Dear Ryan Williams,
It has come to my attention that you, a self-proclaimed meninist, think that the key to keeping menstrual blood from leaking everywhere is to “hold your bladder.” Therefore, you are saying that menstrual blood lives in the bladder (same as urine), comes out of the body through the urethra (same as urine), and is possible to “hold in” (same as urine). Using this logic, you have proclaimed that taxing tampons as a luxury item is completely reasonable and anybody who wishes tampons were free is a cheapskate trying to take advantage of taxpayers.
Since the release of your tweet, you have started a Go Fund Me campaign to fund biology lessons for yourself because the Internet has jumped on you and your incorrect claims. As a generous sex educator, I thought instead of giving you money to fund biology lessons, I would simply explain to you the biology of menstruation and why “holding your bladder” is not the way to stop your period from staining your favorite white jeans.
Let’s start with the basics: what is a period? A period, also known as menstruation, is the release of the endometrium (or uterine) lining in vagina owning humans. This lining is produced every month by the body in preparation for pregnancy. If a vagina owner does not become pregnant then this lining (that lives on the walls of the uterus) is shed through the vagina at the end of the monthly cycle. This shedding period can last anywhere from 1-7 days and comes out in a reddish-brown thick liquid that resembles blood. The lining sheds continually over this period of time, often coming in spurts, but is mostly uncontrollable.
This is different than urine coming out of the bladder as people urinate multiple times daily based on their fluid intake and the bladder is a separate organ than the uterus. Urine leaves the bladder through the urethra, which may be confused with the vaginal opening as they both are incased within the vulva, but they are in fact two separate holes with two separate functions. The uterus is where babies live when they are growing inside of the body where as a bladder is where urine is stored until it is released out of the body.
It is possible to control urine from leaving a healthy bladder; it is not possible to control menstruation from leaving a uterus.
In case you need a visual, here are two images of the female body drawn by illustrator, Ludmila Leiva. The top image shows that the bladder and uterus are two different organs that live close to each other within the body. The image on the bottom shows that the vaginal opening is different than the urethra despite them both being within the vulva. Urine comes from the bladder out the urethra and menstruation comes from the uterus and out the vagina.
Finally, I’d like to address your opposition to ending the tampon tax. Now I understand as somebody who does not get a period that maybe you don’t understand the inconvenience of having blood slowly drip out of your body for seven days every month, but let me tell you, it is a serious pain in the behind. It is also completely socially unacceptable to be covered in blood from the waist down while going about your daily routine and so tampons and pads were invented. The same way you probably put on deodorant to not have pit stains, I wear tampons to not have period stains on all of my pants. As tampons have become more and more necessary (now that we let women out of the house when its their time of the month), it is silly to treat them as a luxury item when in fact they are as essential as toothpaste. Go ahead and tax my expensive hair product that I choose to indulge in, but until you own one, please keep your taxes out of my vagina.
Hannah Rimm, your friendly neighborhood sex educator