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The Importance of Gender-Inclusive Period Language

odds & ends


5 min read

Thinx - Periodical - The Importance of Gender-Inclusive Period Language

by Team Thinx | 06/15/2022

We know that periods have no gender. That’s why our underwear is designed for all people with periods — so we strive to use language that’s welcoming and inclusive of everyone.

Here’s the breakdown: not all people with periods are women, and women aren’t the only ones who can have vaginas. Menstruation is a biological process—one that has largely been associated with women’s reproductive systems throughout history—but people of all genders and identities can menstruate. 

One's assigned sex at birth does not equal their gender, which is a more complex identifier that can be based upon one's experience with their physical body, internal sense of self, societal presentation, and more. For example, those who are assigned intersex at birth (i.e. are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that isn’t distinctly ‘male’ or ‘female’) may or may not experience periods, regardless of their gender identity.

If you’ve been keeping up with us for a while, you may have noticed a change on our social media channels (and keep an eye out for our website URL change coming soon!). We finally made the switch from @shethinx to @thinx in an effort to fully stand behind our mission and support all members of our community.

This change is anything but small, and we knew it was necessary and long-overdue. As a brand that makes period underwear and creates space for conversations around the realities of menstruation, the importance of gender-inclusive language truly cannot be understated. 

For nonbinary and transmasculine people, the experience of having a period may induce or perpetuate feelings of gender dysphoria. In a world that’s dominated by feminine-gendered period products and language, as well as a long-standing history of stigmas and violence against the trans community, we recognize that opting to use language that is inclusive of all people with periods is one step toward changing this narrative.

One comment we often see is that using gender-inclusive language “erases women” — with the argument being that such language strips women of the unique struggles of menstruation and childbirth, as well as the societal taboos that have long been placed around periods, PMS, and more. The way we see it, choosing to use the phrase “people with periods” does not have erasure of women as the intention — rather, it’s geared toward inclusion of *all* members of our community, who may go through these experiences in different ways.

Normalizing—and talking openly about—the fact that people of all genders can bleed helps make for a safer and more inclusive world. Of course, this is only the beginning: from education to media to access to period products, we still have a long way to go to make sure that all menstruators are represented and supported. But using gender-inclusive language to talk about periods is a first step toward lasting change.

by Team Thinx

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