A leading sanitary product brand has announced its decision to remove a feminine logo from packaging, in order to be more inclusive.
Always, owned by Proctor & Gamble, will remove the feminine Venus symbol – a sign derived from astrological symbols often used to represent females – from its packaging.
The symbol is currently used on the packaging of individual sanitary towels, in certain multipacks sold by the brand.
This move is out of consideration for transgender and non-binary people who use the products.
It follows a series of complaints on Twitter from transgender activists. Campaigners Melly Boom and Ben Saunders were among the first to call out the company for having a female symbol on their packaging, according to the Daily Mail.
Both individuals have since made their accounts private.
In a letter to Saunders, which has since been shared online, Sheryl, a member of the Always team, confirmed the new packaging design will begin to replace the old one from December 2019 onwards, with the newer designs distributed everywhere by February 2020.
Some have welcomed the change, including UK-based trans community group Trans Actual.
Well done to Always, who have chosen to subtly acknowledge that trans men and non-binary people get periods too. We're worried about the women who feel "erased" because their packet of sanitary towels doesn't specify they're for women. They must have a very fragile sense of self.
— Trans Actual (@TransActualUK) October 20, 2019
However, not everyone is on board with the change, with some others are calling to boycott Always over it.
Opponents are arguing that the change is unfair because the “vast majority” of sanitary towel users are women.
Yahoo UK contacted Always for comment. A representative told us: "For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so. We’re also committed to diversity & inclusion, and after hearing from many people across genders and age groups, we realised 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.
They added: "Our mission remains to ensure no girl loses confidence at puberty because of her gender or period and we do this through our puberty education programs, by providing access to period products with programs such as #EndPeriodPoverty, and by using our brand voice to tackle societal barriers and stigmas like we did with #LikeAGirl."
So let me get this right: a tiny group of anti-trans lobbyists are threatening to boycott @Always because they don’t like that @ProcterGamble listened to a transgender man (who they call a ‘woman’) about something that has NO impact on them? 🙄https://t.co/I9Goxpsnt5
— Helen🧜🏻♀️(⧖) (@mimmymum) October 20, 2019
speaking there is male/female. Why do we, therefore, feel threatened if items designed for purely male/female roles highlight that fact? Condoms are for men, tampons/sanitary towels for woman. Why does that invoke rage in some?? #TrulyAsking #WantToUnderstand #Always
— 🤦🏼♀️ Nikki’s Life UK 🤦🏼♀️ (@StationerySlut) October 20, 2019
I too agree with the feminists..some things should just be left alone....
Always sanitary towels is originally made for Women...so why bother change the symbol
— E.N Talboom (@TalboomE) October 20, 2019
Do you honestly believe removing the female symbol from sanitary towels is a worthy cause? Or were you just looking for 15 mins of fame? Where does this nonsense end? Gender exists, like it or not and the vast majority of people that use sanitary towels are female.
— Richard Hughes (@richardohughes) October 20, 2019
No female logos on sanitary towels, the world has hit an all time low @Always
— Alisha (@alisha_vernon) October 20, 2019
Companies around the world are increasingly moving towards a more diverse and inclusive treatment of gender, such as restaurant chain Wagamama who earlier this year announced its decision to launch gender-neutral toilets to 40% of its locations.
Then there was Air Canada’s decision earlier this month to use gender-neutral terms on flights instead of greeting passengers 'ladies and gentlemen'.