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Store Faces Backlash After Creating Badges For Employees On Their Period

For years, women the world over have experienced varying degrees of stigma regarding menstruation. Although it's a natural part of development, it's not always the case that the society people find themselves in will treat it maturely.

As the BBC reported, Japan is hardly immune to this issue as the traditional social policy around periods rarely left much room for public discussion of them. And there was often an underlying implication of shame when they were brought up.

However, activists of all ages have found themselves fighting back against this stigma.

These are also the same activists who are patching up the holes that clearly exist in people's collective education on the subject.

And while one store in Japan made its own attempt to be part of this solution, either their idea or the way that word spread about it left something to be desired.

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The Michi Kake store in Osaka is all about making customers feel as comfortable as possible with their periods.

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As SoraNews24 reported, the store — which is part of a regional department store chain called Daimaru — separates its products into four categories.

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Those four categories are meant to tailor a customer's shopping experience to their specific menstrual needs.

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Depending on whether customers are in the Blue Period (the period itself), the Glittering Period (the days shortly thereafter), the Turbulence Period (a time of irritability) or the Gloomy Period (shortly before the period starts), they'll have an array of menstrual products, medicines, and other products that suit the needs of each moment.

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With this in mind, it's hardly surprising that this store would be interested in tackling the period stigma.

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And as the BBC reported, some of Michi Kake's employees suggested introducing special badges like the one shown here to be used when they were on their periods.

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But as shocking as these badges seem superficially, they actually had good intentions.

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In fact, the intention behind this was not only to eliminate period stigma, but create a better working environment for employees. For instance, those wearing the badge could receive extra job support or longer breaks while they're feeling the effects that can come with menstruation.

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The badges were adorned with a mascot named "Seiri-chan," which roughly translates to "Miss Period."

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The badges weren't just about signifying employee's own periods to each other, however. They were also intended to promote a new section of the store dedicated to "women's well-being" that opened on November 22.

It's also worth noting that the badges were worn on a voluntary basis.

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Although some employees and customers supported the idea, this was far from universal.

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As the BBC reported, some employees either didn't see the point of wearing them or felt uncomfortable doing so.

However, the real international backlash came when certain media outlets reported that the badges were intended to signal to customers that employees were on their period. This resulted in privacy and harassment concerns, but did not reflect the purpose of the badges.

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Warranted or not, this backlash has led Daimaru to rethink this badge policy.

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According to SoraNews24, reactions from within Japan were mixed, but many who agreed with the overall purpose of the badges still definitely made it clear that they wouldn't want to wear one.

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It's for this reason that Daimaru representative Yoko Higuchi chose the word "rethink" rather than "cancel."

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They remain committed to their policy of encouraging sharing period information among coworkers for a more flexible work environment without period stigma, but plan to come up with a different way of doing this that isn't so obvious to the public.

h/t: BBC, SoraNews24

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