Proctor & Gamble, the manufacturer of the Always line of feminine hygiene products, will be removing a symbol long associated with women and femininity from its packaging in order to be more inclusive of transgender and nonbinary users, CNN reports.
For millennia, the ♀ symbol (a circle with a cross extending) has been associated with women and femininity. That’s hardly surprising, since it was initially the symbol of Venus, the Greek goddess of beauty. And for as long as anyone can remember, Proctor & Gamble’s Always brand of feminine sanitary products has used the Venus symbol on its packaging.
However, associating menstruation with femininity is an incomplete way of looking at it. Some people who menstruate, though assigned female biologically, do not identify as female. And not all women who identify as female menstruate.
What’s more, people who have nonconforming gender identities often feel dysphoric when the normal biological processes that affect their assigned gender, such as erections or menstruation, occur in them. Further, the topic of menstruation, when discussed within the contexts of culture, medicine, or business, is often addressed as if it is something that happens only to women assigned female at birth and who identify as women.
To that end, Proctor & Gamble has announced that the packaging on the Always line will be redesigned to reflect inclusivity of all of its customers, regardless of traditional gender norms.
“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 are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers,” Proctor & Gamble said in a statement.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, what the redesigned packaging will look like or when the newly-designed packaging will hit store shelves.
Not everyone is on board with the change. As Newsweek reports, some have accused the company, whose products are intended to facilitate a biological process, of effectively “erasing” biology. At least some disappointed customers have vowed never to purchase Always products again.
This is not the first time that a business’ attempt at advancing inclusivity has been met with hostility in some customers. Last week, as reported by The Inquisitr, Kellogg’s released a special “Spirit Day” cereal box in order to celebrate inclusivity and the LGBTQ community. However, the decision to release the special edition package, though met with praise, was also met with some calls to boycott Kellogg’s.