These ads might be banned for using the word ‘period.’ Let’s talk.

Here’s the great news: Our periods are about to get a lot better. Remember when we introduced you to Thinx, the company totally revolutionizing feminine hygiene with their innovative underwear? They’re called period undies and they’re using a combination of magic, science, and style (read about it here) to keep you dry and fresh and safe when you’re menstruating. Great!

But there’s some lame news too. Apparently talking about your period is still taboo. According to, the new ad campaign Thinx designed for the NYC subway system is facing objections from Outfront Media, the company assigned to review ads to make sure they align with the standards of the MTA.

These clever ads juxtapose women wearing the product with simple imagery meant to evoke deeper thoughts on what it’s like to be on your period. One shows a half a grapefruit (that maybe kiiiinda looks like a vagina), and one features a broken egg spilling across the counter . . . an appropriate reminder of our own stains and spills over the years of wearing regular underwear with our tampons and pads. Apparently these images might be too much for the powers that be, specifically the ad’s use of the word period in the text: “Underwear for women with periods.” (among othersreports that Outfront is worried the ads would raise questions with children riding the subway, who might then ask their parents “What’s a period?”

As a frequent subway rider, it saddens me to think that these ads might be banned, especially when SO MANY ads show way more skin or evocative imagery (Museum of Sex ads, anyone?). More often than not, risqué ads continue to objectify women or make us feel inadequate in our own skin, like this ad for plastic surgery which was allowed on subways:

The bottom line is, we definitely have periods, so it’s high time to get over our awkwardness and talk about them. It’s not like the MTA can ban actual periods from happening — so why ban the word? It just adds to the shame and discomfort that so many girls and women are already conditioned to feel over this issue.

Girls deserve the best when it comes to period-care. We go our whole lives working through bleeding and cramping, all so that someday we can create a new human (NBD). Reproductive systems aren’t sexual innuendo . . . they’re how life is made!

So — although we hope they change their minds — let’s keep celebrating our strength and our potential, no matter what the MTA might say about it. Because our bodies are awesome. Period.

Related reading: 

An underwear invention might TOTALLY revolutionize the whole “feminine hygiene” world

23 things we wish we knew before we got our periods

[Images via Thinx and Twitter]

Debbie Holloway
Debbie Holloway lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works closely with Narrative Muse, a fast-growing source for movies, TV, and books created by and about women and gender diverse folks. Read more
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