Always Sanitary Products Accused of Erasing Biology After Venus Symbol Removed From Packaging

The maker of Always sanitary towels is facing backlash after transgender rights activists convinced the company to ditch the feminine Venus symbol (♀)—which is used to denote the female sex in biology—from its product range.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced it would remove the symbol from its packaging after a number of campaigners said that the image was not inclusive of transgender individuals who were assigned female at birth and use the sanitary products.

A number of feminists voiced their displeasure with the decision and said they would boycott the brand from now on, with some stating the move was part of a concerted effort towards the "elimination of women's biology."

The decision to make the change came after Ben Saunders, an 18-year-old trans activist from the U.K. who was named campaigner of the year by the LGBT charity Stonewall, wrote to Always on Twitter to complain in June.

Always sanitary products
Always sanitary products will no longer have the Venus symbol after transgender people complained the packaging was not inclusive of transgender individuals who were born female that still required to use their sanitary products. Always

Saunders' request was followed by similar calls from a trans activist known as Melly Boom on Twitter, who asked why it was "imperative to have the female symbol on their sanitary products?"

They added: "There are non-binary and trans folks who still need to use your products too you know!"

After some consultation, P&G released a letter to those who had brought up the issue, stating it was thankful to them for helping the brand improve.

"We listened to you and our marketing team worked a solution!" the letter said.

"We are glad to inform you that as of December we will use a new wrapper design without the feminine symbol.

"Please just be aware that you might find products with the old wrapper design in the stores for some weeks after December, as the distribution of the new packages might take some time - the new designs should be in store Jan/Feb 2020."

I've been buying @Always since I started my periods, over 20 years ago.

I won't be buying them again. #boycottAlways

— That Big Old Moon 🌚 (@Bigoldsupermoon) October 18, 2019

Though the move was welcomed by trans campaigners, some feminists opposed to the gender-neutral packaging complained.

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

@Always Removing powerful female symbols from sanitary products to accommodate the activism of an infinitesimally small number of men is the ultimate misogyny. There is nothing empowering or inclusive about erasing women and girls from the story of menstruation.

— ddbrighton🐘🌱🌍🕊☀️💧💨🦀🌏夏 (@ddsussex) October 20, 2019

Feminist campaigner Julie Bindel told The Mail on Sunday: "Removing the female symbol from sanitary towel packaging is basically denying the existence of women. We're now moving towards the total elimination of women's biology. The women's symbol has been used by feminists for decades.

"This is pure cowardice and virtue signalling from these big corporate brands who are capitulating to the trans agenda."

Following the backlash, P&G released a statement addressing the concerns.

"For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so," a spokesperson said.

"We're also committed to diversity and inclusion, and after hearing from many people across genders and age groups, we realized that not everyone who has a period and needs to use a pad identifies as female.

"To ensure that anyone who needs to use a period product feels comfortable in doing so with Always, we updated our pad wrapper design. Our mission remains to ensure no girl loses confidence at puberty because of her gender or period."

The brand became the second multinational firm to come under fire for meeting the demands of trans activists in a matter of weeks.

Flora, a butter alternative owned by Upfield, came under severe criticism after the brand decided to remove all its advertising from the popular forum Mumsnet, which was accused of becoming a platform for "trans-hostile" posts.

The website, however, said it would not "tolerate transphobic comments" but believes in "free speech."

Mumsnet will always stand in solidarity with minority communities. We don’t tolerate transphobic comments and will delete any when they are flagged to us. But we do also believe strongly in free speech. 1/3

— Mumsnet (@MumsnetTowers) October 11, 2019

We know some people would like us to simply censor this entire debate but a similar number think we censor too much. We’re committed to allowing respectful discussion of an issue that is of particular interest to parents. 3/3

— Mumsnet (@MumsnetTowers) October 11, 2019

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