Period pants brand Modibodi has come under fire from women for a ‘dangerous and offensive’ graphic referring to someone using their products as a ‘menstruating person’.
The ad was spotted by a would-be customer who wrote an angry post on the UK-based forum Mumsnet, explaining that she’d been put off making a purchase from the brand, which specialises in reusable leak-proof underwear for periods and incontinence.
After seeing the phrase ‘menstruating person’ in a graphic about the number of tampons used in a lifetime on the Facebook ad, she said that she’s determined to boycott the Australian brand.
The globally-popular brand, founded by former PR executive Kirsty Chong, has worldwide sales in excess of $3million.
Many commenters sided with the woman claiming the wording was ‘offensive’ and designed to ‘erase women’, although others claimed that taking issue with it was ‘transphobic’.
An anonymous woman, who lives in the UK, has sparked a heated debate about the phrase ‘menstruating person’ being used to advertise ModiBodi (pictured)
Posting on Mumsnet, the woman explained she has decided not to purchase from the Australian brand because of the terminology they are using
The Australian firm, which is internationally popular, was founded by CEO Kristy Chong, who after the birth of her second child, and following her experiences with bladder and period leaks, was determined to create protective underwear
The controversial graphic was designed to encourage people to buy reusable products with information about period product waste.
‘Up to 90 per cent of a menstrual pad is plastic,’ it read. ‘One pack of pads contains the same amount of plastic as five single-use plastic bags.
‘Pads take 500+ years to biodegrade, so the first ones ever made could still be in landfill. A menstruating person uses approx. 11,000 tampons in their lifetime.’
Taking issue with the phrase ‘menstruating person’, the woman commented: ‘About to buy these, but now they can do one!’
Although her post divided opinion, a huge number of internet users were in agreement that not referring to women in the post was ‘damaging’.
A flood of responses to the thread accused the woman of being ‘transphobic’ and argued ModiBodi is using ‘inclusive’ terminology
‘Why is it that if a biological male identifies as a woman and wants to be referred to as a woman that is sacrosanct and cannot be questioned?’ one argued.
‘But if a biological female identifies as a woman and wants to be referred to as a woman that’s transphobic and she needs to be silenced?’
Another wrote: ‘Erasing the word woman is immensely damaging because if you can’t define what a woman is, then there is nothing that is exclusively for women. So no they can get to f*** with menstruators – nowhere, absolutely nowhere are men described as ejaculators or sperminators.
Other responses claimed to also be offended by the phrase ‘menstruating person’ and promised to boycott ModiBodi
Modibodi: The Australian brand set up by CEO who wanted to create better solutions for women who suffer bladder and period leaks
Modibodi is a leak and period proof apparel brand, making sustainable and reusable products.
The Australian firm, which is internationally popular, was founded by CEO Kristy Chong, who after the birth of her second child, and following her experiences with bladder and period leaks, was determined to create protective underwear.
Prior to setting up the company, she spent 13 years working in PR for big brands including McDonald’s.
Her website says she is a ‘social advocate for women’s health issues and rights.’
In 2011, she designed, developed and scientifically proved her patented Modifier Technology™ leak-proof, award-winning underwear and transformed this into the Modibodi collection.
The range now includes tops as well as swimwear, created to ‘liberate us all from endless amounts of landfill.’
In 2020, a Twitter storm surrounded Modibodi after Facebook decided to ban one of its adverts which dared to show period blood, claiming it violated the platforms’ guidelines. The social media company later reversed its decision.
‘Funny isn’t how it’s never men who are being pushed to be kind and ‘inclusive’ by celebrating the erasure of their own terminology.’
A third said: ‘Disgraceful. I was considering buying some too but I’ll be looking elsewhere now. A menstruating person, I am not. This constant attempt to eradicate women is highly disturbing.’
However, others couldn’t see the problem with using more inclusive language
One person wrote: ‘Some trans men and non binary people have periods, it’s not difficult. No one is denying it’s mainly women who do menstruate. Inclusive language won’t hurt you.’
