FEATURE ARTICLE FOR RIISE.
“I think everyone remembers tying their jumpers around their waist ‘just in case’. Or slipping pads and tampons up their sleeves hoping no one noticed, especially the boys.”
We are speaking to Beck Quade about the painfully relatable topic of period stigma. Every woman has a story or five to share: that time you bled on your uniform at school and had to borrow the embarrassingly oversized spare dress from the nurse’s office, or when you asked your boyfriend to buy tampons and he returned with a giant box of maxi pads.
For years we’ve been programmed to feel embarrassed about this completely natural and highly necessary phenomenon (which is literally responsible for the continuation of the human race, just casually). But the era of period shame is coming to an end thanks to people like Beck. She founded FEMMZE – a brand specialising in leakproof shapewear – to challenge stigmas and help people feel their best every day of the month.
“I still find it crazy that women have been not only shamed for period and body changes, but that we also have been told we should be wearing our oldest, daggy undies just because we have monthly periods or bladder leaks,” Beck says. “I feel passionate about changing this mindset.”
FEMMZE’s ethically produced underwear are made from sculpting cotton, with a super absorbent merino wool blend liner. They look stylish, feel comfortable and present a genuinely luxurious alternative to the less-than-desirable sanitary and leakproof products most people are used to wearing.
Superior quality and comfort are the first things Beck wants people to feel when they slip into a pair of FEMMZE. “I wanted to make something elevated by fusing high-quality fabrics with the concept of shapewear, functionality and underwear, so it did not feel too constricting but enough to feel held and confident that they wouldn’t leak,” she explains.
The body-hugging fits prevent leakage while thick branded waistbands add a stylish edge. As Beck explains, designing fashion-focused underwear was a key part of breaking down the stigmas associated with period products.
I think having a more fashion-inspired product really does help with normalising the body’s cycles. I remember watching those Carefree tampon ads as a teenager, or the Whisper Wings print ads, and feeling no connection to butterflies in a field, or feathers.
“I think having a more fashion-inspired product really does help with normalising the body’s cycles. I remember watching those Carefree tampon ads as a teenager, or the Whisper Wings print ads, and feeling no connection to butterflies in a field, or feathers.”– BECK QUADE
“I would love to see FEMMZE in key styling moments and fashion editorials to help break down this stigma.”
Making period underwear cool has positive kick-on effects for the environment. A person who menstruates will use between 5,000 and 15,000 pads and tampons in their lifetime. In the US, 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are thrown out every year with each one taking 500–800 years to break down. Every time you wear a reusable product, you are helping avoid these impacts and Beck wants her customers to know “they are really making a difference” even if they’re only wearing FEMMZE for a day or two.
FEMMZE is more than just a period underwear brand. Beck describes the company as part of a “lifestyle movement” inspired by her own struggles with heavy, post-pregnancy flow cycles that interrupted her ability to do day-to-day tasks. It arrives at a time when “period wellness” – an approach that teaches women to honour their body’s needs – is taking over after decades of shame and aforementioned cringe-worthy marketing. In a nutshell, this philosophy is about learning to love our menstrual cycles.
“The older I have got, the more in tune with it I have become,” Beck says of her personal period journey. “I am more mindful of my energy levels hormonally, and I listen to that when it comes to the way I exercise and even work. I try to slow down the few days before my period and on the first couple of days of my cycle.”
Sleeping in, restorative yoga and simply taking it easy are a few of the ways Beck shows herself extra love during her moon cycle. She shares wellness tips, meditations and yin yoga practices through the FEMMZE newsletter. Called Nurturing You, this free series is one way the brand gives back to the community, something that is core for Beck. She has big plans for the future of FEMMZE and is currently researching perimenopause with an interest in how the brand could support women through this life stage.
Whether it’s learning how to look after yourself, unlearn shame, enjoy your time of the month, or simply put together a cool outfit, FEMMZE is spreading the positive period energy the world (and our undie drawer) needs. After a lifetime of saggy underwear and poorly concealed tampons shoved in front pockets, we are excited to finally have the chance to proudly put our periods on display. It’s a long-overdue change Beck is happy to be part of.
“I am glad we are not passing on shame, and we can be more open.”
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