When most people think of “menstrual products,” they immediately think of pads, tampons or sanitary wipes.
But, it’s 2017 and there are more products beyond those three.
Period-proof underwear, menstrual calculators, cups — all of these products are crucial to making a person’s menstrual cycle a little more comfortable. As more people start to change their views of what menstrual health looks like and what it encompasses, more and more companies are moving to ensure that their products are inclusive for all people who experience menstruation.
In lieu of having to wear tampons or sanitary napkins, the co-founder and CEO of Thinx, Miki Agrawal, believes that all people should have the option to wear underwear specifically designed to be period-proof. In May 2016, Thinx launched an ad campaign that featured trans male model, Sawyer DeVuyst, wearing period underwear. These ads were prominently displayed around the Union Square subway stop in Manhattan, marking the first time a trans man has appeared in a major ad for a period product.
Thinx originally reached out to DeVuyst to get his input on designing a new line of underwear for trans men and genderqueer customers. When Thinx launched their gender-neutral boy shorts, they also released a video interview with DeVuyst in which he shared his experience with getting a period prior to taking hormones.
“We’re hoping that this is another step in normalizing periods in the public sphere,” Agrawal said in an interview with Quartz. “Just as with any of our other campaigns, it’s going to be a little jarring to have it plastered all over somewhere as bustling as Union Square, but that’s what it takes to break taboos.”
This new app enables individuals from across the gender spectrum to keep track of their menstruation cycle without making blatant assumptions about users’ anatomies or how they identify.
Currently available for Android phones, the creators of Mcalc have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise enough funds to bring the app to iOS devices as well.
The app takes a gender-neutral approach by keeping users updated on their current menstrual status without misgendering them.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Mcalc’s creators explained their philosophy:
“We understand that sex and gender identity are not the same and we designed our app so it can be used by almost everyone. Mcalc is 100 percent gender-neutral and it won’t assume anything from your gender while using it… We all have different needs, and Mcalc can suit them accordingly.”
When Aunt Flow’s CEO Claire Coder was 19-years-old, she dropped out of college to start her own business — a menstrual product subscription box geared toward anyone and everyone who gets their period — cis women, trans men, gender nonconforming people.
“We are the only gender-neutral tampon and pad company,” Coder told Makers. “Yes, there are humans who identify as male, but still menstruate.”
Coder felt as though referring to the menstrual products that her company makes as “feminine hygiene products” only served to perpetuate the obsolete stereotypes associated with the “feminine ideal.”
All Aunt Flow menstrual products are 100 percent cotton, FDA-regulated, hypoallergenic and biodegradable — they are never bleached in chlorine, which can lead to ovarian cysts, toxic shock syndrome and other reproductive health issues. In addition, for every box of tampons and pads bought, Aunt Flow will deliver a “give-one” box to one of their beneficiaries — organizations that work to make sure that these much-needed products are ending up in the hands of the people who need them the most.
Originally published on HelloFlo.
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