A Finnish feminine hygiene company is prompting backlash after introducing a line of tampons marketed at “menstruators” and men. In a new campaign targeted at females who identify as male, Vuokkoset claims that “periods are not a gender issue” and launched its new line “Tampon for Men” during National Transgender Awareness Week.
According to a blog post on the company’s website, because trans-identified females and non-binary people have a womb and menstrual cycle, periods are not an exclusively female issue. As a result, Vuokkoset decided to launch its line of tampons targeted toward “men” to foster “equality” and inclusivity.
“Trans men might continue to experience menstrual cycles even while undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Menstruation will usually end within a few months of starting testosterone,” reads an excerpt about the new tampon line. “However, some men do not want hormone replacement therapy, so menstruation can continue as normal. Asexuals and non-binary people can also have periods.”
Providing context for the inspiration behind the Tampon for Men line, the post explains that its new product aims to “raise the issue of genderedness of hygiene products and anxiety related to menstruation in trans men.”
Speaking to the media, a representative for Vuokkoset tried to differentiate Tampon for Men from other feminine hygiene products on the market by describing the product’s masculine packaging.
“While the primary function remains consistent, the design, packaging, and branding of our tampon for men are consciously developed to not reflect traditional feminized imagery, making it more inclusive and reflective of the diverse menstruating population.”
The product is currently packaged in a sleek navy blue box with the words “for men” printed on the front. When turning the product on its right, the words “for men” link together with other letters to create the phrase “for menstruation.”
News of the Finnish tampon company’s new product line was met with widespread confusion online, from people inquiring what the difference between regular tampons and tampons for men is, packaging aside
“Genuine question, what is the difference between a tampon cis women need and a tampon trans men need, or is it just packaging?” Wrote one X (formerly Twitter) user who goes by the handle @Jaiden Kett.
“Finland releases tampons for men. I don’t even know what to say anymore,” posted alternative media account @CensoredMen.
Saying the quiet part out loud, another X user who goes by the handle @Real___iTamara stated “tampons aren’t for men.”
Currently, the Vuokkoset Tampon for Men is available exclusively in Finland, but the company is planning on expanding its availability to other nations next year.
This is not the first time a feminine hygiene company has attempted to cater to an “inclusive” client base.
In 2020, period company This is L partnered partnered with the Phluid Project in a promotional video featuring individuals of varying “gender identities” to spread the message that periods are not specific to females. Amongst the “queer” influencers who shilled their “gender neutral” menstrual products were Blair Imani and Alok Vaid-Menon.
This is L also featured multiple partners on their site, most of which equally propagate the belief that women are not the only ones who menstruate. In particular, the Period Project, which strongly advocates for “gender neutral” language around menstruation.
On its website, the Period Project writes: “Not all women menstruate, and not all menstruators are women. At The Period Project, we are dedicated to supporting all menstruators, and we want to make sure our fight for menstrual equity is gender inclusive. We use the term ‘menstruators’ to refer to all people who experience menstruation, including cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, and genderfluid individuals.”