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Teen's Viral Tweets Show Why You Shouldn't Mansplain Periods

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Another terrifying (albeit hilarious) reminder of how poorly educated many people are about the female anatomy has surfaced on the Twitterverse this week.

UK-based 19-year-old Ryan Williams has loudly voiced his opinion via Twitter about the outcry to kill the “tampon tax” (the sales tax placed on feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads) and make sanitary products free. He may not have a menstrual cycle, but Williams has made it clear that he’s totally against free tampons because women should be able to “control [their] bladder.”







Looks like someone didn’t pass his middle school sex ed course. Because if he did, he’d know that women don’t just have some single hole between their legs through which things — babies, urine, menstrual blood — pass. And he’d know that, just like when you cut your finger open slicing an onion, there’s absolutely no way to “control” the blood flow (but God, wouldn’t it be nice if there was?).

Since posting the above tweet and others, Williams’ account has bounced back and forth between public and private, and some of the tweets have since been taken down. Taxes and tampons aside, Williams’ blithering has garnered international attention.

More importantly, though, it’s a reminder of the “shush, shush” society that revolves around “women’s issues.” For decades, periods and women’s health have been viewed as taboo. As something to be embarrassed about. As a topic to only discuss behind closed doors without any men present, because — dear God! — don’t let them hear what we’re talking about!

As a woman with endometriosis, a debilitatingly painful female reproductive disease that causes adhesions to form on the organs in the pelvic and abdominal areas, I’m reminded of this every day. Not just because it takes the one-in-10 women suffering from endo an average of six to 10 years to receive a proper diagnosis because most doctors are so uninformed on the subject. And not just because the conventional course of treatment includes drastic and life-altering procedures.

But because, as I’ve said in the past, if men were the ones suffering from a disease that covered their reproductive organs in painful adhesions and cysts while crippling their fertility and sapping their sex lives, I think we’d have figured out a better course of treatment by now. Scratch that — I think we’d have figured out a cure.

Like every woman with endometriosis, support from my male counterparts is critical — and it doesn’t end with the men in my personal support system. We need all men to better understand endometriosis and other women’s health issues. And we need them to join us in raising a rallying cry that demands research dollars, treatment options, and the education of the Ryan Williams of the world.

Follow this journey on Coffee With Kaite.

Originally published: October 19, 2016
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