There is a change.org petition for Peter Dutton, Minister For Singlehandedly Deciding Whether Or Not Refugees Who Have Been Raped Can Access Abortion And Counselling Services, to provide menstrual cups to refugees.
Liz has some opinions. (Later, Steph will have some opinions)
Steph says: LIZ IS TOTALLY CORRECT.
(Liz wishes to acknowledge that much of her knowledge in the above tweets came from listening to Stephanie.)
And also if you ever want to guarantee a rant from Stephanie, declare that menstrual cups/tampons should be unanimously provided to refugees without talking about other alternatives. A number of cultures across the world (Steph’s amongst them) don’t do tampons and other inserty menstrual products. I am pretty sure this isn’t totally misogyny, it’s just how we feel about our bits, and how we’re used to dealing with them! We haven’t been restricted from purchasing them, they’re for sale across the world – we just don’t want them!
Actually it is probably a little bit about misogyny, but forcing women to use tampons isn’t the way to deal with that; first, body education. Then other steps.
In between ranting about this yesterday, I did some thinking myself, because I have, in the past, been rather snarky about the existence of and perceived need for tampons with applicators. And I was properly schooled about that: even though applicators developed out of the fear women would derive sexual pleasure from digital insertion, many women find they’re the best option for them.
Every culture has a lot of problematic cultural baggage around menstruation, including “enlightened” white western feminism, but feminism shouldn’t be about mandating change. Too often, advocates for menstrual cups seem to be saying, “As feminists, we will decide what goes into your vagina and the circumstances in which it is inserted.” I shouldn’t have to point out how inappropriate this attitude is.
Back to Steph:
Forcing European/Western standards upon women in need is a different kind of terrible! Sure, it’s not like Peter Dutton, who thinks Abyan lied about being raped and needing an abortion. It’s not that kind of terrible. But it’s still a kind of terrible!
In terms of stripping women of bodily autonomy and privacy, they’re definitely on a spectrum. Abyan is a regrettably extreme example, but I think this petition highlights the extent to which even well-intentioned Australian feminists lack empathy for refugees.
I desperately wish this wasn’t an image, Kon, but:
In other immigration business: Quadriplegic New Zealander reportedly deported by Australia
Definitely boundless plains to share. FOR SURE.