Women's Issues

Jessica Valenti Tweets About Tampons And Internet Rips Her To Shreds

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In today’s “are you fucking kidding me?” news, author Jessica Valenti has been ripped a new one on Twitter for posing a simple question about tampons and whether or not they are subsidized anywhere in the world. The hate being lobbed her way is really quite unbelievable considering how innocuous her question was:


I found out about this story initially from Jezebel.com but upon further research on Valenti’s own Twitter page, I discovered that she was asking this question because she was planning to write an article about the “availability and cost of feminine hygiene products across the globe”. She was not asking because she was hoping she would get her tampons subsidized here in the US, as some of these lovely folks on Twitter seemed to assume. What followed is just unreal to me- that so many supposed human beings could spew such unadulterated hatred over something so simple. The woman tweets about tampons and from these reactions, you would think she had just suggested we burn toddlers at the stake. Brace yourselves for these responses:

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  1. Samantha Lobdell

    August 10, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I’ve heard about the situation for girls in Africa. There was actually a local story here a while back about a woman who ran a volunteer group that came up with some sort of makeshift pad/underwear they came up with that they were sewing and sending over there. Otherwise, the girls are missing school one a month and end up being married off way too young.

    • FishQueen

      August 10, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      India also has endemic difficulties in dealing with menstruation. But here’s a cheerful article about a guy trying to help:


    • Allthingsblue

      August 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      I thought of this guy, as well. Amazing man. Tampons are virtually unheard of, difficult to find, and rarely used in India. You are not supposed to enter temples or touch anything holy while menstruating. Some families won’t even speak to you or let you touch their food (extreme cases). You are considered unclean.

    • ami

      August 10, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      There is another angle to the tampon usage issue in tropical countries. Due to the hot weather and also people’s natural tendency to try to stretch out maximum use from anything that is expensive, the risk of suffering staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) will probably be quite high. It is advisable to use sanitary pads under such conditions, though those aren’t affordable either to most people. The menstrual cup might be more economical in the long run but a woman will need some money outright to buy one and TSS concerns will remain as most women in these societies won’t have the privacy or resources needed to maintain its hygiene. So quite a knotty problem there.

  2. JenH1986

    August 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I have never thought about this. Now I want tp read her article. And sadly I am not surprised people jumped on her. It seems that we women are always running a scam or veing cunts. Never just doing our job or living life.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Haven’t Warren and what’s-his-name from yesterday managed to put us in our place yet? They’ve really dropped the ball, letting all us wimmin folk have ideas and ask questions about subsidized tampons.

    • js argh

      August 10, 2014 at 11:46 am

      They probably saw the word “tampons” and ran for the hills (one hopes).

    • Valerie

      August 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

      I know, it is a topic I have thought of in passing but never really delved into. I am going to be watching for her article too.

  3. keelhaulrose

    August 10, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Aww, cute, look at all the idiots thinking they could pass fourth grade reading comprehension.

  4. Andrea

    August 10, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Not really surprising. The hatred for any kind of govt subsidy here in the US is monumental. Specially when it comes to women’s needs (b/c for instance). But never mind that multimillion dollar farm corporations get corn subsidized. Never mind that billionaires get tax cuts (govt subsidy). As long women take care of their pussies on their own damn dime.

    • keelhaulrose

      August 10, 2014 at 10:28 am

      You never hear them complaining about oil subsidies while they’re filling up their cars, or bank subsidies when they’re paying for something with their debit card. I guess subsidies are okay for the rich, but hungry children or women who don’t want make more hungry children, fuck them.

    • Spitting_mad

      August 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

      The best part is how they think the rich are talking smack about someone below them. To the rich, you’re ALL the people below them.

    • Maria Guido

      August 10, 2014 at 11:50 am


    • JJ

      August 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Well you know it was women’s fault for being born women right!? And it their fault for daring to have periods, pregnancy, birth control, abortions.breast cancer treatment, breast exams etc Gawd women are just the worst with their biology and their need for help when they find themselves in situations that are tough. Or their need to not bleed all over thing during their periods. Or their need for birth control to stop having babies they can’t afford without going food stamps which are just the worst because you shouldn’t open your legs in the first place ever. Bitches with gaping vagina’s that dare to behave like vagina’s. The audacity.

