After a very active and busy two years, the topic of a woman’s period has certainly gone from a basement conversation to front page news. The appearance of Kiran Gandhi running a marathon with blood running down her thighs, the humor-filled snapshots of Toni the Tampon on Instagram, or active lobbying for the removal of the “tampon tax,” a bevy of unexpected pioneers are vetting unique ways to help young ladies relinquish the awkwardness and embarrassment long associated with menstruation.
For our part, Period Packs remains on the forefront of the effort to encourage more positive discussions about this biological certainty in every young woman’s life, delivering well-appointed gift boxes, small and large, across North America. Within each box, we add unexpected goodies, education and necessary items to help young ladies find comfort in this milestone and we truly want to welcome young ladies to womanhood.
Given the barrage of developments the last few years, it seemed appropriate to look ahead at what looms on the horizon for women, when it comes to menstruation.
Here are our thoughts about 2017 trends in the menstruation industry:
- Panties versus pads. Most women are now aware that beyond standard disposable or reusable pads and liners, tampons, organic products and menstrual cups are options. But, some still may not yet be aware that “period panties” exist. Companies including THINX, Dear Kates, PantyProp and several others, have designed unique undergarments that can be worn in lieu of using feminine hygiene products. Many aren’t even what you would envision (“granny panties”), and instead, are designed with lace and in colors that and styles that would make any woman feel sexy, even amid “full flow.” The sale of such items has definitely been on the rise, so we agree that much more is to come in this area.
- Organic and reusables take more of a center stage. For those that prefer a more eco-conscious and healthy alternative to disposable hygiene products, several companies have designed 100% organic cotton pads and tampons including Maxim Hygiene, Veeda, Seventh Generation. Additionally, a quick look on Etsy will reveal various hand-crafted reusable menstrual options, favored by women desiring to leave a smaller footprint in our landfills. Both options are increasing in popularity, and as generations learn about pollution and our environment, many may seek out an option that not only saves money, but Mother Earth. Menstrual cups also fall into the category of reusables as they can be used, with proper care, for more than 10 years.
- Technology aligns with our menstrual cycles. With technologic advancements, it is no surprise that technology plays a role when it comes to our cycles. Using a smart phone, women can now track their cycles, and a host of other interesting metrics including energy level, PMS and even how your period may affect your skin (i.e. acne). With busy lifestyles, sometimes an alert that your period is coming helps with preparation. For young women, whose periods often begin very irregular, tracking apps can be supportive in helping them recognize patterns and learn their cycles. As fitness bands evolve to tell us more about our bodies, we anticipate they too will incorporate information about menstrual cycles. Today, some of the most used and recommended apps for period tracking include: Period Tracker, Clue, Groove and Period Diary.
- Menstruation will continue to make headlines. After earning a Newsweek cover story this past year, and decades behind closed doors, the menstruation industry has definitely gained significant momentum. Hygiene manufacturers such as BodyForm have regularly leveraged viral video to normalize menstruation, while spotlighting poorly created and historic stereotypes. Advertisements about menstruation have graced the NYC subway and lobbyists are actively working to repeal taxes on feminine hygiene products, raising menstruation awareness to a completely new level.
- Underserved populations will gain much needed support. Women in countries around the world menstruate, yet not all have access to proper hygiene (toilets) or supportive products. Fortunately, there have been amazing developments in this area (from men in some cases!). Right here in America too, there is a population of underserved women. Thanks to organizations such as Homeless Period, Distributing Dignity and even campus-organization “pad parties,” women at risk now have greater access to items needed to manage their cycles with dignity, cleanliness, and support.
- Period shame will continue to decline. The days of “secret chats” between mom and daughter are thankfully beginning to diminish. Women on collegiate and university campuses and high schools are driving efforts to eliminate period shame altogether. Take note of one mom’s effort to celebrate the arrival of her daughter’s period with a “period party!”
Women are gaining greater comfort with their bodies and rather than feel ashamed, are embracing the fact that menstruation is a normal, healthy, biological certainty. How we teach our young women to feel about themselves is paramount in setting a more positive tone about this topic.
Hopefully, the trends listed above will support efforts to de-stigmatize menstruation once and for all, while resulting in additional beneficial developments in the years to come.