Not all women have periods, not all who have periods are women.
The automatic association between menstruation and women that almost everybody makes seems impossible to break. Whenever an ad comes up for a menstrual product, it shows a woman. Apart from women representing the people who need menstrual products, they are represented in the most feminine surroundings and stereotypical behaviours.
Myriam, a transgender male, was featured in an article by RUBYCUP, when they apologized to the transgender community for being narrow minded and discriminatory against them, stated that having a period for someone who does not identify as a woman, can be a very stressful time emotionally. The media’s representation of women can also cause anxiety amongst people who do not conform to the “normal” categories of those who experience menstruation. It is time for the media and marketing agencies to be more inclusive of the fact that women are not the only ones who menstruate. The inclusion of transgender people when menstruation is discussed in the media is still non-existent.
Periods do not make someone a woman, and it is not only women who have periods. Periods are a result of human reproductive biology. However, being a woman is a social construct that is determined and cultivated by society and culture. Transgendered men are “othered” and are not included in the conversation surrounding periods. Advertisements for tampons and pads have traditionally been comprised of images of stereotypical gender normative activities. Cass Clemmer could not have said it better when he explained to Metro, why periods are not just for women. To quote Cass Clemmer, “Getting your period while not identifying as a woman can feel like a monthly battle, both with your own body and with a world that continuously tells you that your identity isn’t real.” Transgender men can experience periods during the transitioning process. While on hormones, some people still experience their period or spotting. “Every time people say that periods are just for women, they negate my identity and essentially render me and my experiences invisible,” explains Cass.
Only when we let go of our beliefs that menstruation and gender are linked and that it is only a woman’s problem, then can we truly remove the isolation that occurs when society ignores you and your period.