A few months back, I exited a subway car and came face-to-face with an ad that said, “Period-proof underwear that protects you from leaks and sometimes the patriarchy, but not from manspreading. We tried tho.”
Wait, huh? I wondered as I passed underneath, transfixed (as transfixed as a citizen in a walking city can be anyway, since we don’t stop short in the middle of highly-trafficked areas; that’s primitive). The warnings of the better-socialists-than-me and older feminists of yore came to the forefront of my mind. Feminism for capitalism is not an advancement for a movement meant to dismantle our toxic society. Using feminism in ads is bad and you, Ray, should not tolerate that nonsense.
But they mentioned the patriarchy! I couldn’t help, but think. Most “feminist” ads are vague, overly general empowerment drivel. This ad by Thinx went bold, spoke my language, and stuck pleasantly in mind for the rest of the day.
This didn’t make it so that I immediately checked out Thinx, but the company kept coming up on the subway and on my internet feeds. “Underwear for women (or any menstruating human) with periods,” the ads said. Meanwhile, news headlines pointed out that the company was fighting double-standards with the city’s public transit office because, while the agency easily allowed sexist breast implant ads on the trains, it was reluctant to run some of Thinx’s ads. And as this battle went on, Thinx promoted themselves through women-oriented outlets I followed, all whom reviewed their underwear and gave them a thumbs up.
I had two more periods. I wore my regular diaper-sized pads, because I’ve been terrified of blood leaking out onto my ass since that one day in sophomore year of high school where boys in the hallway saw blood on my skirt. I whispered a guilty apology to the environment as I deposited each pad into my trashcan. My labia folds chafed. My life was joyless.
I caved, because it was inevitable and bought myself three pairs of Thinx online. I built a cycle set, per the site suggestion, of a pair of boyshorts (which holds 1 ½ tampons worth of blood), a pair of hiphuggers (which holds 2 tampons worth of blood), and a pair of sport undies (1 ½ tampons worth of blood) for a total of $90, plus free shipping, because it was my first order. All pairs black, because I hated the stains left on other alternative period products I’ve tried, such as my bunny-printed GladRag.
And oh my god.
You know those stupid Always/Kotex commercials that still show the same things they showed when pads were revolutionary in the 1970s? “You can ride a horse! You can also ride a bike! We’re not going to mention that other thing you might want to ride because we’re discreet and irrelevant just like this blue liquid we’re spilling over our pads!”
Fuck riding a horse. Fuck riding a bike. When I wear Thinx, I can sit around in my underwear as much as I do when I’m not on my period! These past two nights, I have worn a NIGHTGOWN, slept on WHITE SHEETS, and have had ZERO FEARS ABOUT LEAKAGE! Now this is what a revolution looks like! (As well as a rare example of what good marketing does.)
However, there’s a few downsides to Thinx, like there is of anything else. While their return policy allows you to send the underwear back within 60 days of first purchase, they only give you store credit. So you need to make sure they fit you, and if they don’t in any place other than the waist, the next step is unknown. I suppose it means talking to customer service on top of the inconvenient errand of sending the underwear back. Since each pair costs around $35, it’s understandable for people to be reluctant to give the underwear a shot.
Also, while Thinx is revolutionary in many ways, it’s not magical. It stinks down there more so than when you use other period products, mostly due to the sealed fit and absorbent material. Just letting you know so that you cannot accuse me of making your genital area reek.
But as far as things go, I’m thrilled. Between trying Thinx and recently discovering that I can use my Hitachi as the massager it claims it is on my uterus when I get cramps, this has been the best period I’ve ever had. Give them a shot, you likely won’t regret it!