Mighty Moon is a subscription-based tampon and comic delivery service forgeek girls. Students Jingting He, Kuan Xu, Manako Tamura, and Teng Yu came up with this idea to combat period shame among young girls, and encourage them to embrace menstruation from a young age. Mighty Moon’s product line up of tampons, carriers, and comics empower the users by turning the experience of menstruation from something they dread to something they look forward to;from something they hide to something they show; and from something that disgusts them to something that delights them.
Every four weeks, Mighty Moon delivers a box containinga customized assortment of light-to-heavy flow tampons, a tampon carrier, panty liners, and a new issue of the Mighty Moon comic.The comic book features the adventures of the protagonist Mikaa high-school student who transforms herself into a superhero to combat villains who terrorize her city. The villains are personifications of patriarchal forces that women face daily: "Attack of Mansplainer", "Bropriation of the City", and "The Revenge of Manterrupter".
Just as one would eagerly await the next issue of a comic book,users of this service will actually look forward to having their periods so that they can receive both a box of tampons along with Mighty Moon’s original monthly comic series.
The feminist ethos of the comic runs through out the product experience of Mighty Moon. The unboxing experience for all its products—delivery box, tampon packaging, panty liner packaging—emulates a powerful "ripping gesture" that Mika uses when transforming into a superhero. The tampon carrier is shaped like the weapon that Mika uses to fight villains, and the conspicuousness of both the carrier and the box transforms the user's relationship with their periods from something they hide to one that they show.
In taking on this project, the team conducted user research targeting two over lapping user groups; they interviewed geek girls and co-created a user journey map with the wider audience of people who menstruate. First, the conversations with geek girls led the team to an unexpected insight that many geek girls were drawn to manga and anime for their untraditional gender roles. One user commented, “I loved that [a female character in manga] was the hero and not the princess, It was completely different from Disney animations I was used to. She was everything that my 14-year-old self needed: a female with so much agency.”The female characters in these media were not princesses who needed to be rescued, but strong and complicated personalities who grew as they fought their ways through their journeys. Further more, as another geek girl noted, femininity is sometimes portrayed as power in manga, so power does not have to be that of stereo typical gender-bending one, and even“strawberry colored products can kick ass.” These insights informed the aforementioned feminist ethos of Mighty Moon as well as the choice to use colors more traditionally associated with girls such as pink.
The second round of user research took the form of co-creation. The team members created aset of cards illustrating each step in using a sanitary product, and asked users to line them up in order that they use the products. This exercise showed that there was much variety to the ways in which users preferred to use the products, like that some prefer to dispose of the used products first while others waited until they prepared the new ones. Despite this variety, the stories that the users shared revealed two common insights: many users reported that they like to use the packaging from the new product to wrap the used products to throw away, and many more identified taking the sanitary product to the bathroom as the point in the user journey that is most stigmatized. For so many users, walking around with a sanitary product in their hand was an embarrassing one where they felt that they would need to hide it up their sleeve or in a special pouch.
Mighty Moon’s products are designed to make the experience of using tampons delightful. The tampon wrappers’ triangular shapes open and sit nicely on any flat surface—making it easy forthe users to keep them for throwing away used-applicators.
But in a final, brave gesture on the part of the designers, the engravings on the applicators turn viewing menstrual blood into a magical experience as the engraved areas absorb blood and reveal the brand pattern. Here, the team argues, "the applicator over turns the perception of menstrual blood from something that is annoying, gross or evendirty, to something that the user is delighted to see and experience."
And in a brilliant twist, a select few of the applicators have an engraving of a heart instead of the pattern—randomly mixed in with the regular tampons—"which users receive only once in ablue moon." When the user receives the "heart" applicator, she is encouraged to post the picture of it with the hashtag, #luckymoon.
Together, Mighty Moon’s product line up of tampons, carriers, and comics empower the users by turning the experience of menstruation from something they dread to something they look forward to; from something they hide to something they show; and from something that disgusts them to something that delights them.