Period products brand Always announced that it’s removing the female “Venus” symbol from its packaging. The move is an attempt to be more inclusive of trans and non-binary customers.
Trans activists and allies had previously urged Always to remove the symbol. They pointed out that not all people who menstruate are women. Using feminine-themed menstrual products can be a dysphoric experience for those who don’t identify as female.
“Could someone from Always tell me why it is imperative to have the female symbol on their sanitary products?” Melly Bloom wrote, per NBC News. “There are non-binary and trans folks who still need to use your products too you know!”
On Tuesday, Always announced that the female symbol will be gone by December 2019. The new packaging will be available everywhere by February 2020.
Always owner Procter & Gamble said in a statement to Metro: “For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so. We’re also committed to diversity and inclusion, and after hearing from many people across genders and age groups, we realized that not everyone who has a period and needs to use a pad identifies as female. To ensure that anyone who needs to use a period product feels comfortable in doing so with Always, we updated our pad wrapper design.”
The decision has spurred anti-trans backlash on social media. Transphobic “feminists” claim that womanhood is under attack, and they’re calling for a boycott of Always. “We’re now moving towards the total elimination of women’s biology,” Julie Bindel wrote in The Mail on Sunday.
But plenty of period products already don’t have the female sign on them. This tiny change won’t affect cis women’s lives at all, yet it will help make menstruation easier for trans and non-binary folks.
LGBTQ advocates are praising the move, and Proctor & Gamble is standing by their decision.