Since launching the brand with iconic and controversial advertisements in the NYC subways two years ago, Thinx — a groundbreaking period underwear company — has become synonymous with modern feminism. The underwear, which boasts leak-proof protection, has proven to be a life-changer for many women in the U.S. and across the globe where access to feminine hygiene products is limited. Recently, the company even came out with an organic tampon and announced the release of a reusable applicator, completely changing the way we think about personal care during that time of the month.
That's why it came as a huge shock when several employees left the company last month, citing anti-feminist policies and overall dissatisfaction with the way they were treated by the CEO on job review website Glassdoor.
Shortly thereafter, it was announced that co-founder Miki Agrawal would be stepping down as CEO and transitioning into a "SHE-E-O" position, leading many to speculate that the two incidents were related. In a detailed report, Racked spoke with several former and current employees about the situation at Thinx, shedding light on suspicions that all is not well behind-the-scenes at the company.
"It honestly felt like a middle school environment: pitting people against each other, calling us petty children and [saying that we were] immature and that we’re all these millennials that don’t know anything — meanwhile we’re being paid easily $30,000 under industry standard salaries,” one former employee told Racked. “It was truly like being in an abusive relationship. And I don’t use that analogy lightly. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the feeling when you walk into a place — whether it’s with your family or a job or a friendship circle — and you simply just don’t know how the other person is going to react. One day they could be in a super great mood and everything’s fine and dandy and you’re being praised left and right, or else you walk in and you’re treated like you’re dirt. That takes an emotional and physical toll on you. To wake up every day and not know how you’re going to be treated that day is really quite awful."
Of working with Miki, one former employee said: “You'll meet people who just idolize her. And it's really hard because you don't want to ruin their perception of her. They like her! And I want Thinx to succeed even though I'm not there anymore. But it is kind of hard to hear people be like, 'She's my feminist hero!' when I've seen her call a former employee a ‘bitch’ before in a meeting.”
Perhaps the most ironic allegation against the company, which brands itself as staunchly feminist, is the maternity leave offered to current employees. According to Racked, employees are offered "two weeks leave at full pay plus one week at half pay for the birthing parent, and one week leave at full pay plus one week at half pay for the non-birthing parent." These allegations create an alarming new narrative for a brand that has long been praised for leading the charge to normalize periods and lift women up. Read the full report at Racked.
We have reached out to Thinx for comment and will update if we hear from them.
This story originally appeared on Teen Vogue.
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