By: Samantha Illenz
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- In light of the recent all-gender inclusion movements, members of the transgender and nonbinary community have pushed the sanitary product brand, Always, to remove the female symbol from the wrappers of their products. Transgender men may identify as male but some do still have a regular menstrual cycle. People who identify as nonbinary also find the feminine symbol to be problematic. Some of the members of these communities have expressed that the inclusion of the female symbol on the packages of the “feminine” products they use can make them feel discriminated against or misgendered.
The symbol may be removed, but the product that is used stays the exact same. The use of a gendered symbol on a certain product may not seem like a huge deal and that’s because quite frankly, it’s not. Since the announcement that they will be removing the symbol, Always has been receiving some backlash about the redesign. Coincidentally, most of the hate has come from a demographic that typically doesn’t use or frequently purchase these products.
A symbol is created for the sole purpose of representing something. These products contain the use of a symbol that represents a specific gender. It isn’t only cis-gendered women that use these products and that is something that hasn’t been talked about as much as it has before. Females are not the only consumers of sanitary pads. If the part of the product that is actually being used stays exactly the same, then what is the harm in removing a symbol that makes some people feel distressed and excluded? There isn’t any, and there shouldn’t be any.
There are many solutions to the issues that many people seem to be having with Always’ redesign. If you have a problem with the removal of the exclusive and specific female symbol that is on the packages of pads and tampons, here are some things you can do. You can simply not purchase that specific brand of sanitary pads and go about your day unbothered and just fine. You can also realize that the product is still the same product and in order for the product to be useful and good, it does not require the Venus symbol on the package. The better solution, in my opinion, is to educate yourself and have conversations with people who may identify as transgender or non-binary. If we begin to more widely and publically educate ourselves on gender equality issues and how they make people feel, then the mountains that come from these molehills could be eliminated. The topic of gender isn’t taboo anymore, and we shouldn’t treat it as such. We can talk about these things and for everyone’s sake, we should be talking about these things. Taking the time to engage in conversations and understand where people come from and how they feel can do nothing but benefit us all. As cliche as it sounds, we are all human and we should take care of each other. If there is something we can do to resolve any issue that makes people feel excluded, there’s no reason we shouldn’t do it.