch the archaic concept of periods being a “taboo” subject, and broach the matter with a healthy level of love, openness and honesty that our bodies deserve.