Another said: ‘Literally could not give two s**** about all this. Being called a menstruating person does not take anything away from being a woman. Being called a birthing person does not take anything away from me being a woman or a mother. If that’s how you define being a woman, feel free but I can’t be bothered. We have real issues as a species like systemic racism, climate change and homophobia to deal with.’
A third added: ‘If you’re a woman who menstruates, you are a person right? Or are you going so far into being transphobic that you now say women aren’t people?’
Responding to the controvesry, Kristy Chong, CEO and Founder Modibodi said: ‘We refer to both women and girls with periods and ‘people who menstruate’ at Modibodi.
‘We stand by our position to use “people who menstruate” because we always strive to be as inclusive as possible in our communication language to avoid gender-biased expressions or expressions that reinforce gender stereotypes.
‘We acknowledge language around gender identity is constantly evolving, and we’re open to learning, and value our community feedback about our language choices and how they make them feel.’
From ‘birthing parent’ to ‘everyone with a cervix’, is the move towards more inclusive language erasing women?
Earlier this month, the controversial group advised hundreds of companies who want to be included on their equality leaderboard to replace the term ‘mother’ with ‘parent who has given birth’.
Stonewall also provided guidance telling employers to add gender pronouns to email signatures as well as outlaw single sex toilets and changing rooms.
The leaderboard currently features government departs such as the Home Office and the British Army, as well as Cardiff University and Newcastle City Council.
The University of Manchester
The UK’s second largest university was accused of pandering to the woke brigade in March 2021, after telling staff to stop using terms like ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in a bid to be more inclusive.
The institution took to their website to advise replacing the phrases with ‘guardian’ or ‘parent’ and man and woman with terms like ‘individuals’.
Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust
In February 2021, the hospital took to social media to announce that they have launched the ‘UK’s first clinical and language guidelines supporting trans and non-binary birthing people.’
In a drive to stamp out ‘mainstream transphobia’, Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust listed a series of new phrases for use in their maternity service department:
Previous term: Breastfeeding
New term: Breast/chestfeeding
Previous term: Breastmilk
New term: Human milk or breast/chestmilk or milk from the feeding mother or parent
Previous term: Her
New term: May need to use ‘them’ or ‘their’ when replacing ‘woman’ with ‘woman or person’
Previous term: Maternal
New term: ‘Maternal and parental’ or ‘maternal/parental’
Previous term: ‘Maternal’ or ‘maternity’
New term: ‘Maternity’ or ‘perinatal’ (this acknowledges that ‘Maternity’ sometimes refers to terminology which it is not possible for BSUH to change at present)
Previous term: Maternal consent
New term: Informed consent
Previous term: ‘Maternal notes’ or ‘maternity notes’
New term: ‘Hand held notes’ or ‘Antenatal/Labour and Birth Care/Postnatal Care Record’
Previous term: ‘Mother/s’
New term: ‘Mother/s or birthing parent/s’ or ‘mothers and birthing parents’
Previous term: She
New term: May need to use ‘they’ when replacing ‘woman’ with ‘woman or person’
Previous term: ‘Woman’
New term ‘Woman or person’
The UK High Street retailer sparked a heated debate when it was revealed in September 2020, that its plant-based sanitary towels from Luna are labeled for ‘people who menstruate’ rather than for women
The UK’s leading cervical cancer charity found itself at the centre of a Twitter storm in July 2020, after responding to a trending hashtag #OnlyFemalesGetCervicalCancer.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust tweeted: ‘We’re aware a hashtag is trending that raises the issue of gender identity and cervical health. At Jo’s we want to ensure everyone with a cervix has access to the information and support they need to attend #CervicalScreening, regardless of their gender identity.’
A flood of responses to the thread argued the term ‘people with a cervix’ is ‘dehumanising and disappointing’.
Among comments, was one person saying: ‘I get the inclusive language. The issue is that many females will not know that they have a cervix.
‘Vulnerable females from underprivileged or religious backgrounds, or struggling in English will not think that they need to worry about cervical cancer. Your PC approach kills.’
However, others accused people of ‘weaponising cancer’, by arguing over not using the word ‘women’.