In a controversial move that has sparked a fierce debate on gender, language, and inclusivity, Always, a massive sanitary pad manufacturer, is facing backlash for allegedly censoring a women’s health writer’s use of the words “woman,” “girls,” and “females.” Critics argue it may infringe upon the biological realities of women’s health.
Always Faces Backlash for Gender-Neutral Language in Period Articles
Writer Milli Hill recently shared her experience with the company, revealing that Always had issued an order to the parenting site Good To Know, demanding the removal of gender-specific words from online articles about periods.
The directive allegedly aimed to make the content sponsored by Always more “inclusive.”
Author Milli Hill Speaks Out Against Editorial Changes
Hill, who authored books such as “The Positive Birth Book” and “My Period: Find Your Flow And Feel Proud Of Your Period!,” was dismayed when she found that editors had altered her contributions to a recent article on helping teens with their first periods without her consent.
Gender-Neutral Language in Period Articles
The changes involved replacing “women” and “female” with “people” or “bodies,” resulting in a piece titled “How can I help with my child’s first period?”
Erosion of Women’s Rights?
Upon raising her concerns with an editor at the website, they told Hill that Always wanted to use “inclusive language” because “not everyone who has periods identifies with the label girl/woman.”
This incited a storm of criticism, with Hill accusing Always of “censoring” her work to appease transgender rights activists who argue that saying only women have periods is discriminatory.
The Debate Over Inclusivity
This incident highlights the ongoing debate over the erosion of women’s rights in the name of inclusivity.
Hill expressed her outrage, stating, “My words had been changed to fit an ideological agenda, which is a rather terrifying thought experiment that I don’t think the people at Always – in their quest for “inclusivity” – have given much thought to.”
Erasing References to Women and Girls
In the altered article, Hill originally wrote that periods were “a normal part of the experience of being female,” but this was modified to remove the word “female.”
Likewise, a reference to “all women” was revised to “all bodies.” When Hill questioned the use of gender-neutral language in period-related articles, Editors told her that it was at the “request” of Always.
The Impact of Hill’s Complaints
After Hill voiced her complaints, they reinstated some of her original quotes. However, the article was soon removed from the website.
Women’s Rights Advocates Speak Out
Women’s rights advocates have condemned Always for its decision to erase references to women and girls.
“It’s Downright Sinister”
Helen Joyce, speaking for the women’s rights organization Sex Matters, stated, “It’s bad enough that Always has taken the ideological decision to erase women and girls – its entire customer base – from its communications and advertising.
It’s downright sinister that the same ideological choice appears to have been foisted on Milli Hill, who’s done such important work demystifying and destigmatizing periods.”
Previous Controversies Surrounding Always and Gender
This incident is not the first time Always has faced controversy related to gender. Earlier this year, the brand received criticism for referring to girls as “bodies with female sex organs” in a pamphlet explaining puberty to children.
In 2019, Always faced a boycott threat when it removed an image of Venus, representing the female sex, from its packaging.
Good to Know Editor’s Response
Good To Know editor Sophie Bird denied that Always was responsible for altering Hill’s quotes, taking full responsibility for the error and vowing to prevent such incidents in the future.
Proctor & Gamble’s Defense
Proctor & Gamble, the global firm that owns Always, defended its commitment to freedom of expression, asserting that they would continue to use their voice as a force for good.
Milli Hill Rejects Always’ Claims
However, Milli Hill rejected the claim that Always bore no responsibility for the editorial changes, insisting, “The whole reason the articles on periods were made “gender neutral” was because of Always – as I was directly informed by one of the editors at Good To Know.”
The Heart of the Controversy
This controversy raises important questions about the boundaries of inclusivity and whether efforts to accommodate diverse identities should override the biological realities of women’s health.
Navigating the Boundaries of Inclusivity
As the debate unfolds, whether such measures truly promote inclusivity or inadvertently sideline women in the process remains to be seen.
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