      Seriously that sadly how these ass holes think. And they have no shame or qualms about it either. Fuck this world sometimes.

    • Joye77

      August 10, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Fuck this world indeed. Does it seem like there is more woman hating in the last few years? Maybe I wasn’t as aware of it prior to that. I think the old, men in the Republican party and starting this anti-women crusade lately to prevent progress and equality to intrude their 1950s thinking.

    • Litterboxjen

      August 10, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      In a weird way, I love to read the insane bile that gets spewed from some people when you bring up subsidized maternity/paternity leave. It’s astounding how much hate some people have for it — it almost seems that if it were up to them, women would clock out for their lunch break, have their babies, clock back in and get right the fuck back to work.

    • Andrea

      August 11, 2014 at 7:30 am

      It just depresses me.

    • Litterboxjen

      August 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Oh, I find it depressing as hell, too, don’t get me wrong. I’m just usually flabbergasted by how vitriolic the hatred for paid parental leave is.

  5. greenchair

    August 10, 2014 at 9:42 am

    this is infuriating! Thank you for bringing this our attention and thank you to Jessica for writing about this issue. the lack of respect for women is shocking in our culture. so sad

  6. aCongaLine

    August 10, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I’ve totally never thought about this, and I definitely take my $6.99 box of 40-count-applicators-of-my-preference tampons for granted. This is valid research, I think. However, using social media like google is a pet peeve of mine.

  7. jaded

    August 10, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Jessica has a following of nasty MRA trolls who would attack her for saying the sky is blue. They scrutinize everything she says because she is a woman who dares to speak out on women’s issues. Strong, smart women, like Jessica, frighten them, so they lash out.

    • Spitting_mad

      August 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

      True, no one hates like an MRA. I once got on the bad side of one some two or three years ago. I don’t go on the forum he frequents much anymore, but I’ve been catfished by him twice, and have since blocked 25 of his accounts. Dude does NOT let up.

    • Joye77

      August 10, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      These men who do that crap must be incredibly, horribly insecure.

    • Andrea

      August 10, 2014 at 11:12 am

      I don’t do the twitter…but is it possible to prevent people from following you?

    • Maria Guido

      August 10, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Unfortunately, no. The best you can do is block them which basically acts as a “mute” button. They can still tweet at you, but you don’t see it.

  8. Jen

    August 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Affordability and/or “greening up” your period is a great blog topic, and reminded me of this one, that I came across a few months ago. It’s worth pinning. Also, as someone who blogs professionally myself, I really have to hand it to this writer. As to the one getting blasted on Twitter, I feel for her. I keep my byline anonymous because of all the haters: http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/reusable-menstrual-products/

    • Iwill Findu

      August 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      I’ve been thinking of going reusable for myself. Really I already use cloth diapers for my daughter it couldn’t be worse could it?

    • Jen

      August 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Actually, a baby diaper works AWESOME as a pad, lol….been really short on supplies and had to do that once. But after reading that blog about all the earth-friendly options, I am going to try the Diva cup.

  9. Jennie Blair

    August 10, 2014 at 10:18 am

    These responses aren’t even logical. She was asking a question, not demanding a free truck load of Tampax Pearls delivered to her door every day.

    • Valerie

      August 10, 2014 at 10:21 am

      I know. The stupidity is astounding.

    • Jennie Blair

      August 10, 2014 at 10:36 am

      The insides of their minds must be very confusing if you go from feminine hygiene products to move to a communist state.

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 10:43 am

      North Korea barely counts as communism anymore. It’s like an ultranationalist theocracy. And they probably wouldn’t subsdize tampons.

    • allisonjayne

      August 11, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Yeah…I read that and assumed it was for an article or something. I follow a bunch of journalists and writers on twitter, and many of them post things like that…somewhat strange inquiries that I always assume are for something they are writing.

  10. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    August 10, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Wow, I really never would have guessed that such an innocent question would have garnered such vitriolic responses. I had just read an article about the feminine hygiene problem in Africa, so I made the connection right away. But this is why I don’t read the comments to most things.

  11. Marianna

    August 10, 2014 at 10:22 am

    As somebody that pays 8, sometimes 10 bucks for a box with 8 tampons, I would love to read her article.

