Sanitary products are going to be free in all schools in England, a measure the UK government has taken as a step to ending the country’s period poverty. The free products will reportedly benefit one in 10 girls who are not currently able to buy them on their own, which can result in girls missing class (up to 12 percent) when they’re on their period.
England isn’t the only place with period poverty, though—far from it. Here in the United States, 14 percent of girls and women live beneath the poverty line, compared to 11 percent of boys and men.
And sanitary products are not cheap (as this man learned when he tried to mansplain women’s periods and tampons to them). When girls and women are forced to go without tampons, pads, or menstrual cups, they have to do things like roll up bundles of toilet paper to put in their underwear, which, as anyone who has tried this makeshift hack will tell you, really doesn’t work.
So when “journalist and property developer with plenty to say!” (taken from his Twitter bio), Marcus Stead, tweeted a ridiculously insensitive and misinformed statement, he was doomed to get chewed up and spit out for his bad take.
Can we please stop all this nonsense about people not being able to 'afford' to give their children breakfast or sanitary products? A bag of porridge to feed a family for a week costs £1. 3 packs of sanitary towels cost £1 in Home Bargains:https://t.co/ePhDTJeI1K
— Marcus Stead (@MarcusStead) April 13, 2019
Quote-tweeting a BBC article about the plan to provide sanitary products for free at English schools, Stead (who does have a lot to say, clearly) wrote, “Can we please stop all this nonsense about people not being able to ‘afford’ to give their children breakfast or sanitary products? A bag of porridge to feed a family for a week costs £1. 3 packs of sanitary towels cost £1 in Home Bargains.”
WOW. Talk about unsympathetic and also, completely wrong. Not about the cost of the items at stores, probably, but about it being “nonsense” that some people really can’t afford to give the kids the things they need.
And people from Twitter jumped in to ever so kindly let the man know what a complete dolt he was being. (Porridge? How many times has he watched Oliver Twist??)
If you have £0 it doesn’t matter how cheap something is, you still can’t buy it because you have £0. So many people not grasping the concept of having no money 🙈🙈
— Jac Rock (@JacRockTweets) April 14, 2019
Don’t think you understand what’s going here. See, any figure with a £ in front of it is money and being poor means that you often don’t have that. Hope this clears things up.
— I Hate Everything (@UberMisery) April 14, 2019
Why do the poor not simply chow down on dry porridge till their periods stop when the scurvy kicks in?https://t.co/48vJHUmGET
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) April 14, 2019
You absolute tosser. No surprise you’re a property developer. Shut up with your bag of porridge. The hideous goblin Isobel Oakeshott already threw that one in the middle months ago. You have NO CLUE what you’re talking about. You have NO CLUE what it means tot be in poverty.
— Nonny Nay Must be a Marxist (@NonnyHay) April 14, 2019
I’ve never understood why toilet paper is apparently an essential for human health that employers and schools should provide for free as standard, while sanitary products are a luxury that women should be expected to purchase themselves and remember to take in advance. Oh wait –
— Ruth Ware (@RuthWareWriter) April 14, 2019
Some people suggested poor families just subsist on porridge, leading to such malnutrition that any females of menstruating age would eventually stop. Problem solved, right?
Let’s do the maths, Marcus. Family of four: 1kg porridge, that’ll be 250g per person per week or 36g a day. This much.
A 40g portion would provide 147 calories. A starving woman’s periods stop, so the cost of tampons is irrelevant.
Show a modicum of humanity.Delete this tweet pic.twitter.com/0oiXT6ZIBY
— Mary Francis (@maryeffrancis) April 14, 2019
Ok so let’s feed the family of 4 just 1 bag of porridge a week, eventually the periods of the females will stop due to malnutrition . Winning n saving all round then….
— Paula Jones (@griffraff) April 14, 2019
A few people pointed out that the quality of the cheap products is very sorely lacking.
The cheap sanitary protection ends up costing a fortune in laundry and ruined knickers. It’s cheap because it’s rubbish.
— rosamundi (@rosamundi) April 14, 2019
Ever tried doing PE while using a cheap sanitary towel? Wondering why some girls suddenly hate sport?
— Candy (@moreteadoctor) April 14, 2019
Someone brought up the fact that people living in poverty don’t often have the luxury of shopping around for the best prices.
What if you don’t have a car or bus fare and the only shop near you sells sanitary towels for £3+ and you need two packs/month? What if buying fruit and vegetables and porridge from there is prohibitively expensive? It’s very middle-class to assume everyone can shop around.
— Jane Casey (@JaneCaseyAuthor) April 14, 2019
Women obviously loooooved being told how to handle their periods by a man.
Hi Marcus, last month my period was so heavy that I bled through 8 maternity pads in 24 hours. Please tell me and other heavy bleeders more about bargain sanitary products, we’re dying to hear it.
— Danielle Capdevila (@dcapdevila_) April 14, 2019
he’s so low-level mansplainy, he’s probably suggesting that you use the porridge
— Dave (funded by Soros) McKinnon (@DaveMcKinnon__) April 14, 2019
My period is so heavy and full of clots that I bleed through a maternity pad in an hour. I’m waiting for an iron infusion after a failed IUD caused a severe, 3 day haemorrhage. What in the everloving fuck would you know about pads you complete tosser? FTFO. #wanker
— ladiesbringaplate 🇦🇺 (@ladiesbap) April 14, 2019
And also what ones we should buy! Let’s buy some crap cheap shite from Home Bargains, this is something no man will ever ever know about, so Marcus, keep your utter shite opinions to your jumper up little self, C/O every woman on this planet
— RF (@drivet1411) April 14, 2019
Of course, a few people had to be self-righteous about the whole thing, as though their circumstances perfectly reflect everyone else’s. They got shot down, too.
A smart phone isn’t a luxury when on benefits as most have to be applied for / managed online and same with job searches. Lack of libraries and distance to job centres mean access to computers is impossible. But don’t let reality get in the way of your sanctimonious judgement
— Kirsty ☠️🇪🇺 (@krustlemuffin) April 14, 2019
If you’re unfortunate enough to be on Universal Credit, the first thing you need to spend money on is your phone, because if you don’t log into your UC account DAILY, you’ll be sanctioned.
— Undercover Meerkat (@rozknitroz) April 14, 2019
Ol’ Marcus hasn’t deleted his tweet yet, because he seems like the kind of dude who would never admit to making a mistake. But that’s fine, that just gives more people a chance to jump in and tell him what an idiot he is.