Anyone who gets their period knows that maintaining your hygiene level during that time can cost a lot of money. While reusable menstrual cups have become more mainstream, they aren’t a viable alternative to pads or tampons for many people and require a more significant upfront investment in most cases. A lack of access to menstrual products is an issue around the world, where getting their period can keep some children from going to school.
Here in the U.S., there is considerable debate on how these products are taxed as “luxury items,” though they’re clearly necessities. There is currently a push for “menstrual equality,” as the New York Times reports, meaning equal access to hygiene products as well as education about reproductive health. Activists are also pushing for laws that will obligate prisons, shelters, schools and government buildings to provide free menstrual products, and for states to exempt these products from a sales tax.
While most people aren’t necessarily immersed in menstrual equality on a day-to-day basis, the average person who has experienced it can understand what would be at stake if you couldn’t afford these products. That’s probably why this photo shared by Twitter user @oonskie is being talked about. It’s an image of a shelf in a grocery store that has a placard that reads, “Help us build safer communities–report shoplifting to a member of the staff.”
It’s placed over the tampons and pads.
“We really need a genuine conversation as a society about what ‘safety’ means,” they captioned it.
The image sparked a lot of angry responses, from all sorts of positions. Some people who work in grocery stores weighed in to say that no one on the clock there cares if somebody is stealing some pads:
as someone who works in a grocery store, please do not tell us if people are literally stealing feminine products. not a single one of the underpaid workers are going to give a shit. let people do what they need to do https://t.co/5B6zRJ0Yt0— see air uh (@ciaram_txt) January 30, 2020
I should clarify... I live in the US— taylor ★彡 (@taylorlaynec) January 30, 2020
When I worked in retail, I didn’t care if anyone shoplifted, nor did I care to catch them.— Aleesha (@a_leesha1) January 30, 2020
It’s not exactly middle-class rich ppl who are gonna be stealing £4 pens, and same with sanitary products.
Not my stock, not my consideration. I’m here to work my min wage job n go! https://t.co/rIjOMVTuGx
And others said that as customers, they couldn’t care less either:
If someone is shoplifting fucking tampons and you snitch them out, I hope you step on at least 9000 Legos every day for the rest of your miserable life. https://t.co/PeYSXuAgNv— Ⓐ #GrumpyCuntSec Ⓐ (@brazenqueer) January 29, 2020
If you see someone stealing anything tbh— 🔮 Bog Witch Energy 🔮 (@Mumbleduck) January 30, 2020
That and baby products.— 🏳️🌈🇬🇧Fallin Light⁷🇳🇬💜 (@pIodis_I7) January 29, 2020
It makes my heart sad a bit seeing baby food locked up.
me when i see someone stealing pads pic.twitter.com/0uK3E2kJHy— acacia (@misskayshak) January 30, 2020
And there were a lot of comparisons to programs for hanging out free condoms:
If condoms are free TAMPONS SHOULD BE. Fucking is a choice, our period isn’t. https://t.co/7pU1XzaggB— 𝕭𝖎𝖆𝖓𝖈𝖆 𝕯𝖊𝖛𝖎𝖓𝖊 🤍 (@BBsweeetie) January 30, 2020
In Sex Ed the boys are given free condoms but the idea that tampons should be as easily accessible is non existent. Sex is a choice, my menstral cycle is not. But I can clearly see what comes first. https://t.co/vLxPGHj7lV— HeavenNichole (@omfgitsmeheaven) January 30, 2020
Looks like the CEOs will have to come down and police the aisles themselves, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t make them feel very “safe.”