A New Zealand supermarket chain will label menstrual health products using the word “period” going forward.
A representative from Countdown, a major New Zealand chain, said that shoppers will no longer see euphemisms such as “sanitary” or “feminine hygiene” to describe its products. Instead, an explicit “period” label will adorn any menstrual products.
“Words like ‘personal hygiene’ and ‘sanitary products’ give the impressions that periods, which are an entirely natural part of life, are somehow something to hide to yourself, or that they’re unhygienic,” said Kiri Hannifin, the representative, in a statement. “They absolutely aren’t, and we can play an important role in helping change that.”
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Countdown, which operates 180 stores, would be the first retailer to describe such products in an explicit fashion. Hannifin said further that the online platform would reflect the changes, instead calling “intimate hygiene” products as “genital washes and wipes.”
Sarah Mikkelsen, a co-founder of the New Zealand charity The Period Place, told the Guardian that she was “surprised and excited” by the news.
“It’s so political at the moment, taking a hardline approach around language,” Mikkelsen said. “So to see a big brand jump on a train that they haven’t really even been asked to jump onto is very cool, very inspiring.”
Countdown is also changing its language used for products previously known as “incontinence” items, referring to them as “continence care” products instead.
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Such products deal with bowel movements and the inability to control them. The change aims “to help break down the taboos and barriers that customers seeking out these products have, too, particularly men.”