Male Instacart Shopper Conscientiously Objects To Buying Menstrual Products
In nearly all situations, I like to be on the side of the worker — especially when it comes to gig economy work, because I feel like most of them have enough problems what with the whole industry being pretty exploitative. But there are exceptions to every rule.
A woman on TikTok went viral this week for claiming that a male Instacart shopper refused to get her menstrual hygiene products because he was too embarrassed to buy them.
Playing a horror movie style scream in the background, user JennyDDP wrote “This is what it sounded like in my head when the guy delivering my groceries straight up REFUSED to add the feminine hygiene products I ordered because he’s a childish man who doesn’t care that I literally NEED them.” So far, the video has racked up over 1.2 million views.
Fuck you dude. Not cool. #women #xyzbca #foryoupage #fypシ #foryou #fyp #trending
Obviously we can't verify this, but it's likely that part of the reason this resonated so much with people is because so many have encountered men or other people's boyfriends who won't buy tampons because they're "embarrassed." A quick Google search shows articles and forum posts going back years and years of women complaining that their boyfriends or husbands will not buy them menstrual products, as well as more than a few "Don't Date Men Who Won't Buy You Tampons!" op-eds.
It's even, as a 2017 Bustle article about another man who was too "embarrassed" to buy tampons, been a plot point in television shows and movies, including this one I have never seen, starring Dean Winchester and Clea DuVall (who, by the way, should be in more things).
It has never been clear what it is that is embarrassing about this, but it's a thing. I'd say maybe it was because they were afraid someone would think they were trans, but this has been a known and talked about phenomenon since well before weirdos were up in arms over trans people all the time. What is it they are afraid of? What is it they think is going to happen?
Is this what they think is going to happen?Giphy
Is it that the idea that periods are something to be ashamed of is so deeply ingrained that these men are afraid someone is going to find out that they know, or are doing Instacart shopping for, someone who is menstruating? Possibly!
On the other end of the period shame spectrum this week, Kenyan Senator Gloria Orwoba made international news for continuing to work after she accidentally bled through her pants when her period came early.
It was an accident, Orwoba said. Just before walking into parliament, she looked down to discover that she had been caught unprepared by her monthly period.
For a moment, she considered retreat. But then she thought about how the stigma around menstruation affects Kenyan women and girls and strode into the building. To those who noticed the stain, she explained she was making a statement.
It didn’t last long. Within minutes, colleagues in the senate became so uncomfortable that another female lawmaker petitioned the speaker to ask Orwoba to leave and change her clothes. Male colleagues agreed, calling the issue “taboo and private,” and Orwoba walked out.
She seems like a pretty cool lady and I kind of love her.
This Instacart incident does not do much to rehabilitate the image of male Instacart shoppers, who have been the subject of some frustration over the last few years, due to the fact that women have noticed that they sometimes have a tendency to claim that things are "out of stock" when they simply cannot find them, suggest completely bizarre replacements and a storied inability to select produce.
I must admit that I myself have had this experience on multiple occasions, my favorites being one who asked me if he should replace ginger root (which I have never seen out of stock) with ginger ale, and another who replaced Sudafed with, like, regular Tylenol.
While a general inability to do grocery shopping is very different from refusing to buy Tampons because it's "embarrassing" are two very different things, they're not entirely unrelated. Learned helplessness when it comes to work frequently coded as "women's work," and fear of doing something like buying tampons are equally rooted in toxic masculinity and misogyny and both are things some people are gonna need to get the fuck over.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse