As if $5 a gallon gas, a baby formula shortage and record-high inflation weren’t stressful enough for American women, we now have another problem on our hands (or, more literally, in our pants): A tampon shortage. Nationwide, women are finding bare shelves in the feminine care aisle with no end in sight.
A representative for Procter & Gamble, which makes Tampax brand tampons, told The New York Times “that the company knew how frustrating it was for consumers who could not find what they needed and said it was working with retailers to maximize availability.” Without offering a specific timeline, the representative called the situation “temporary,” as if women can put our periods on hold temporarily.
This comes on top of historic high inflation hitting almost every product women buy, including tampons. According to Bloomberg, the average cost of menstrual pads rose 8.3% this year, and the average price of a package of tampons rose by nearly 10%.
But The Great Tampon Shortage isn’t all bad news. Similar to the way high gas prices present Americans “the opportunity” to switch to electric vehicles they can’t afford, The New York Times suggests the tampon shortage presents “a chance” for women “and others who use tampons” to reexamine the products we use and switch to “environmental” and “reusable options.”
That’s right: Thanks to the Biden administration’s failed economic policies and inability to manage the supply chain crisis, women now have “a chance” to use reusable period underwear and menstrual cups designed to catch and collect period fluid. No tampons? No problem. Here’s a cup! One can only imagine the outrage and the accusations of misogyny that would be leveled had this shortage erupted under a Republican administration, especially former President Donald Trump.
The Great Tampon Shortage comes as Democrats enact legislation that puts local taxpayers on the hook for installing thousands of new tampon dispensers in boys’ bathrooms, costing up to $400 a machine, and as companies including Tampax reportedly seek promotional collaborations with biological men who obviously don’t menstruate.
It also comes as women continue to face a barrage of humiliating descriptors, such as “pregnant people” and “bodies with vaginas.” The latest is on display by taxpayer-funded National Public Radio, which covered the tampon shortage as a problem affecting “people who menstruate.” In the name of “tolerance” and “inclusion,” these terms demean, dehumanize and erase women.
The tampon shortage is another example of progressive policies that leave women worse off. Reducing our identities to the fact that we bleed is icing on the cake. Would any woman who can’t find a tampon while she’s on her period want to be called “a person who menstruates”? Truly, there are fewer more humiliating options.
• Kelsey Bolar is a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum.