The War on Women, RenewedPosted by Pauline Wolak on August 19, 2014
Before Ryan Reilly became the village idiot of Twitter, Jessica Valenti reigned supreme. I daresay her tampon tweet was perhaps the single dumbest thing I have ever read on the internet. (And I’ve been to Gawker so that’s saying something).
Not familiar with the tweet? On August 8th Ms. Valenti, NARAL board member and founder of feministing.com, tweeted the following, “Twitter friends: Anyone know a country where tampons are free or somehow subsidized?”
After being lambasted by social media with retorts like, “The Land of Utopia” and “Narnia,” I’d have expected the idea to die a slow and painful internet death. Instead, Valenti dug in her heels along with the likes of TIME and Cosmo. From her piece at The Guardian:
“But this is less an issue of costliness than it is of principle: menstrual care is health care, and should be treated as such. But much in the same way insurance coverage or subsidies for birth control are mocked or met with outrage, the idea of women even getting small tax breaks for menstrual products provokes incredulousness because some people lack an incredible amount of empathy … and because it has something to do with vaginas. “
Oh, sweet pea. People lack empathy because you aren’t in a third world country. People laughed at you because a box of Kotex is, what, six bucks? A tax break on that here in Michigan would be 36 cents. That’s enough to send your Senator a postcard begging him to co-sponsor “Aunt Flo’s Law.” It’s a serious problem. Just last month I found myself at the local coffee shop. “Should I buy that mocha,venti,double shot, no whip latte or a box of tampons?” It really was the most agonizing decision I ever had to make as a woman. Damn you, ovaries!!
Mockery aside, I am sympathetic to the plight of women in places like Africa where sanitary products really aren’t available. It’s a luxury many women take for granted here. I’m happy to give to charitable organizations that are in a position to help women in serious need and those like them around the globe.
I am not ok with women like Ms. Valenti using her vagina as some sort of excuse for free stuff. “We need to move beyond the stigma of “that time of the month” – women’s feminine hygiene products should be free for all, all the time.”
Do you know how many every day items are necessary to maintain proper hygiene? Do you know how many of those items can be construed as “health care?” Let’s check out my medicine cabinet. Contact solution, toothpaste, and floss (this is where I’ll ask my dentist to stop laughing. I floss. Twice a year). Toilet paper! Imagine the health issues if we didn’t have access to that! Are you prepared to demand those products be subsidized too? You know, right after you convince Proctor and Gamble to become a non-profit.
It’s ironic. I thought feminists wanted to be equal to men. You’re out of the kitchen, $500 Jimmy Choos intact. Not a baby in sight. You’ve worked your way up, glass ceiling far below. And yet, when it comes to your vagina, you wilt like the tattered little flower you are. Deep down, you still want someone to take care of you apparently. Nothing else could explain outrage at having to pay for something that costs you about $80 a year.
And nothing excuses putting yourself in the same category as a school girl in a third world country living in a shack when you have a Rite Aid around the corner.