5 min read
by Emma Glassman-Hughes | 09/29/2016
Similar to how Political Bae Angela Merkel sips her steins, we've been sippin' a little on the political friction engulfing the THINX-iverse. Many people are shook by the unabashed political agenda found in our company communications and social media platforms, and many people have politely asked us to stay in our lane and stick to selling the undies. I hate to be the bearer of bad brews, but our politics are essential to our company ethos, and we won't be hush-hushing our political feminism any time soon. Here's why, in essay form.
Finding offense in a period underwear company that embraces publicly pro-woman politics is like being offended by a butcher who is open about sourcing organic, local meat for her shop. Why would you not want your butcher to adopt the smartest, healthiest practices for you and for her business? Wouldn’t you prefer she sold you healthy meat, not the alternative? Okay, aside from the flimsy meat-aphor (maybe not the best comparison to vaginas anyway), being openly political is a pretty natural trajectory for a good menstrual hygiene advocate to take. A period underwear company transforming the condition of womanhood and menstruation must have a vested interest in protecting women and helping women access the healthiest possible versions of themselves. And, as you may be able to tell from our emails and/or our social posts, this involves fighting for comprehensive reproductive and sexual healthcare for women of all backgrounds; fighting against racism that disadvantages and endangers women of color; advocating for the destigmatizing of non-heteronormative groups; among many other things. It's a busy life, TBH.
Quick THINX-fact: ours is a product created to help fill a void that exists and has stunted the growth of a specific subset of female healthcare--we call this "the period space." Therefore, THINX is a political product by nature. Think about it: what is it that has kept menstrual hygiene from advancing since the dawn of the tampon or even the menstrual cup? The inescapable truth is that we live in a patriarchy. There is a systematic devaluation of feminine needs in sciences and in academia. The cultural priority has never been to improve healthcare for women.
Instead of throwing up our hands in grand, "that's-how-it's-always-been" defeat, we’re challenging it; we're venturing to change things.
We’re providing women with options, a rare resource in feminist politics. In most aspects of our lives, women are starved of choice, of options. We’re not allowed to dress in certain ways, speak in certain ways, speak to certain people, walk down certain streets, wear our hair in certain fashions, decide what happens when we get pregnant, have sex with whomever we want, go to school, go outside after dark, drive a car, hold public office, handle our money, not smile in public, get drunk at a party, the list goes on and on. Depending on where one lives in the world, these restrictions are felt more or less acutely.
Giving a woman just one more option in her life--one more realm of possibility where she can make a choice for herself about what kind of menstrual healthcare she will espouse--is an inherently political act, particularly when one considers how few choices women actually get, even in their own personal lives.
So at THINX, it’s only natural that we are political in other ways, too. We engage feminism in all of its intersecting and intertwining forms--and where we fall short, we try to learn and grow. As feminists, we're engaged in conversation about racial politics in the U.S. and around the world; as feminists, we're engaged in conversation about abortion and reproductive healthcare for women in the U.S. and around the world; as feminists, we're engaged in conversation about human rights for queer and LGBT+ communities in the U.S. and around the world; and as feminists, we're proudly and loudly against Donald Trump and the racism, sexism, fear-mongering, and xenophobia he has subjected global audiences to for the duration of this election cycle. We are against Donald Trump and his history of abuses against women, and we would be against anyone with a record like his.
The glorious thing about having an audience and a platform like the one we have at THINX is that we can use it to give voices to people who are often ignored, whose needs are often undervalued, whose political leanings are often disregarded on the individual level if they are without the validation of a larger group (ahem, hey. It’s us, your friendly neighborhood validators). But with that platform, there are bound to be dissenters. And, because we have an understanding of basic sociology, we of course know that not every woman or THINX customer shares our political beliefs, or even wants to know what ours may be. Which is perfectly valid. People are welcome to follow and unfollow at their own discretion--besides, our traveling feminist underwear droids are still in beta so no one will be coming to knock down your doors and force you to “like” our posts at gunpoint until *at least* 2018.
That being said, we stand by our political beliefs, and defend our right--nay, our duty--to be vocal about feminist issues that have a very real application to our own lives, and to the lives of those we love. Tl;dr #srynotsry #blacklivesmatter #pussypower #damnitfeelsgoodtobeagangster etc.
by Emma Glassman-Hughes