A Transgender Man Has Joined A Campaign To Battle Period Shaming

A Transgender Man Has Joined A Campaign To Battle Period Shaming

Gender is not determined by anatomy.
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Periods are a topic that makes many people uncomfortable because it is seen as something taboo and disgusting that we should pretend does not exist. When someone is on their period, they are expected to hide their products as they go to the bathroom out of courtesy to the people around them. However, this stigma may be reduced thanks to Pink Parcels, a UK-based tampon subscription box service.

Pink Parcels has created the “I’m On” campaign, which is meant to encourage conversation about periods and eliminate the shame surrounding this natural part of life. “I’m On” has gone viral because of Kenny Jones, the first transgender male model fronting a period campaign. This is monumental because it brings attention to the fact that periods are not exclusively experienced by women.

The campaign features Jones with women such as British fashion designer Olivia Rubin and activist Natalie Lee. They are all seen advertising shirts with slogans like “I’m On. Period.” and “I’m on and I’m strong.” Seven dollars from each purchase will be donated to the Bloody Good Period organization, which aids in supplying menstrual products to refugees and others in need of them.

Jones speaking about his experience with his period through the “I’m On” campaign provides the transgender community with the representation that they need. He explained that he had a difficult relationship with his period because even though it would make him feel annoyed, it also gave him a greater understanding of what he wanted. He also went on to say,

“I didn’t want my period and there was a lot of confusion within myself. It did make me realize that periods weren’t something I wanted to happen to me and it motivated and pushed me to further my transition.”

The only way that periods can be normalized is by having conversations about how it affects different people and this was what inspired Jones to become a part of the “I’m On” campaign. He said that he used to never feel comfortable talking about his period because of how our society is against openly speaking about them. Being on your period is seen as a sign of weakness, and is often used as an insult towards someone when they are acting irrational, despite the fact that it is just a normal biological process. Jones stated that

“Assuming periods are inhibiting to people tends to perpetuate period shame even more, and makes people even more reluctant to talk about them.”

Even though Jones no longer bleeds, his perspective on having a period is valuable and should be welcomed. Many people believe that only women are capable of menstruating and that even if it is a transgender man menstruating, he is still a woman because of it. This could not be farther from the truth because a person’s gender is not decided based off of their physical parts, but rather their internal identity.

Jones believes that transgender men “should feel more comfortable discussing periods with one another,” and I believe that his decision to be a part of the “I’m On” campaign will inspire many transgender men to open up about their own menstruation stories.

Cover Image Credit: Pink Parcel

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Please, If You're Somehow Still Using The 'R Word'— Leave That Habit In 2018

Come on guys, its 2018. Google a new word.

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Maybe it was because I witnessed two boys get in trouble in elementary school for using this word as an insult.

Maybe it's because I fell in love with a thing called Camp Able. Maybe it's because one of my best friends is a special ed major. Or maybe it's because I try to be a decent human being. I do not use the R word.

Until this past semester, I hadn't really heard anyone use it often despite one encounter in 6th grade. Most of my best friends I have met while serving at places like Camp Able or Camp Bratton Green where summers are dedicated to people with diverse-abilities. I think having been surrounded with like-minded people for so long made me forget that some people still use it as an expression.

Let me tell you, it's annoying.

The word itself has been brushed off even in a "scientific" sense. It means to be slowed down, but it has stretched far beyond that meaning and has turned into an insult.

It's an insult of comparison.

Like any word, the power behind it is given by the user and most times, the user uses it to demean another person. It's like when you hear someone say "that's gay."

Like, what? Why is that term being used in a derogatory sense?

Why is someone's sexuality an insult? Hearing someone use the R-word physically makes me cringe and tense up. It makes me wonder what truly goes on in someone's mind. People will argue back that it's "just a word" and to "chill out," but if it was just a word, why not use something else?

There is a whole world full of vocabulary waiting to be used and you're using something that offends a whole community. Just because you don't care, it does not mean it shouldn't matter. Just use a different word and avoid hurting a person's feeling, it really is just that simple.

There is not a good enough reason to use it.

