Bloody Hell: Argentina’s Import Controls Cause Tampon Shortage

By Bianca Fernet

Ever heard the old cliché, “happy wife, happy life”?

As one of the sole business ladies in the fields in which I work, I hear this expression frequently when colleagues or clients find themselves doing something they find ridiculous to satisfy the seemingly baffling and incomprehensible desires of their wives and/or girlfriends. And try as I may, I cannot seem to get it through their dense male skulls that she doesn’t only want you to take her to the new restaurant she can’t shut up about – she wants you to want to take her there, and not have to ask/nag/beg for weeks first.

Men and women are fundamentally different, both physiologically and psychologically.  And while feminism and technology  have made great strides in forcing society to accept physiological lady realities as no longer shameful and disgusting, there are still a number of very normal lady things that Polite People simply do not discuss. Although it is considered fine to slap photos of skinny, naked, pouting girls on just about everything.

In order for our species to continue, women’s bodies serve as more than just shiny silicon-engorged playthings for Tinelli to trot around at the beginning of an episode of ShowMatch. They also make babies, and in order to do so they menstruate once a month. Periods. Gross, right? I know.

Women’s issues, especially those involving shameful and disgusting taboo subjects like monthly bleeding from even more shameful places, are not treated like they directly affect the personal wellbeing of over fifty percent of the population. Argentina’s tight border controls prevent imported goods from entering the country. And while national newspapers are quick to report how electronics, air conditioners, and manufactured goods are in short supply, no one is talking about how since August women haven’t been able to dependably purchase tampons at the drugstore.

Germán Daniele, president of the Cordoba College of Pharmacists, confirmed that since August there have been supply shortages of supply of tampons. To add insult to injury, these supply shortages have also nixed the variety of sizes we picky women love so much, and the only tampons available are the biggest ones.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s protectionist brand of Peronism may be protecting Argentina from foreign vultures, but by cutting off access to any brand of tampons it is not protecting female comfort or clothing.

In Argentina, imported goods are scarce and more expensive than in other places because the government restricts and places costly tariffs on their entry. While the official explanation for these restrictions is that they protect national producers from unfair international competition, the reality is that every time a product or good enters Argentina, the Central Bank has to fork over precious dollars to pay. Furthermore, these import and export restrictions affect inputs as well as final products, so even local manufacturers are unable to bring consumer-ready alternatives to market.

And while you may think this is a women’s only issue, I assure you that it is not. Happy wife, happy life, remember? So when the significant lady in your life starts acting like a scene from the movie Carrie once a month, do not ask her what’s wrong. Sit her down on the white couch and show her the most recent instance of Cristina’s state of the nation address, Cadena Nacional, to remind her to make the necessary sacrifices for the good of the Patria, even if it gets messy. And take her to dinner without her having to ask first. By Bianca Fernet

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  7 comments for “Bloody Hell: Argentina’s Import Controls Cause Tampon Shortage

  1. Michael Gorback says:

    Hilarious title.

    I thought the IMF said capital controls (they use the euphemism “capital flow management”) are OK under certain circumstances. Their change in view was lauded around the world as a welcome step toward flexibility and pragmatism, instead of what it really is: a huge increase in hubris and the delusion that they fully understand the ramifications of any given intervention.

    With Argentina we see how bad decisions beget worse decisions in a positive feedback loop, which is always unstable.

    The Fed’s actions in recent years demonstrate quite well that as powerful as it is, it can control only one or two variables at a time and the rest of the variables do as they damn well please.

    I must take issue with the notion that menstruation is a taboo topic. The media are crammed with ads related to the female reproductive system. I have learned from this media exposure that female genitals are very busy places that require tremendous upkeep and are rinsed, sprayed, stuffed with absorbents, pierced, shaved, waxed, and altered by plastic surgery. It’s a wonder we still have time for their primary purpose.

    And are tampons really that big of a deal? Aren’t they just for keeping the inside of the vagina warm? Can’t you use a small sock?

  2. Bianca Fernet says:

    Hi Michael!

    Taboo in Argentina. Also taboo to talk about in polite company or without euphemisms, even though it’s ok to show topless women on primetime television.

    You might be onto something selling tiny socks though. Cute sells. Thanks for reading!

    • Michael Gorback says:

      I just went to This article is MUCH better with the accompanying visuals. Love that “ammo belt”. In between periods it could be used for spare shells while dove hunting. Did you make it yourself?

      I did a search for alternatives. There are a lot of ideas out there, many involving toilet paper so forget that in Venezuela. Someone mentioned socks. I also found the Diva cup and wish I hadn’t. I stopped right there so you’re on your own now.

  3. julian the Apostate says:

    in Bianca’s defense i believe the South American tradition of machismo is still very much in effect. while not as extreme as the Islamofascist variety she mentions that she is one of the few women active in ‘the Patria’, derived directly from the Latin concept of pater familias, or the patriarch in English.
    i have spent a lifetime studying women and their ways, and while no man is truly an expert i have come a long way from my father’s dictum that ‘women are a strange tribe.’ well we are a strange tribe to them. i read a book once by a ‘drag king’ who passed as a man for awhile trying to give concrete examples to prove the feminists correct. while unable to do so she made many interesting observations about how hard it was to function as a man without her traditional female emotional channels. the most hilarious (to me) part was when she tried to date as a man and ran into that stone wall of rejection every man takes for granted.
    she joined a bowling team with blue collar working men and describes a night when one of the men bowled a perfect 300 game. to her astonishment the men on all the other teams cheered him on and gave him a back slapping mass congratulation when he nailed it. had the same thing happened in a group of women she said they would be trying to sabotage her and drag her back down into the mediocrity of the group.
    i loved the humor of the piece and her ability to take some of the seriousness of the overarching theme down a notch while still making her point. and in my ‘women’s studies’ i learned the two words to fulfill happy wife, happy life–‘yes, dear’

  4. Julian the Apostate says:

    Good morning Tom. The name of the book I was referring to is “Self-made Man” by Norah Vincent. Hope this helps. B-)

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