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More than 34 million American women use tampons, so it was inevitable that (yep) they’d be part of the supply chain chaos. After all, we’re still facing the epic shortage of baby formula. Is it really so surprising that tampons would be low on stock too?
Nope, not surprising at all. What we’re really wondering is, why is Amy Schumer now being blamed for the national tampon shortage?
In her article for TIME, Alana Semuels says, “Ask Procter & Gamble why it is so hard to find tampons right now, and the company will blame Amy Schumer.” After all, P&G points to the explosion in demand, with retail sales up 7.7% over the past two years. Being forced to run 24/7 to keep up with demand kinda sounds like a good thing for the company’s profit margin, right?
So, what did Schumer do that was really so horrible? She did appear in a series of now-infamous tampon commercials in 2020, which went a long way toward normalizing our discussions about menstruation. But that’s hardly enough to account for the bizarre and long-lasting outage of tampons on store shelves.
So, What’s The Big Deal In Talking About Periods And Tampons?
There’s a reason why Schumer’s series of commercials have been so widely embraced and applauded. While periods may be something that we talk about as part of the sex & puberty discussions in early adolescents, there’s still so much stigma associated with menstruation.
In a study by THINX, more than 58% of women said they felt embarrassed when they were on their period. Some 42% of women say they’ve experienced period-shaming. Whether it’s dealing with jokes and innuendos or simple avoidance of situations where it might be obvious, that sense of shame has slithered its way into so many of our everyday experiences.
What Schumer’s commercial did was show the tampon for what it was, take the edge off by showing how to insert it into a jelly donut, and demonstrate how easy it is to ask questions. That’s not all she did, of course. She also talked about tampon ingredients, Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), and about vaginas in general.
In her “Let’s Talk About It” commercial, she says, “I’m here with Tampax to find out what we really know about periods and vaginas, because when we don’t talk about them, we don’t learn about them.”
So, Is Amy Schumer To Blame For The Tampon Shortage?
By now, I hope you can already answer that question for yourself. But, no, Schumer’s not to blame. She doesn’t seem to know anything about the shortage (why should she?). She does, however, have the perfect response to all the hubbub (which, ironically, opens up even more discussions about the female body). She famously quipped: “Whoa I don’t even have a uterus.”
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What’s REALLY To Blame For The Tampon Shortage?
It’s not a complete shocker that we’re experiencing a tampon shortage. We’ve been running out of toilet paper, baby formula, and every other essential and non-essential item there is! Yep, I’m sure you’ve heard about how the supply chain kerfuffles have wreaked havoc on the availability of raw materials. P&G even admitted to sourcing issues for their feminine products on a recent call.
The ingredients in tampons have been in hot demand over the last few years. Shockingly, cotton, rayon, and plastic are sometimes used in products for personal protection equipment. So, the direct demand far exceeded supply, even as the cost continues to skyrocket. For cotton alone, the raw price is up by 71% compared with last year.
Supply and demand issues are not new concepts, but there’s no clear picture of when the shortage will end or even how severe the shortage is. We’ve only NOW started hearing that the shortage is nationwide. It sure seemed like it must just be local. And then, to hear that the shortage is being inexplicably linked to and blamed on Schumer’s tampon commercials is infuriating.
Semuels says, “Women get their period every month, and if they’ve used tampons for their entire adult lives, they need tampons.” It’s true that if you NEED tampons, you’ll keep looking until you find them, and you’ll probably lay in a stockpile to avoid future shortages. It’s also true that P&G and other manufacturers now have the perfect opportunity to keep pushing those prices steadily higher. But there’s also that question that haunts this discussion: If men were the ones in need of tampons, would the shortage be so severe? Amy Schumer would CERTAINLY be escaping all blame…
What are your thoughts on the tampon shortage? Why is Procter & Gamble blaming Amy Schumer?
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