Why Is Inclusive Language Important for Period Care?

June is Pride Month, and we're using this month to think about all the ways we can make the world a more welcoming, inclusive place for all.

The period care and menstrual health space has historically been extremely gendered. We're here to change that. Periods are not a single-gender issue. Not everyone who has a period is a woman, and it's about time the world stops using gendered language to speak about things that apply to more than just that group of people.

Who menstruates besides women and girls?

While many women and girls menstruate, nonbinary people and trans men can also menstruate! Menstruation is a biological process, and gender is a social construct. That means that whether or not you menstruate does not define your gender.

Additionally, many women don't menstruate: cis women who have various health concerns, have gone through menopause, or are on birth control that stops their periods; or trans women who have never had a period. None of those factors make them any less "woman."

Why Does Inclusive Language Make a Difference?

Being more inclusive helps everyone and hurts no one. Inclusivity begins with communication and language, and it starts with ourselves. In a world that has entwined gender and menstruation, it is our job to dismantle that association. The effects of inclusivity range from more comprehensive health care and medical research (which can literally save lives), to helping one individual feel more comfortable and confident in their skin (even if it's just one person, it's worth it).

How to Start Using Inclusive Language

Changing the language that you use takes practice! A great place to start is saying "period products" instead of "feminine products," or just calling them what they are - pads, tampons, etc.

Take a look at the tampon aisle at your grocery store. Is it labeled "feminine hygiene"? Once you start noticing gendered language around you, you can be intentional about the ways that you resist it. Being aware is half the battle.

In conversations with your friends or in the TikTok comment section, be mindful of the words you use when talking about periods. If everyone you're talking to about periods is a cis women who menstruates, not only should you still use inclusive language; that can be the most important times to show inclusivity in order to drive change.

Saying "period products" instead of "feminine products" might not seem like a huge deal to you, but it could completely change someone's day and make them feel better in their own skin.

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