Woolworths shopper's praise of period aisle change sparks shocking response
A period activist has been forced to explain 'period stigma' to people, after sharing a TikTok video about her local Woolworths finally starting to change the name of the 'Feminine Hygiene' section to 'Period Care'.
Woolworths first announced the major change back in February, aiming to to destigmatise products like tampons, pads and menstrual cups.
Ellie, who tackles the 'taboo' topic and shares advice on her page @thebetterperiod_, posted a video on TikTok asking whether people had seen the change happen at their local supermarket yet.
"Have you noticed this? Back in February Woolworths announced that they were going to change the name of the Feminine Hygiene aisle to Period Care," Ellie wrote on the video.
"I've just noticed they finally changed it to Period Care here," she added, pointing to the shelf stocked with the period products. "But here it still says Feminine Hygiene."
"I guess it's something. What does your local Woolies say?" she asked.
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Despite the positive nature of the change, many people took to the comments section claiming it was a "silly" thing to be worried about.
"First world problems," one person commented, while another person called it a "waste of money".
"If you're getting offended over the name of a supermarket section you need serious help," one particularly harsh comment read, which forced Ellie to respond.
"Changing the name destigmatises the category by calling it what it is, period products," she wrote.
Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, Ellie said she is always surprised to see how many people don't believe period stigma is a real thing, though she is slowly seeing positive changes when it comes to talking about periods.
"I have been accused of making a big deal out of nothing and putting my attention towards silly things when there are 'much bigger problems in the world'," she tells us.
"I love to hear about positive period experiences, so if someone feels like they have not experienced period stigma then that's really great for them. But a personal positive experience should not result in dismissing the period stigma that is faced by so many others."
Sep 6 - Sep 10 is Women's Health Week - the biggest week in Australia focusing on good health and wellbeing for women and girls.
Ellie, who is currently studying to be a Fertility Awareness Educator, says even in 2021, periods are not spoken about openly enough.
"This leads to feeling shame and embarrassment about having our period, feeling like we need to hide it or make up excuses for missing school or work due to period symptoms," she adds.
"Changing the language we use about periods may seem like a small change to make, but it goes a long way to start shifting the conversation towards normalising periods."
Woolworths 'Period care' rebrand to be completed in 2022
The new Woolworths 'Period care' signage was visible on the supermarket’s website immediately, but the rollout across stores is expected to go into 2022.
"We have more than 1,000 stores across Australia, and since we announced the change in February, more than half of them have either completed or started to update their signage," a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle.
"We thank customers for their patience and we will continue to implement the signage across all our stores into next year.
"We're pleased to see our customers' enthusiasm for the roll out of Period Care signage across our stores.
"We believe it's an important conversation and is a small change that will help debunk the stigma of calling a period what it is."
Back in February, Woolworths Managing Director Natalie Davis said many people "still tread around using the word period as if it’s inappropriate or something to be ashamed of".
"This is a change ... that will help many young women grow up feeling less shame or embarrassment, so we’re excited to introduce this in Australia," she added.
"We trialled this in our New Zealand supermarkets last year and the reception from young women and parents in particular has been remarkable."
Aussie radio and TV personality Ash London also threw her support behind the change, telling Yahoo Lifestyle that as a teenager she often felt like she had to "speak in code" around her period.
"First of all, I hate the word ‘sanitary’ in relation to periods because it insinuates that periods are dirty! Which they’re not," she said.
"I think seeing the actual word in a supermarket like Woolworths would have helped reinforce the idea that it’s a normal part of life, and that it’s not something I have to be weird about."
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