Female Writer Faces Twitter Backlash After Asking About Tampons

Illustration for article titled Female Writer Faces Twitter Backlash After Asking About Tampons

Ah, it's a tale as old as Twitter. Woman does something, assholes on the internet assail her with unwarranted, brutish tweets. Great.

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Jessica Valenti, author, founder of Feministing, and Guardian columnist recently took to Twitter to ask her followers if they knew of any countries in which tampons are subsidized. For a normal human being that has even the most basic grasp of female anatomy and understands that it's biology that women menstruate every month or so, it's not a crazy concept to ponder. But alas, the sheer mention of affordable or free feminine hygiene products was simply too much for some to handle and they took to their keyboards to vilify her. Valenti compiled some of the tweets into Storify, and they are predictably the worst:

There used to be a Storify embed here, but Storify doesn’t exist anymore.
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Vitriolic inanity en masse strikes again. Valenti merely asked a question. But here we have our standard name calling, lewd comments with a tinge of slut-shaming (for, you know, being a woman who has a period), irrelevant analogies, and of course Gaza. It's all there. Now I cannot for the life of me understand how people could get so worked up about making tampons more affordable. And yet I'm not surprised.

Women have been trying for years to at least keep feminine hygiene products tax free. In the UK, some of the items that are exempt from the value-added tax that is imposed on tampons and pads include lottery tickets, admission to public zoos and imported exotic meats, including ostrich, crocodile and kangaroo. In the US, an organization that enjoys a subsidy in the form of tax-exempt status is this little non-profit trade association called the National Football League. Subsidized tampons? Really not that big a deal.

Obviously we are way past due with people taking it the fuck down a notch with the maliciousness and resentment when it comes to women and their biology. WAY PAST DUE. But still, I beseech ye Twitter haters: wouldst thou please release thyself from the clutches of ignorant and anger-fueled idiocy and grace us all with thine silence?!

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Image via Shutterstock.

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DISCUSSION

Men have no idea what tampons and pads cost and how deeply essential they are. There's a huge stigma about menstruation that makes a dude buying tampons for his usually overly emotional girlfriend into a tired TV comedy show trope. Women in poor countries either have nothing to bleed into it (and lose jobs and school time over it) or use things like old newspapers, rags and leaves which all cause infections. It's such a stigma in some countries that women are sent into huts to bleed and are sexually assaulted there. They're afraid to clean their rags in a river for fear of making it unclean, so they bleed into the same unwashed rags month after month.

It's nothing short of infuriating that she was met with such insane levels of rage over such an innocent question. Men just have no idea. Hell, one of my best guy friends was shocked when I told him tampons and pads are taxed because they're not seen as "essential" items.