  12. Spitting_mad

    August 10, 2014 at 10:22 am

    What the holy heck are Americans so scared of? I know I’m a born citizen, but guys? Why are we so scared of a nation of people who are taken care of? It’s not like you could afford that fifth tv or speed boat anyway, seeing as you’re already being taxed to make up for larger corporations not paying their dues.
    And even then, could you really afford it? Really? Be honest with yourself and your stagnant wages.

    But no, yeah, to hell with that lady asking a question about products which may or may not even relate to our country in the first place. She should pull herself up by her bootstraps, and then fashion them around a cotton ball and use that for a tampon.

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

      Subsidies are teh communism, apparently.

    • CC

      August 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

      No one wants to waste a cotton ball on her. She should really just pitch a tent in her backyard for when she’s expecting her period.

    • Valerie

      August 10, 2014 at 10:52 am

      There is obviously a need for this according to the misogynists among us. I propose we start a business- Menstrual Huts R Us™.

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 10:58 am

      Hey! Now I have an idea for a satirical work! Thanks, Valerie!

    • CC

      August 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Blood Huts has a catchy ring to it!

    • tSubh Dearg

      August 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Are they subsidised?

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

      That wouldn’t cause any issues at all!

  13. Awesomus

    August 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Seriously? I can’t even. This kind of hate I don’t understand, I didn’t realise that this was such a misogynistic country.

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

      I wonder if some of the haters are from abroad.

    • Joye77

      August 10, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      It’s really getting that way, I don’t understand.

  14. rockmonster

    August 10, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Considering that Twitter’s average IQ is nine, I’m not surprised. The stupid people outnumber the people I’d follow.

    • Coffee&Cats

      August 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      Reading those comments reminded me why I don’t have a Twitter account! XD

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      See also: Yesterday’s Crushable article on Idris Elba.

  15. Obladi Oblada

    August 10, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I wish that everyone in this country had to live through abject poverty for six months. It might teach them some compassion and make them more thankful for the things they take for granted. While I’m more financially secure and definitely more comfortable now, I’ve been there. It’s incredibly difficult to have to choose between things that you need. Not want, NEED.
    I cannot imagine the lives the women in other countries have to suffer through. By comparison, the women in our country live a charmed life but there is always room for improvement.

    • Valerie

      August 10, 2014 at 10:53 am

      It is incredibly sad to contemplate how women in other parts of the world live.

  16. courtneth the modest unicorn

    August 10, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Hmm I’m not sure I read that last one (by the woman) as attacking her so much as making a comment on how women are treated in some countries.

    • Spitting_mad

      August 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      “How dare you try to ask a question about areas where essential products might be subsidized when other people have it worse!”
      Pretending she was asking for change that benefits women (which she wasn’t), the whole “Other people have it worse” is a pretty shitty and unrelated reason that others can’t strive to make things better.

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Compassion isn’t a finite resource.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      August 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      I love this. It is a much more eloquent way of saying I can care about multiple issues simultaneously.

    • brebay

      August 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      Exactly. I’m not sure there isn’t quite a bit of overlap either. But having to take a week off school because you can’t even afford wool to make your own pad is hardly a white whine!

  17. Iwill Findu

    August 10, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t know about what other women do but once I had a decent stash, (being pregnant, breast feeding, and now my new birth control I haven’t needed for myself in close to 2 yrs) I still buy pads and tampons every month just like before, but I take them to the food bank, and local woman shelters. Because if woman need to use those resources they likely don’t have the money to buy them for themselves, and who wants to feel like they need to chose food or basic hygiene.

    • tiomela

      August 10, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      There’s a bunch of free groups on facebook in my area and they are often crying out for tampons or pads. When I wasn’t getting my period because of b/c, I would drive them to the neediest people’s houses.

    • AP

      August 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      I considered donating a giant box of feminine products to one of the Tsunami Relief drives from the big tsunami last summer, but alas, there were no drives in my area for me to donate to.

      People are so busy donating food and clothing they forget what’s really needed.

    • Ezzy666

      August 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      I realized it was an issue when I started opening open packages at the store. I never understood why the expensive hotels and casinos had little baskets of pads and tampons, while the more economical ones had machines and charged for them.

