Always remove feminine symbol from products to be 'more inclusive' but it's getting backlash
21 October 2019, 17:08 | Updated: 24 October 2019, 11:25
Fragile people are now threatening to boycott the brand for "erasing" women.
Always have announced plans to remove the feminine Venus symbol (the symbol for a woman ♀️) from their products in an effort to make them more inclusive for their transgender and non-binary customers.
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The decision came after criticism from transgender and non-binary activists like Ben Saunders, who felt that having the symbol excluded transgender and non-binary customers who still use sanitary products, but do not identify as women.
An activist named Melly Broom shared their disappointment in the sanitary brand on Twitter in July 2019. In a tweet – which appears to have been deleted – Melly said: "Could someone from Always tell me why it is imperative to have the female symbol on their sanitary products? There are non-binary and trans folks who still need to use your products too you know!"
tw// periods— jocelyn ✰ (@phiddies) October 13, 2019
hi @Always i understand that you guys love girl positivity but please understand that there are trans men that get periods, and if you could please do something about the ♀️symbol on your pad packaging, i’d be happy. i’d hate to have any trans males feel dysphoric.
After listening to their customers, Always have pledged to remove the symbol from its packaging from December 2019 with full distribution expected by February 2020.
In a personal letter to Ben, the North American customer care team wrote: "We listened to you and our marketing team worked a solution. We are glad to inform you that as of December we will use a wrapper design without the feminine symbol."
Oh really? 😌 Finally someone got through to them. It pays for the “minority” to be heard. pic.twitter.com/Zr0yvs7dGz— Melly Boom 💥 (@MellyBoomBoom_) October 16, 2019
Whilst Always have been praised for the move, the decision has proved rather divisive too, with some threatening to boycott the brand.
Can you imagine taking the time to call or email a company that makes a product for biological women just to complain their packaging makes you feel excluded? The real problem? Our lives are TOO GOOD. If that’s a thing you have time/energy for, you’ve never had real problems.— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 21, 2019
Well done to @Always for making sure your packaging is inclusive. We've read the Daily Mail article about it and we're quite frankly worried for the women whose sense of self is so fragile that the removal of a symbol from a packet of sanitary towels makes them feel "erased".— Trans Actual (@TransActualUK) October 20, 2019
Not only "women", and "female" but now also ♀️ are dirty words. First @upfieldglobal @flora now @pguk @Always . Why are corporates so willing to alienate their core demographic at the drop of a hat because a few people tell them that recognising female biology is 'exclusionary'. pic.twitter.com/bKoiYyoS17— Maya Forstater (@MForstater) October 17, 2019
Women are quite literally being erased from sanitary products now. Is there anywhere we are allowed to be visible!? @Always I have bought your product since the age of 10. Stop erasing the people who use your product from your product. Or you erase my purchase power too. https://t.co/bc5qHZl4Xh— Vicki Lamb (@vix_lamb) October 18, 2019
I’m wondering if the “gender critical” anti-trans lobbyists currently threatening to boycott @Always, will also be boycotting @bodyform and #Carefree for not having the Venus symbol on their wrappers?— Helen🧜🏻♀️(⧖) (@mimmymum) October 20, 2019
We see their complaints for what they are - blatant transphobia! 😞 pic.twitter.com/UzYvD2NYgJ
During Pride month thousands of brands sport a rainbow logo.— Helen🧜🏻♀️(⧖) (@mimmymum) October 20, 2019
They then remove the rainbow logo at the end of the month.
Does this mean they’re “erasing” #LGBT people?...Of course not!
In the same way, removing the Venus symbol from @Always wrappers doesn’t “erase” women! 🙄 pic.twitter.com/q6a2O54yb1
In response, Proctor & Gamble (the owners of Always) released a statement to Metro.co.uk.
They said: "For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so. We’re also committed to diversity and 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.
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"To ensure that anyone who needs to use a period product feels comfortable in doing so with Always, we updated our pad wrapper design.
View this post on Instagram
Anyone else packing for #Festivals this summer? 🎪Knowing what to pack for British weather is half the battle 🙈 To keep that fresh morning feeling all day, pop some of our individually wrapped Always Dailies Singles To Go Liners into your bag 💁♀️ #AlwaysDailies #AlwaysFresh 📸 @robyn_lynch
"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."