Not Just Women Have Periods

  • by Cinestie Olson

Written by Cinestie Olson

For as long as women have lived, their womanhood has been associated with periods, and periods have been associated with womanhood. Becoming a “woman” means that you finally got your first period. And if you’re bleeding? Great! That historically was thought to mean that you are a “woman” who can now bear children (our sole purpose, right?!). However, in a changing world that is full of different identities, sexualities, and preferences, gendering periods can be harmful and often incorrect. Not all women have periods, and not all people who have periods are women. It’s time to start providing inclusivity, especially in the period care space!

Not All Women Have Periods

Ever heard of menopause? Or endometriosis? Or hysterectomies? So many women-identifying people may not have periods or can no longer menstruate due to diseases, mental illnesses, sicknesses, normal biological processes, and so much more. If we continue to equate “womanhood” to if you have a period or not, there are millions of menstruators who are left out of the conversation. 

Not Everyone Who Menstruates is a Woman

Menstruation is simply a ~biological process~ meaning that if you have a uterus, you may have a period. There are MANY people who have periods that are transgender or nonbinary and do not identify as a woman or with femininity. The world is changing and allowing people to express themselves as they want and need (or we should be). 

Many retail stores and other period care companies have labeled their period products or aisles as “feminine products.” For someone who does not identify as a woman, this can cause period care shopping to be dysphoric and dangerous in some circumstances. 

 “It may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me and people like me who are menstruators but are not women, it can be at best complicated and at worst downright dangerous being in an aisle that clearly says with every phrase on their packaging, ‘We don’t see you.’”

- Kir Beaux 

From a previous blog post on “feminine” period products

“I have always felt awkward buying period products. I always wondered why the packaging couldn’t be more inclusive and/or less color coded. After I came out, it got worse. Every time I had to go out to get period products, I felt like all eyes were on me.” 

- Benjamin W., he/him, 21

Inclusivity Does Not Mean Erasure

Just because we are including people who have periods and don’t identify as a woman, does not mean that we’re erasing those who do have periods and identify as a woman. The period care space is big enough for everyone who menstruates! Inclusivity hurts LITERALLY no one and helps everyone.

The Word ‘Menstruator’

Warning: Many TERFs ahead. 

The controversy on using the word ‘menstruator’ to identify people who have periods is often because of a lack of knowledge. We’ve gotten many comments saying it is “dehumanizing” to call someone a menstruator. However, in the same way that someone is a teacher, a dancer, or a runner, we’re categorizing them as something they do regardless of gender while not making it their entire livelihood.

In September 2022, Sunny released a petition to degender periods in retail stores. To learn more, read our earlier blog post.


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