I volunteer at two summer camps: Camp Bratton Green and Camp Able. If you know me, I talk nonstop about the two. More realistically, if you know me, it's probably because I met you through one of the two. Even before I was introduced to the love at Camp Able, I still knew that this was a word not to use and it never crossed my mind to think of it.

The history behind the R-word goes back to describe people with disabilities but because of the quick slang pick up it was sort of demoted from the psychology world. Comparing someone or something that is negative to a word that you could easily avoid speaks volumes about who you are as a person.

The word is a word, but it is subjective in its meaning and in its background.

Just stop using it.

A List of Objective Words/Phrases to Use:

Fool/Foolish

Blockhead

Nincompoop

Silly

Ludicrous

Dim-witted

Trivial

Naive

"A few beads short on the rosary"

"On crack or something"

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No, Victoria's Secret Is Not Obliged To Use Plus-Size Or Transgender Models

After Victoria's Secret Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek made it clear the models walking the runway for the lingerie line would not be changing anytime soon, critics decided it was time for the company to adopt a more progressive mindset and encourage inclusivity of every kind of woman.

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On November 8, 2018, as the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion show was set to film and backstage its most recognized models, including Sui He, Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, and Romee Strijd, prepped and interviewed, their Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek's interview with Vogue.com was going viral.

It's no secret the lingerie company is exclusive in the models it hires to represent the brand. Even its most diverse models, spanning from Asian to Black and Brazilian, mirror typically white features, and the models make no effort to hide the months of physical training and dietary rules they keep to achieve their slim runway bodies. The last time the show even attempted to include "plus-size" models was in 2000, which Ed Razek himself dubbed a failure.

However, most critics drew the line after Ed Razak's comments to Vogue were released prior to filming that Thursday in which he essentially stated that transgender and larger-sized models would not be seen on Victoria's Secret runway anytime soon, even though he made it clear they have considered their inclusion in the past. The remarks sparked an outrage online and several models responded with social media postings expressing their support for the transgender community.

The question here is, should Victoria's Secret feel obligated to incorporate transgender and plus-sized models into their shows to represent "all women?" Or are they at liberty to determine who and what their brand represents, and the specific women who will don their lingerie on the runway?

Like any brand, Victoria's Secret is just that: a brand, with a targeted consumer, a determined aesthetic, and deliberate marketing strategy to draw that consumer in and keep them as life-long buyers. More than that, Victoria's Secret, with its internationally televised annual fashion show (that draws in nearly 1.6 billion viewers in 190 countries), has transformed into a label filled with superstar models backed by a devoted fan base. The company extends beyond its retail shops. It's a source of entertainment and as Ed Razek puts it, "a fantasy."

To force Victoria's Secret, or any brand or company for that matter, to alter who represents their product for the sake of political correctness is misguided.

If you don't approve of the models who walk in their shows, don't buy their clothing.

Further, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is comparable to the Superbowl of modeling. The sixty models selected to walk are chosen from hundreds of models who, in addition, beat out thousands of other models to simply land that audition. They work incredibly hard to become physically fit for the runway, to the point that several high-fashion brands refuse to allow them to walk in their shows, deeming them too fat. To belittle their work and efforts in the name of "inclusion" is what's genuinely shameful.

Yes, it may be disappointing to the plus-size or transgender models who dream of walking for Victoria's Secret or the customers who don't see themselves represented in their marketing that the company refuses to reassess its image, but several other brands including ThirdLove or Savage X Fenty exclusively market to these women. Like any fashion line or clothing company, not every consumer will feel inclined to buy their products, so they choose another store to shop at. However, that does not determine the preferences of other consumers, and many women around the world, like me, are fond of the Victoria's Secret brand and what their models represent.

To me, they're fit, beautiful, and empowering women who faithfully back the people and company they represent.

If you don't agree, that's OK; but don't slander the models who spend years with Victoria's Secret as the end goal of their career in mind or the women who feel empowered and beautiful in their clothing is unjust and really, quite ironic. If your intention as one of these critics is to see the support and acceptance of all women, that must include those who work tirelessly to achieve the bodies and careers that you're shaming for being too "perfect."

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