What To Know About The Absurd #BoycottTampax Trend On Twitter

Now that Elon Musk has officially grabbed Twitter's reins, users are sure that the platform is in its final days. For some, it means saying goodbye (just in case) while others continuing to tweet as if nothing has changed. Others, like tampon brand Tampax, are embracing this "end of days" atmosphere and tweeting things they've always wanted to say.

But this isn't the first time this year there's been a call to #BoycottTampax. According to the New Republic, Tampax was the center of a boycott in June after the company announced they were sponsoring content creators Dylan Mulvaney, a trans woman, and Jeffrey Marsh, who is non-binary. Both content creators went viral for their advocacy for gender neutrality; Marsh has been vocal on Instagram about how people of all genders can get periods while Mulvaney went viral on TikTok for sharing how she wanted to carry tampons in case another woman needs one, even though she doesn't need them herself.

Mulvaney not using tampons isn't something that's exclusive to trans women, either. As the Cleveland Clinic explains, not only can someone skip their period if they're taking hormonal birth control, there are actually benefits like lowering the risk of developing ovarian cysts, preventing migraines, and having an overall better quality of life.

So not only are people upset about a joke a tampon company tweeted, TERFs – a shorthand term for feminists who exclude transgender women from their advocacy – are using the opportunity to spread transphobic rhetoric (via Mary Sue).

Tampax's tweet wasn't taken as a joke

If you've been on Twitter or Instagram at all in the past few years, you've probably seen the "we're not the same" meme. Basically, the idea is that you're comparing yourself to some third person in an imaginary attention triangle; this other person might be sliding into "their DMs" but you have a connection that's more profound than a text message (via Meet the Internet).

With Twitter feeling like it's in its final days, Tampax took the opportunity to capitalize on the meme format, tweeting out: "You're in their DMs. We're in them. We are not the same." Later, they added that they "refused to let Twitter shut down before we shared this tweet."

According to The Daily Beast, the tweet was seen as objectifying, humiliating, and even sexualizing young girls and women. One critic wrote that Tampax's tweet "insulted its entire customer base" and felt this was an example of "Peak patriarchy." Another thanked the company for "showing us exactly who you are," equating what Tampax wrote with a rape joke. Someone else felt the joke made it clear that men were the brand's "target audience."

For The Cut, the joke was "typical cringe and/or spit-take-inducing branded Twitter content" that isn't necessarily boycott-worthy. The social media manager of The Mary Sue adds they felt the joke was good and they wished they would've thought of it.

TERFs are boycotting Tampax for a different reason

Tampax has been making enemies on social media for years. Back in 2020, the company tweeted: "Also a fact: Not all people with periods are women. Let's celebrate the diversity of all people who bleed." One user wanted to know if there were instructions for men who wanted to use tampons while another called the tweet "unprofessional, irresponsible, frightening" and "wrong."

This same rhetoric from 2020 resurfaced after Tampax tweeted their joke on Monday, with Twitter users taking offense to the company's use of the word "them" rather than "her." One person wrote that using gender-neutral language is "designed intentionally to gaslight, abuse, and destabilize women and girls" and that Tampax's highlighting the work of a transwoman and non-binary person "affects society as a whole." Another critic of the company wrote that they had been boycotting Tampax after the company's 2020 tweet, writing that they believed "only female humans experience periods and we deserve humanizing words...those words are women and girls."

Tampax isn't the only company that has received blowback for embracing gender neutrality or working with Dylan Mulvaney. Last month, The Cut reports the hashtag #BoycottUlta trending after the beauty brand's podcast published an episode called: "The Beauty of... Girlhood with Dylan Mulvaney." According to the Daily Wire, blowback against the company, Mulvaney, and the episode was so bad they had to turn off comments on the YouTube video of the podcast.