In the wake of Pride, many brands and businesses have sought to ensure their image is more inclusive of all who fit under the LGBTQ+ banner. For this very reason, popular menstrual cycle tracking app #Clue announced on Twitter that it was considering changing their product description from "female" to fem@le, and asked for comments from its users.

Accusations of female erasure

The suggestion was not taken well by the majority of respondents. Women quickly came forward to state that while the change sought to include those who considered themselves to be outside the female experience, it also erased the women the app was originally designed for.

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Women tweeted the page constantly demanding that the app recognises that female biology exists.

The complexities of identifying biology

In their blog post on Clued In, Clue attempted to address this issue by explaining just why it was so difficult to find an appropriate term when ensuring all #Gender identities are considered. Lisa Kennelly and Mike LeVigne wrote:

"Calling people “uterus-havers” or “people who menstruate” is also inaccurate, because Clue’s users don’t always have a uterus (hysterectomy) or menstruate (menarche, pregnancy, menopause, birth control)."

They go on to discuss further options, but state that reproductive health is offensive to those who cannot reproduce, and suggest that the phrase "women's health" felt more human, while female health was clinical and abstract.

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However, they concluded that as transmen have a #Period while not identifying themselves as women, that women's health was also not inclusive enough.

Queer politics impacting marketing

The recent surge in awareness of 'queer' identities and the claims therein of multiple available genders have put companies in a difficult spot for how to both address their customers and describe what their products do. Many businesses that have failed to recognise these identities in accordance with the new state of social awareness have fallen foul of boycotting and online abuse. However, as Clue discovered, complying with these demands and making efforts to be inclusive to all, will often alienate your initial customer base.

How businesses will choose to navigate this delicate field, and whether they can do and be inclusive to all, is yet to be seen. Clue, however, have learned that putting an @ symbol in the middle of the word female accomplishes nothing except women feeling angry, and female biology still existing.