Dane Swan, a former Australian Football League player, took to Twitter to ridicule the idea of men purchasing tampons and ended up ridiculing himself in the process. The tweet not only suggests that Swan misunderstands how tampons are purchased, he may not understand what tampons even are.
Swan posted a photo he’d taken at a grocery store and wrote, “It’s been some day folks cause today is the day i learnt that men can buy tampons. I’ve now officially seen it all.” He then tagged his podcast co-host Ralph Horowitz, asking him to bookmark the tweet—presumably for a more in-depth discussion of menstruation products by two cis men.
In terms of logic, there were a number of very obvious issues with this tweet right away. For starters, the “tampons” in the photo are clearly labeled as incontinence pads on the front of the packaging.
“It’s a toss up,” Irish drag queen Panti Bliss-Cabrera wrote, “but for my money, not knowing what a tampon is, is more embarrassing than not knowing what an incontinence pad is.”
It’s a toss up, but for my money, not knowing what a tampon is, is more embarrassing than not knowing what an incontinence pad is
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) January 4, 2023
The great thing about this photo is the products are both described as and pictured on the packaging. It’s one of the many ways you can tell that these aren’t tampons.
— Recreational Dentist (@pbAstronaut) January 4, 2023
These are incontinence pads @swandane. Like many men, I’ve been using them for over a decade to treat one of the side effects of my successful treatment for prostate cancer. You have an opportunity to help breakdown the stigma around male continence which affects men of all ages https://t.co/ep1jsNQbKT
— Tony Walker ASM (@agwalker01) January 4, 2023
Also, there’s never been a restriction on who can and can’t buy tampons. Who would even enforce that? “Period Police,” as one user put it?
[my boyfriend calling me from CVS to let me know the Period Police won’t let him purchase tampons for me] https://t.co/cvsBW7F7IR
— Merrick 🌻🦂 (@punishedmother) January 5, 2023
1) men can buy whatever they want
2) these aren’t tampons https://t.co/fHCuwvPfyx
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) January 4, 2023
That’s incontinence pads and for the record men have always been able to buy tampons – my husband had been buying them for me for years but you carry on with your transphobia my friend https://t.co/UQVa84GfSm
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) January 4, 2023
All joking aside, several users noted the more serious implications of deriding any health product, especially when it might already be a source of embarrassment for those affected.
“Thought you were an advocate for men’s health?” physiotherapist and sports injury analyst Brien Seeney wrote. “It’s a struggle to get men suffering from pelvic floor and prostate issues to not feel self-conscious about using these vital products as it is without you posting this rubbish.”
Thought you were an advocate for men’s health? It’s a struggle to get men suffering from pelvic floor and prostate issues to not feel self conscious about using these vital products as it is without you posting this rubbish
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) January 4, 2023
“It’s an astonishing world we live in,” Russell Bennett, sports desk editor for The Age, responded. “Not only can blokes buy tampons, blokes who have prostate cancer or – in the case of my old man – advanced Parkinson’s and associated dementia, can buy and wear protective underwear like these.”
It’s an astonishing world we live in. Not only can blokes buy tampons, blokes who have prostate cancer or – in the case of my old man – advanced Parkinson’s and associated dementia, can buy and wear protective underwear like these
— Russell Bennett (@rgbennett) January 4, 2023
At the end of the day, what’s important is that even if these were menstruation products marketed towards trans men, that’s not something that would concern Swan (or any other cis man) in any way.