Women in Argentina had trouble finding tampons earlier this month. While some opted for homemade solutions dating back to the youth of their great grandmothers, others among the 20. 6 million women in the country were not going to let the tampon shortage pass without protest, “For twenty days, we simply couldn’t source any tampons from wholesalers, ” Ariel, a pharmacy owner, told Reuters.
As one can imagine, lewd jokes about tampons appeared on Twitter feeds of Argentinians, but not without the bitter commentary about the state of the country’s economy snugly held in place between the lines of the brief tweets. Since Argentina’s infamous debt default last year, with the country struggling in global credit markets since its $100 billion bond default in 2002, Argentina has to hoard its dollars, and that means drastically reducing imports. There is often marked preference among consumers for items like tissue and tampons from abroad, hence the widespread tampon shortage. What makes matters worse is the government seems to rely on ad hoc strategies and lacks a coherent plan. “The government has no long-term strategy for imports, ” Miguel Ponce, spokesman for the Chamber of Importers told Reuters, “It just deals with each issue as and when it arises.”
Possibly feeling defensive (or perhaps a bit less fresh that week) the government accused opponents of throwing tampons at the government to attack public policy. Commerce Secretary Augusto Costa said, “The press started a run on tampons as part of a campaign to delegitimize the government’s system for managing foreign commerce.” When, of course, they could have brought up issues that are less crude and have more gravitas, like the elderly unable to access life saving medication because of the import bans. No, I don’t think the Argentinian government would have liked that tactic either.