Responses by Emily Hovis, senior writer, 72andSunny.
Background: Nearly one in four people who menstruate in the United States do not have access to menstrual products, sanitation facilities or education about menstruation. The purpose of Loopholes is for the US Congress to pass the Menstrual Equality for All Act and achieve period equity in the country. Changing the law is a big goal, but we can do it because we have an even bigger target audience: everyone. Period equity affects all of us—whether you menstruate or not—and our goal was to raise awareness of this issue.
Design thinking: The government explicitly prohibits using federal benefits programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to purchase menstrual products, so what better way to show the government the folly of its ways than to exploit a loophole in the very programs that deny pads and tampons?
Challenges: This project was an entirely grassroots effort, and the most challenging aspect was to get our message outside of the spaces that are already talking about period equity. We had to find the right influencers and activists to help spread the message to people who didn’t already know of this issue.
Favorite details: The cereal box, hands down. To see so many JPEGs and renderings come to life on an actual box was such an amazing experience. Besides, who doesn’t love a bold, beautifully designed cereal box with a pad and tampon mascot?
New lessons: We worked with various nonprofit organizations, including several run by women who have lived in period poverty for many years. We knew so many of the statistics and figures about this issue, but to hear from women who were actually affected by this problem was informative and even more eye-opening.
Visual influences: For the box design, we were inspired by our cereal partner Eat Off Limits. We wanted the film to feel like a real cereal commercial but heightened to such an absurd level that you had to pay attention. We turned to cereal commercials from the early 2000s and drew inspiration from their manic energy and catchy jingles.