  18. RayneofCastamere

    August 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Because apparently the Cold War’s still on and anything government subsidized is EEEVIIIL except for tax cuts for the rich because they’re special and also women are not worthy of anything because we are second-class citizens or something and,,,and…

    I honestly don’t know what the hell goes through these people’s minds and I don’t want to know. They live in a little bubble of hatred and apparently women having any sort of function, even bodily function, outside of “object for men” sends them into a mindless rage. Seriously, to hell with them.


  19. Kelly

    August 10, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I can’t believe people became so angry over such a simple question. That’s nuts.

  20. WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

    August 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    That is truly nutballz. I don’t get the rage…it was just a question.

    I am curious, though…I wonder what their reaction would be if we just went about our business and let the “clots pop & flow” (to borrow my husband’s ewgy phraseology). How many of them would be stomping their wee feet, arms all akimbo, freaking out about the hyyyyygiene and how they can’t just walk around ejaculating all over the place *all the eye rolling and gesticulating*!!!

    • Ezzy666

      August 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      We’re about due for another free bleeding outrage.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

      August 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      I accidentally did it once… right before an interview at an office in the Chrysler Building with no cash, no “resources” and no cell phone because it was the early 90’s and we didn’t have them thar fancy phones yet. Yep. 6 days early and like a red river of death down my white stocking clad leg. I can do it again.

    • Ezzy666

      August 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      That sucks. Did you get the job?

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

      August 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      I did! 😮 I worked there for 4 years and decided I hated advertising.

  21. Johnstone

    August 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    It makes me so unbelievably sad that women are hated just for being women.

    • Coffee&Cats

      August 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      I agree. When I see shit like this I feel like we haven’t really progressed that far at all. It’s disheartening.

  22. Jezebeelzebub

    August 10, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Why does it seem like for every decent, rational human being I see on the internet there are 57 ignorant, hateful, pieces of shit masquerading as people? And for fuck’s sake WHY is it that being Righteously Indignant about even the most innocuous thing is an actual hobby now? I swear to god, it’s like people go through their days hoping and praying that somebody somewhere will do something- anything- that could possibly be taken the wrong way…. and once it happens, it’s on like Donkey Kong! Let the Butthurt Begin! I do not understand this.

    Y’all want to know why I come to Mommyish? It’s because this is one of the few places were the decent folk outnumber the rat-bastards. People here can disagree with each other and remain civil- I’m telling you, it’s unheard of elsewhere. (Y’all probably already know that.)

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

      August 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Mommyish is great cuz of peeps like you!!! (I know. I’m all gushy and oozy…it’s a thing today).

    • Jezebeelzebub

      August 10, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      It’s great because of gushy, oozy peeps like YOU! It really does take a village or something.

    • Amber Starr

      August 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Amen to THIS! This one of the very few sites where I can actually read the comment sections without triggering a migraine. I can’t even go on my local news site anymore because of all the hateful assholes who spew their garbage.

    • rockmonster

      August 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      NPR websites make me raeg.

    • auntiea

      August 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      I love reading the comments here. I’ve actually said to myself, “hmm, that’s a good point, I never thought of it that way.” Something I’ve NEVER done on other sites.

    • Amber Starr

      August 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Same here! I was (and still kinda am) extremely anti-bed sharing, however, after reading some truly well stated views that oppose mine on another thread, I can at least say that it certainly isn’t a black-and-white issue. Would I do it? Nope, but I can absolutely see why some parents would have to and that they do it while taking every precaution they can.

      I love open discussions and being enlightened. It makes life interesting!!

    • Ezzy666

      August 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

      I thought I was the only one who wanted everyone to know stupid I was. Thanks to the internet i’m kind of disappointed that there are so many people out there who are stupider than me.

  23. neighbor57

    August 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I have often wondered why food stamps can buy soda and candy, but not toilet paper and tampons.

    • Joye77

      August 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      I have also wondered why there wasn’t some limited basic hygiene supplies that would be covered like, tampons, pads, soap, shampoo, etc.

    • neighbor57

      August 11, 2014 at 12:37 am

      I know, right? I’m sure we can all agree that these items – including Tylenol and cough syrup, perhaps – are almost as important as food. Can you live without tampons? Sure, but not easily.

  24. Coffee&Cats

    August 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I <3 Valenti and all her work!

