7 Gender-Neutral Period Products You Should Know About
Most menstruation products are marketed as feminine hygiene products and speak to cis-women only. But the reality is, it is not only cis-women who menstruate, many trans men, agender, and gender non-binary individuals do as well. And it's worth pointing out, that referring to period products as "hygiene" products kinda makes it seem like menstruating is somehow unclean — which is definitely not true. Having any person be able to interact with their bodily functions in a way that feels authentic and inclusive is really important — which is why the development of gender-neutral menstrual products is so necessary, as is an awareness of the words we use when discussing the functions of our bodies in the healthcare space.
On period.org, they describe in their period glossary that saying "those who menstruate" is "inclusive terminology to refer to those who experience menstruation, because not only people who identify as women menstruate, but also transgender men or non-binary people."
Continuing inclusivity and supporting period products that are accessible for all people to use on both a physical and emotional level is super important. Below, take a look at some products, companies, and craftspersons that are creating more gender-neutral options than your average box of tampons.
Thinx tagline is, in fact, "for people with periods," and on their site's blog they talk about trying to shift their language and advertisement representation to be more inclusive and not just focused on cis-women.
These period underwear are great for just letting it bleed, so to speak, and their boy shorts are a particularly good gender-neutral option. Thinx also used trans model, Sawyer DuVuyst, for this product, and they were the first brand to do so. Here's to making this happen a lot more.
2. Pyramid 7
On their website, Pyramid 7 describes their company as one "that creates boxer briefs for periods, not gender."
Which means that they recognize and actively acknowledge that a person can identify as absolutely anything they are and still have a period. Very cool.
These leak-free boxer shorts have an interior pocket that secures menstrual products like pads and panty liners. Another plus is that they have a wide variety of models represented on their site.
3. Aunt Flow
Aunt Flow is a menstrual product company with the mission to make period supplies available to everyone. And one of the pillars of their business model is inclusivity. On their site it says that, "Aunt Flow is working on actively changing our language to create a gender-inclusive community. We refer to all period products as ‘menstrual products’ instead of ‘feminine hygiene products.'" These products are targeted at businesses, schools, and hotels, encouraging these places to order in bulk in order to provide period products for people for free. It's a great idea if you do the ordering for your office, for example!
The products are available in neutral red and white packaging, and for every ten pads or tampons sold, one is sent to a "menstruator in need."
Piinde are amazing, custom-made and reusable personal care garments available on Etsy that use gender-neutral marketing and gender-neutral aesthetics. You can get a batman patterned reusable pad, you can get a floral pad, and you can get a pad that is covered in blueberries.
There is also custom period underwear for purchase. Etsy is a great place to look for menstruation products because, in addition to often using neutral language, these products are mostly handmade and environmentally friendly.
5. Lily Pads
These reusable menstrual cloths are another custom option that come in all kinds of patterns, and this one shaped like a shark is an option that goes beyond gender. It is frankly just a fun, celebratory, and even comical period product that anyone can enjoy! Can't you imagine having a chuckle each time you pull down your undies?
Similarly, these products are described without assigning gender-centric language or marketing to their products.
GladRags are a great option for reusable pads that you can get as a subscription service. They similarly come in many neutral colors and designs, snap easily around your undies, and the site does not use any gendered language to described their items.
Just as an FYI, if you are concerned about how to clean these, the steps are simple and are usually explained on the company website as well as sent with the item in the mail. You simply separate the inserts from the exterior holder, then soak in cold water. You can also use the presoak function on your washing machine.
Not only does LunaPads use trans models, they also make these very cool and gender-neutral boy shorts in a variety of colors. These underwear have a lined inner panel with good absorbency that extends to the back waistband. You can swap out the inner panel as often as needed and they assure leak-free protection. The reusable pads are also available on the website for purchase.
"For far too long, the only period product imagery used in marketing was pink, flowery and showed bright-eyed young girls 'frolicking.' Even today, many show a variety of shapes, sizes and races, but rarely do they show those who may not fit the traditional 'social norm' of 'feminine,'" Cathy Chapman, president of Lune North America, a company who makes menstrual cups for all people who have periods, tells Bustle.
Lunette's menstrual cup advertisements and cleaning guides are really intentional in "choosing to remain gender-neutral in communications" and bowing out of traditional 'feminine' language by remain scientific and medical with our terminology of the body," Chapman says.
"We don't adopt slang, we talk about our body parts as exactly what they are, body parts," Chapman says. "Gender inclusivity is also about simply not being afraid to talk about reproductive rights and periods. The best ways to help break menstruation stigmas is to include all genders in empowering conversations about why periods aren't taboo."
Supporting any of these products is a great step towards taking gender out of the period conversation, and let's hope there are many more products to come!