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New tampon brand FOR MEN/STRUATION aims to ease period-related gender dysphoria

Not all women menstruate, and not everyone who menstruates is a woman. In a move towards gender inclusivity, Finnish manufacturer of period care products Vuokkoset designed a tampon brand specifically for trans men. The tampons are packaged in a simple, dark blue box that reads FOR MEN on the front; turning the box reveals the type continuing as STRUATION.

The initiative, developed in partnership with TBWA\Helsinki and launched to coincide with International Transgender Awareness Week, seeks to address the psychological impact of menstruation on transmasculine people. In a study that also included nonbinary individuals, 93% reported experiencing gender dysphoria related to menstruation.

Vuokkoset is currently offering its FOR MEN tampons as a limited edition, with wider distribution following in early 2024. All sales proceeds will go to Trasek ry, an organization focused on gender diversity and sexual health.

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As society's understanding of gender evolves, there's an increasing demand for products that acknowledge and cater to the needs and experiences of people outside the binary. For those assigned female at birth who identify differently, traditional menstrual products can exacerbate the discomfort of gender dysphoria — a profound sense of dissonance between one's assigned sex and gender identity.

"When I was young, menstruation felt not only strange but somehow wrong," says Dakota Robin, a DEI consultant who worked with Vuokkoset and is also the face of its FOR MEN campaign. "Our culture does not really acknowledge the diversity of menstruating individuals." Labels like 'FOR MEN' can challenge societal norms and ignite conversations about inclusivity within the health and personal care industries. Robin adds, "By changing attitudes and broadening perspectives, we can also remove discrimination against gender minorities."

That said, some folks may avoid purchasing transmasculine period products for fear of being identified as trans, which can itself trigger gender dysphoria. Especially since a simpler option already exists: if a masculine person buys a conventional box of tampons, others are likely to assume they’re for a female partner or roommate. Which makes gender-neutral period care the logical way forward. Vuokkoset is working on a non-gendered line simply called 'FOR ME,' following in the footsteps of for-anyone-who-bleeds brands like
August in the US and Cycle in the UK.

Innovation of the day