Backlash as man appointed as Scotland’s first period dignity officer: ‘This feels like a joke’

Dundee man Jason Grant has been appointed as Scotland’s first period dignity officer – a move that has sparked backlash from social media users.

Grant’s new role will see him travel around the region to discuss free access to period products and also have conversations about the menopause.

His appointment comes as Scotland becomes the first country to introduce a law to widen access to free period products.

However, critics on social media have said that the role should have gone to a woman.

“So there’s a first Period Dignity Officer now and of course it’s a guy. Your gender studies hard at work,” one user wrote. “I’m going to lie down. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

Another added: “The Scottish government has appointed a man as the period dignity officer… where do I start with this…. A man shall be mansplaining periods.”

Scottish MP Neale Hanvey wrote: “It is incomprehensible that a young male without lived experience of menstruation is an appropriate person to address the needs of pre-pubescent girls at this vulnerable stage of development.”

Others commented that the decision was “seriously flawed”, while someone else said they didn’t know who would “think this was a good idea”.

The Independent‘s Maya Oppenheim commented: “This feels like a joke. Jason Grant – Scotland’s first ‘period dignity officer’ – will never know the indignity of being bullied at school for having a period, of leaking, of being unable to afford period items, despite these being routine things many women sadly know all too well. “

Some were in favor of the idea, with one person writing: “I think appointing a bloke as period dignity officer might work. It’s saying this is an issue for everyone to take on board and not just ‘a woman’s issue’. He’s not a Dr, he’s making information available.”

Another person added: “Does the unnecessary stigma come from men or women? Who needs to understand more, men or women? I don’t see this as particularly sexist, especially given the amount of sexist views many men in the UK hold. I’m not trying to justify it here just trying to understand the appointment.”

A spokesperson for the Period Dignity Working Group said Grant was the “strongest candidate”. “This new role, funded by the Scottish Government, was created to promote and implement new legislation, specifically focused on project management,” they said.

“The role builds on some fantastic work which has been gathering speed across the Tay region for several years, led by a passionate group of people of all genders, ages and backgrounds.

“By changing the culture, encouraging debate and removing the stigma around periods, we look forward to supporting the delivery of this important work across the region.”

Jason Grant (in red) ‘showcasing’ a range of period products to a mother and daughter

(Grainger PR/PA)

Grant previously said of the appointment that he thought being a man would “help break down barriers, reduce stigma, and encourage more open discussions”.

“Although affecting women directly, periods are an issue for everyone,” Grant continued. “We’ll also raise awareness of the menopause which, although a natural process for women, has wider repercussions in the world of work and family.

“It’s time to normalize these topics and get real around the subject. I believe I can make progress by proving this isn’t just a female topic, encouraging conversations across all genders and educating and engaging new audiences.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish government says it “does not have any involvement in these posts or appointments nor do we fund them directly”.

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