Tampons are a “luxury item”
Once I worked as an intern in the state capital. One of the representatives I worked for was this middle-aged guy. And he hated the tampon and napkin machines in the women’s bathrooms. Hated them. He insisted that they weren’t necessary.
I found out why after I’d been working there, oh, about a month. My period started suddenly, as it sometimes does, and I asked to excuse myself to go to the ladies’ room. He wanted to know why. I told him.
He started ranting about how lazy women were. How we wasted time. How we were so careless and unhygenic, and that there was no call for that. He finished by telling me that I certainly was NOT going to the ladies’ room and that I was just going to sit there and work. He finished this off with a decisive nod, as if I’d just been told and there could be no possible argument.
“If I don’t go,” I said in an overly patient tone, “the blood is going to soak through my pants, stain my new skirt that I just bought, and possibly get on this chair I’m sitting in. I need something to soak up the blood. That’s why I need to go to the bathroom.”
His face turned oatmeal-gray; an expression of pure horror spread across his face. He leaned forward and whispered, “Wait, you mean that if you don’t go, you’ll just keep on bleeding? I thought that women could turn it off any time that they wanted!”
I thought, You have got to be kidding.
Several horrified whispers later, I learned that he wasn’t. He actually thought a) that women could shut down the menstrual cycle at will, b) that we essentially picked a week per month to spend more time in the bathroom, i.e. to goof off, and c) that napkins and tampons were sex toys paid for by Health and Human Services. I didn’t know the term then, but he believed that tampons were dildos. Which was why he and a good number of his friends considered them luxuries.
And that’s how, at twenty, I had to give a talk on menstruation to a middle-aged married state representative who was one of my bosses. American politics, ladies and gentlemen.
That’s.., that’s insane.
what the fuck did i just read
Concept: Maybe “neurotypicals” who consistently reblog post about autism and other mental disorders and illnesses because they relate to them actually aren’t neurotypical, and just don’t know it.
Even the ones who say, “But everyone does this!” might only be saying it because they do it, and therefore think everyone does, when that’s not the reality.
Like, I remember someone who very obviously had OCD saying, “Everyone gets constant, upsetting intrusive thoughts, and does things to make them go away! It’s normal!” and everyone who responded to them were like, “Uh… No, it’s really not. You have a mental illness.”
I hate how everyone is so quick to assume anyone who relates to their posts without having every aspect of their mental state listed on their blog is obviously an evil, appropriating neurotypical. Maybe they are technically neurotypical, but have one or two traits associated with whatever form of neurodivergence. Maybe they’re neurodivergent and just don’t feel like listing it. Maybe they think they’re neurotypical, and are in the process of realising that they actually aren’t.
Please don’t be so quick to judge. This gatekeeping helps no one.
This is an extremely important point.
I know at least one trans person who didn’t realize they were trans until they were talking about how much they relate to trans things. Only, it was in the context of being dismissive of trans people. “Oh, sure, of course you prefer those pronouns. Everyone does.” But that wasn’t a cis person being dismissive of trans experiences; it was a trans person not understanding that they were trans.
Same thing with a lot of mental illness stuff.
Honestly, if you relate to an experience, you have the experience. Doesn’t matter whether you have it for the same reason someone else does.
On a similar note that I was thinking about recently: perhaps some neurodivergent people who are dismissed by their parents have neurodivergent parents who don’t know it. Like, if your mom says “everyone has that” when you tell her about your depression, there’s a decent chance that she’s not minimizing you, she just has depression herself and doesn’t realize it.
This is so so important. I started my journey with anxiety like this. And one of the first things my therapist asked me was whether or not there was a history of anxiety in my family. I honestly couldn’t answer her, because as far as I knew… there wasn’t? But then I thought about my mother.
My mother who can’t sleep if she can see that the outside light is still on at my house because she knows that it means I’m not home yet.
My mother who calls me at 9:30 on Wednesday nights, if I haven’t called her yet, just to ask if everything is all right because I usually call at 9, when I get out of class.
My mother who insisted on me calling her every night when I got home when I lived further away because otherwise I could have been kidnapped and no one would have known because I lived alone.
My mother who will work herself up for WEEKS over the fact that family members haven’t RSVPed to the summer family get-together because then she can’t plan food appropriately.
My mother who constantly imagines these dire futures for my niece and nephew based on the fact that they don’t have a swingset in their backyard.
My mother who imagines the worst case scenario for EVERYTHING.
And I realized… if my mother doesn’t have anxiety, too, then I’ll eat my fucking shoe.
And I had spent so much time feeling like how I felt was normal, in large part because I had my mother as an example of what “normal” looked like and I knew i was just the same. By the same token, she also has a huge difficulty understanding why my anxiety is occasionally so crippling–because she knows that she and I are alike in many ways and she’s always managed to do everything that needs to be done, so she doesn’t understand when I can’t. And just the fact that I was finally able to grasp where that communication breakdown was coming from helped A LOT on my end, at least.
So, yeah. Thank you, OP, and commenters, because this is definitely something that I think gets overlooked by people doing those gatekeeping behaviors.