Monday, October 10, 2016

Red wave of female CEOs

The comments on my last post brought up the recent media attention paid to President Obama’s female staffers.  The New York Times Magazine shone a light (see what I did there) on a technique the outnumbered women in the President’s Cabinet used to support each other and make sure their contributions were acknowledged.  It got me thinking about where else, beyond pop culture, I could find some examples of Shine Theory. 

I started with thinking about products that are marketed specifically to women.  Now, I don’t mean Lady Bics (covered so well by Flamingo).  I am thinking more about products that propose to fill a void in the market because they are “niche.” The first niche market that came to mind was menstrual products.  Companies like Thinx, Lola, and DivaCup have sprung up in the last few years as innovators in the world of feminine hygiene.  Unsurprisingly, these companies have been spearheaded by women who are frustrated with the lack of modernization in the industry.  The founders and co-founders of each of these companies were brought together in a common desire to put a product on the market that met a need they had seen ignored.   

The world of period management hasn’t been much updated in the last few decades.  The biggest stir to the market was Kotex’s advertising campaign that presented a more “real” depiction of what Aunt Flo is like.  In the wake of this stagnation, Lola, Thinx, and DivaCup tackle this issue of subpar feminine hygiene products in different ways.  

Lola is a tampon subscription service.  They use 100% cotton (which is shockingly atypical) and allow customers to customize the number of each size tampon in their order.  Thinx is a lingerie line that has absorbent, antimicrobial layers in the crotch that can absorb up to 2 tampons worth of liquid.  Finally, DivaCup is a silicone menstrual cup that is used instead of tampons or pads.  Though they approach the market with different fixes, the brands present themselves in very similar ways.  Each felt that the standard tampon/pad dichotomy was not good enough, and each found a new way to make women’s lives a bit easier.   

This is Shine Theory on a grand scale.  The women behind these companies not only partnered up with other women to get their ideas out there.  They also joined their voices with those of women across the country whose needs are often overlooked.  


Kyle Kate Dudley said...


I loved this post! I felt so empowered by it and was fascinated (and appalled) by learning about all the chemicals that might be in my tampons: Eek!

I absolutely felt surrounded by the Shine Theory as I read about U/Kotex Period Pop Up Shop and watched the adorable (and refreshingly honest!) video in this article starring Aunt Flo

When we think philosophically about feminism, we forget how women are shamed about little things in our daily lives constantly. It is just as important for feminism to advocate about our daily lives and constant struggles as it is for the movement to think in big ideals. Lola, Thinx, DivaCup, and U by Kotex are changing that, and I love it. Thanks for opening my eyes to it!

Louise Trainor said...

Josie, what an enlightening commentary on these innovative menstruation products. I had never before heard of Lola, Thinkx or DivaCup as, to my knowledge, they are not on the market in my home country of Ireland. It is inspiring to read of these women who are using their enterprising skills to come together and elevate our expectations of what we deserve from female hygiene products.

I agree with Kyle Kate's note that it is equally as important to support women in their every-day mini-battles as it is to fight for empowerment on a broader spectrum. This may only be a drop in the ocean that is the feminist movement but it promotes comfort and confidence for us women and in some ways that is what being a feminist is all about!