    Reading these screenshots astounded me. There is so much hatred and contempt towards women and periods. It's like periods are still a taboo subject even now in 2014! I really just don't understand the rage, especially the rage from other women (internalized misogyny runs deep I guess), over her comment…

    I personally love the idea of tampons, pads, menstrual cups, etc being tax exempted! Idk how they don't count as essential items in the eyes of the government since ya know women need them every month (and that shit gets expensive!).

  25. Sarah

    August 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve often wondered it myself. I’ve played out circumstances in my head about government vouchers for bras, but tampons are definitely in that category. Bras are supposed to be replaced every 6 months and if they’re not fitted correctly or you’re not wearing one all together, you look like the lady getting arrested on Cops. Society does not look friendly upon an ill-fitted bra. Think of that woman at Walmart with the gross white shirt on and her breasts flapping away… anyway, fun to play out in your head the politics and consequences of what would need to be done to make sure all women have access to fitted bras and FHP. The tweets that people come up with in response to her simple question are ridiculous. Are these people real? Is this real life? haha

  26. koolchicken

    August 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    It is a good question, are they subsidized anywhere. I don’t know if they can be, but I’d like to think they’re at least eligible for flexible spending accounts. And it would be nice if you actually had a medical condition where you bled more then normally your doctor could write you a prescription and they’d be covered by health insurance. Pre-pill I would go through 1 40 count box of the Super Plus tampons, plus one 36 count bag of Stayfree overnights. Yet I was so heavy I still trashed most everything I was wearing or sleeping on.

    I wish if nothing else the Diva Cup or something similar was provided by health insurance. That stuff costs a fortune, the least they could do would be to cover the $30 cost of that once a decade. I only wish I’d found it years earlier when my family had no money and I was costing us a small fortune.

    And another thing. Companies like Lunapads (fantastic product by the way) give away free pad kits to girls in Africa. You can also purchase kits for them to donate. And I’m not saying girls in Africa don’t deserve these kits. But it would be nice if the women running the company thought about women in other countries. They can donate to whatever country they want, but if they’re selling them for people to donate it would be nice if the buyer could pick where they go.

  27. Joye77

    August 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I think it is a very innocent and interesting question. I would like to know the answer out of curiosity.
    Aside from that , how did anyone gather that she was wanting them to be subsidized in the US? WTF all those people with the nasty responses? How horrible and evil can people be to a total stranger? What is with all the women hating, that is something that needs to end NOW.

  28. Katherine Handcock

    August 10, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    For those of you interested in the topic of accessibility to menstrual products, check out the documentary “Menstrual Man”, about Arunachalam Murugarantham, who was so shocked to learn what his wife was using during her period that he suffered extreme social stigma in the process of researching a way to provide cheap, hygienic period products. He’s designed a machine that lets women in rural areas in India make their own pads (for personal use or for sale) and a non-profit to help get them to the women who need them – very inspiring! You can read more here: http://www.menstrualman.com/

    Also, regarding how women get access to pads/tampons in developed nations if they have limited resources: check with your local food bank, and you’ll find that, in many places, they are not permitted to purchase anything other than food. That means no tissues, no toilet paper, no diapers, no menstrual products, no toothbrushes, no soap… This is the case in my area, which means the food bank only has these products when people donate them. This year the nursery school my son went to do a toiletries drive instead of a food drive to help stock those shelves, and the food bank employees were tremendously grateful. It is worth checking what the policy is in your area, because if your food bank is in a similar position, getting an extra box of pads or tampons occasionally to donate could make a huge difference for some women in your community.

  29. brebay

    August 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I read the article, and it was shockingly sad. As for these ass-clowns, how bored are you? Did they really think she was trying to score free tampons with this question? If I were Adam McPhee’s mother, I would disinherit him and change my address…

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  31. Daniel

    August 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    People have gotten FAR too touchy, there’s very little sexism there and all of the replies are in response to the bullshit Jessica thinks she can get away with spouting. They’re not saying that because of her inherent gender, they’re saying it because of the ideals she chose to adhere to.
    Isn’t this the same woman who ridicules ‘male tears’ with a hoodie? She can gleefully dish it out but pulls a massive hissy fit when it’s thrown back at her.
    One of the problems with 21st century feminism, they see something which has connotations with gender and then cry sexism at anyone who thinks differently.

    If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  32. Terry

    August 18, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Yes, well, Valenti IS advocating for free tampons. She also manages to squeeze-in a bit of male-bashing too.

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