In recent days, Nadya Okamoto, the CEO of the tampon brand August, has faced criticism for her choice of language during an interview discussing period stigma. Here’s the full story.
During a conversation with Gayle King on CBS Mornings, Nadya Okamoto emphasized her commitment to creating a “period positive’” brand that is proudly gender-inclusive, particularly in what she referred to as “an age of transphobia.”
The Interview Faced Backlash
As clips from the interview circulated online, a wave of backlash ensued on social media, with users expressing their displeasure at being referred to as “menstruators.”
The Language Was Wrong?
The language controversy has sparked intense debates about inclusivity, identity, and the importance of acknowledging the experiences of cisgender women.
Supporters Gave Their Reasons
Advocates for alternative terms like “menstruators” and “bleeding people” argue that these expressions promote inclusivity and demonstrate support for transgender and non-binary individuals who also experience menstruation.
These Words Help Create a Safe Space
They contend that gender-neutral language helps to create a safe space for marginalized communities.
This Was Erasing Women
However, critics assert that such language erases the lived experiences of cisgender women, who have long endured systemic discrimination and fought for recognition and equality.
The CEO Has a History of Raising Awareness
Nadya Okamoto, a Manhattan-born entrepreneur who founded a non-profit organization called “PERIOD,” has been dedicated to ending period poverty and raising awareness about period stigma.
Her journey began at the age of 16 when she witnessed the pervasive effects of period stigma on homeless individuals in Portland.
Speaking about the societal shame associated with menstruation, she emphasized the importance of destigmatizing periods and normalizing discussions around them.
The Words Were Wrong
However, some individuals, particularly cisgender women, expressed frustration at being referred to as “menstruators,” arguing that it diminishes their unique experiences and the struggle for recognition they have faced as women.
This Is Against Women’s Rights
They fear that the erasure of the term “women” in favor of more gender-neutral language disregards the historical and ongoing fight for women’s rights.
“MENstruators, not WOMENstruators”
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user joked, “But it’s MENstruators, not WOMENstruators (sorry just had to, satire!).”
The Feminist Movement Is Dead?
Another user commented, “You know what this tells me? The “feminist movement” is dead. (Fine with me, u never agreed with them anyway). But now this is a MEN’S movement against feminists. As an actual woman and a Christian I find both abhorrent.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.