Our National Crisis: NPR Highlights the Tampon Shortage in America

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Not that long ago, free bleeding used to be a thing to express some feminist ideal, or to bring awareness to the tampon shortage in third-world countries.

According to NPR, now we are the third-world country.


Maybe it’s time to take all those menstrual products out of the boy’s bathroomsMmmkay?

People who menstruate are saying it’s hard to find tampons on store shelves across the U.S. right now, as supply chain upsets reach the feminine care aisle.

“I just went to 5 different Walgreens [and] the shelves are CLEARED,” said one Twitter user this past week, while people on Reddit have posted about empty shelves going back months.

The shortage stems from a combination of factory staffing challenges, transportation bottlenecks, and the rising costs of key raw materials used to make the products, tampon makers say.

CVS, Target and Walgreens said in statements to NPR that they were aware of a limited tampon supply at some stores. A spokesperson for CVS said that, in recent weeks, suppliers haven’t been able to fulfill the full orders placed by the company. Both companies said they’re working with tampon makers to replenish store inventory as soon as possible.

“People who menstruate”? My eyes are rolling so hard I’m getting motion sickness.

Dana Marlowe, the founder of I Support the Girls, an organization that provides menstrual products for people with economic hardship, says the shortage has been happening for longer than most people realize.

Marlowe says her group has seen a large drop in tampon donations in recent months. The organization received half as many tampons this year compared to the same time last year and over 60% less than in 2020.

“Our shelves our bare,” Marlowe told NPR.


And you know whose fault it is, don’t you? WHITE. MEN. Time Magazine pointed this out in, “The Great Tampon Shortage of 2022: The Supply-Chain Issue No One’s Talking About.”

Maybe because it’s not really an issue? Not life or death like the baby-formula crisis, not killing off our food supply like all these meat and food processing plants being blown up, not killing work like the push for the PRO Act. But it seems like both publications are pulling from the old newspaper adage, If it bleeds, it leads.

Aside from the menstrual blood, there really is nothing to see here. But this Time writer invents it from whole cloth anyway. In as condescending of a tone as I’ve seen in a while, the author woman-splains what a period is <insert *eye-roll* emoji> and why women need tampons to manage it. If these types truly believed in “people who have periods,” they wouldn’t need to explain anything.

But, I digress….

Since men make up the majority of CEOs of these billion-dollar feminine hygiene product companies, the blame is laid squarely in their laps as to why this “crisis” isn’t being adequately addressed.

Many of the people making those decisions for feminine care products do not themselves use them. The CEO of Procter & Gamble is a man, as are the CEOs of Edgewell and Unilever. (The CEO of Abbott Nutrition is a man, as is the UK’s Health Secretary, whose department is responsible for getting HRT to women using the National Health Service.

“I challenge you to go to a business that doesn’t have hand sanitizer,” she says. “That happened overnight.” But, she says, there has been no such push by businesses or the government to solve the tampon shortage.


Isn’t it convenient that this bunch can clearly define “men” and “women” when they want to lay blame on men?

Funny how that works.

This “need” is pure hyperbole, and indicative of how disconnected legacy media like Time and NPR have become from what really matters. It also highlights what Mike Rowe said,

“You’ve got a lot of very, very smart people standing by waiting for somebody else to do the work. Not a recipe for long-term solvency in my opinion.”

Maybe all these concerned women just need to do what those menstruating runners did — bleed freely. Go ahead, drip all around your office, during the staff meetings, when you take your kid to daycare. Be Brave! One must bring awareness to these things, so be the one to stand up.


Doubtful that will fly in the workplace. So, maybe it’s time to stop waiting for somebody else to do the work on this and take care of yourself. As long as I’ve been menstruating (I am a female, and despite NPR’s delusions, I am the only one who can), getting my period has been sarcastically referred to as, “being on the rag.” We have moved far from the Red Tents and using rags to staunch the bleeding, but maybe it’s time for it to make a comeback.


First thing: take those days during your menstrual cycle off. Isolate yourself with other women who are also on their cycle. There’s a whole Red Tent movement wrapped around that concept, so now may be a good time to jump on the bandwagon.

Maybe use an actual rag? They aren’t hard to find, but in the event you cannot, there are all types of absorbent towels and “pillowy” products out there that can substitute for the shortage caused by those evil bastard white men CEOs. In my youth, I had no organization like I Support the Girls, so, this low-income college student and minimum wage worker had to figure things out. Rags, absorbent paper towels, small pillow products all came into play. Necessity is the mother of invention, and I became very inventive.

Then there are the eco-friendly types who have created rinseable, anti-bacterial menstrual cloths and Diva Cups. So, consider this a good time to upgrade your climate change goals and start saving the planet.

Yes, it’s inconvenient, requires constant monitoring, and is not as comfortable; but it works, it’s functional, and beats the heck out of whining about the lack of tampons and equity.

Newsflash: A lack of your convenient product support for a once-a-month, five-to-seven-day occurrence, is not comparable to a supply chain crisis. Get a clue, Park Avenue and Acela moms. NPR, Time, and everyone pushing this need to get a clue much more than they need tampons.




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