Tampon designed for trans men faces backlash from trolls

A Finnish sanitary product manufacturer is getting hate online for launching a tampon aimed at trans men and non-binary folks. 

Vuokkoset launched the product during Transgender Awareness Week as a means of addressing the gender dysphoria trans men and non-binary people feel around menstruation, with the aim of changing perceptions of periods and reducing the distress it can cause. 

In a press release as part of the campaign, the brand cited research which shows 93 per cent of trans men have experienced menstrual-related gender dysphoria. 

Aptly called the Tampon for Men, the product is contained in a navy blue box why a clever double meaning on the box. One side features the words “for men” and the other has “struation”, meaning when read together it reads: “For menstruation”. The company is also working on an entirely gender-neutral product.

“When I was young, menstruation felt not only strange but somehow wrong. Our culture does not really acknowledge the diversity of menstruating individuals,” face of the campaign and DEI consultant Dakota Robin said. 

“This is definitely a step in the right direction. By changing attitudes and broadening perspectives, we can also remove discrimination against gender minorities.” 

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The product is contained in a navy-blue box (Vuokkoset)

Unfortunately, as is the case with anything that is trans-focused or inclusive, the company and product has faced a vulgar pile on from anti-trans trolls. 

Many people were entirely dismissive of trans men and their experiences with periods, misgendering and diminishing the community in social media posts. 

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“Men don’t menstruate. Simple really,” one negative Instagram comment read. 

“Periods don’t just concern women, here are tampons for……. men,” one user on X – the platform previously known as Twitter – sarcastically wrote with the inclusion of the clown emoji. 

“This era is beyond me,” someone else said, with another saying they “don’t even know what to say anymore” and a third describing it as “peak clown world”. 

“It is of course nonsense that tampons are only for women. Here’s the manpon,” another person dismissively wrote. 

Others took aim at Vuokkoset directly and mocked the idea of marketing products specifically to trans people.

“This is genius. Genuinely should have thought of this myself,” one person sardonically said, adding there is “so much money to be made” off trans people. 

“No, they haven’t invented something new for a bodily function men do not have,” anti-trans account Two Genders One Truth – which has 5,000 followers – also wrote, “They put tampons inside a box that says “for men.” Companies like Vuokkoset perpetuate a belief in “transgenderism” out of pure self interest. They profit from creating a market of mutilated, medicalized, and confused women.” 

The product aims to relieve the dysphoria trans men feel (Vuokkoset)

However, amid the vile backlash there were many more supportive comments which praised the product and the campaign’ message. 

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“Thanks for this courageous campaign,” one person commented on Instagram, “Simply beautifully executed! Also, it has to be mentioned that they did a really good job with regards to packaging design.” 

Another called out the bigots who were outraged: “If you came here just to be transphobic then I have just one word for you: cope.” 

“Awesome work. Ultimately the dumb comments won’t matter,” another said on Robin’s Instagram account. 

Others called the product “revolutionary” and said it helped them feel “seen”. 

This is not the first time a period product has been aimed at people other than women. 

Back in March, trans masc model Oscar McGregor partnered with absorbent apparel brand Modibodi on its All Gender Collection, which includes the company’s first ever period briefs that are able to accommodate a packer. 

At the time he told PinkNews the period industry is “moving in the right direction” and creating more products for gender-diverse people, but there is still a way to go before trans men and non-binary people who bleed feel truly included.  

“The whole narrative around the menstruation is very feminine and as someone who doesn’t recognise themselves in this gendered language, it can be a really challenging experience every month,” he said. 

Vuokkoset’s Tampon for Men will firstly be available as a limited edition in Finland with wider distribution set to begin in early 2024. Sales from the product will be donated to Trasek ry, an organisation focused on gender diversity and sexual health.

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