“Gender critical” Twitter had a meltdown this week over… tampons (because clearly there is nothing else going on in the world)
Not once, but twice this week, tampons have been a hot topic on Twitter.
Tampax has become the latest brand in a *rapidly growing* list of companies to be shunned by “gender critical” Twitter.
Terfs adding Tampax to their banned list, alongside Wickes, Asda, Sainsburys, Waitrose, HM, Marks and Sparks, Ben and Jerry’s, The AA, Lush, Barclays, Lloyds, Waterstones, Joules, BirdsEye Fish Finger and so many others but I don’t have enough characters. #BoycottTampax #Tampax
— India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) November 22, 2022
Some Twitter users accused the tampon vendor of “sexualising women”, following a light-hearted Tweet which went viral.
The company put its own spin on a popular meme format, widely adopted by a number of creators and bands, with the punchline being “we’re not the same”.
Tampax tweeted on Monday, November 21: “You’re in their DMs. We’re in them. We are not the same”.
You’re in their DMs. We’re in them.
We are not the same.
— Tampax US (@Tampax) November 21, 2022
Of course, it’s quite common for brands to use memes and comedy to promote their service or product on social media – with everything from Grindr to Aldi curating feeds similar to meme pages in order to sell their wares – and the seemingly innocent tweet quickly racked up more than 360,000 likes and 47,500 retweets.
However, not everyone was so happy.
The upset seemingly began over the “explicit” language used, with some users calling the wording “graphic”, “gross”, and “sick”, among other things.
While others pointed out that people as young as nine-years-old may be navigating periods for the first time – although they presumably wouldn’t be on Twitter, due to its minimum age requirement – and with the joke punchline hinging around a ‘DM slide’, said that the brand was sexualising those children.
By Wednesday morning, the hashtag #BoycottTampax was trending, and several accounts with relatively large followings began urging people to abandon the brand entirely.
One user wrote: “That is a revolting statement. You are providers/manufacturers of a serviceable product used for women and girls’ menstrual care.
“That you can even frame this as being inside us is just insulting. Feel shame and show some respect to the women and girls who are your customers.”
Another added: “Real weird for a company that sells products made for woman’s natural bodily functions to make a tweet sexualising woman for using their products…. lmfao fire your social media manager, this is gross.”
Of course, then came accusations that the brand was “alienating” its customer base by not directly referring to women and girls – instead opting for a gender-inclusive “their”. And that’s when the shitstorm started.
Like many brands, Tampax made the decision to use inclusive language, so as not to leave trans and non-binary people, the groups often ignored in conversations about periods, out of the joke.
“It never ceases to amaze me how brands are so ready to alienate their core demographic. It’s certainly an interesting business strategy”, said one Twitter user.
this whole #BoycottTampax thing is just terfs finding some tiny thing to boycott a company that supports trans people. 2 days after a mass shooting of LGBT people loooooool hell is hot for terfs pic.twitter.com/KNPLOqTT7x
— Hot TERF takes (@HotTerfTakes) November 22, 2022
Tampax offered an unapologetic, light-hearted response amidst the controversy by retweeting the gag, saying it “refused to let Twitter shut down before we shared this tweet” – referring to the Elon Musk takeover and speculation that Twitter might “go down” overnight.
The trolling then intensified, targeting several trans women on Twitter in the process, in posts that we won’t share here for obvious reasons.
Tampax US, owned by the firm Procter and Gamble, carries a business mission, which has included multiple campaigns, calling for discussions around periods to be normalised. Obviously, as we know with queer sex memes, comedy can be a great way to make otherwise sensitive topics feel more natural and relatable – helping to alleviate any feelings of shame a person might have over a perfectly normal part of life.
Then (November 24) came backlash over tampon machines being made available in male-designated bathroom facilities. A tampon dispenser was installed in a men’s-marked bathroom inside a government building in Ireland called Leinster House, in an effort to accommodate males who may be menstruating.
Seemingly trans and non-binary people, who use male-marked toilets, having access to tampons is a point of disgust for some people.
“Is this a joke or what? World gone mad sadly,” said one user.
Just installed in men’s toilet in Leinster House. pic.twitter.com/mEKsEFp3uX
— Philip Ryan (@Philip_Ryan) November 24, 2022
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Scottish government intended to make tampons and sanitary items available in male-marked toilets in government buildings, positioned ‘close to meeting/conference rooms and/or main entrances to premises,’ to ensure trans people had access, per a government submission to LGBT charity Stonewall.
None. Get a fucking life, you absolute loser
— Katy Montgomerie 🦗 (@KatyMontgomerie) November 25, 2022
it’s LITERALLY a tampon dispenser in a men’s toilet. Get over yourself pic.twitter.com/W2nEVguys3— Victoria 🎀 🦃 (@EuphoriTori) November 25, 2022