Accuracy in Media

Glamour treats us to two pieces of amazingly lazy thinking when discussing the current tampon and menstrual product shortages. The first seems almost trivial, but it’s an indication of a mindset. The shortages are real, yes, supply is not as perfect as anyone would like, and yet, they say, “the war in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions against Russia may also have contributed to the shortage of cotton, because cotton requires so much fertilizer to grow and there are few alternatives to Russian fertilizer.”

Like everyone else in this modern world, we’re a few generations away from the land. But we are pretty sure that cotton is an annual crop and that a 106-day-and-counting war so far won’t have had that much effect on something not even harvested as yet. Plus, if we’re thinking about the normal nitrogen fertilizer then the largest producers are China, the U.S., India, only then Russia – but OK, that requires actually looking something up so perhaps not a suitable point about modern journalism. If we want to get more detailed here, the ingredients in certain fertilizers, then it’s Belarus, not Russia, for one of them and Canada for the other but then details and journalism, details and journalism.

But it’s the other little assumption that really requires comment: “If you want to blame somebody, why not point the finger at our old friend the patriarchy. There has been no major national push to ramp up production of tampons, unlike other medical products. There has been (almost) no national spotlight addressing the problem at all.”

Yes, we know, that capitalist patriarchy is responsible for so much.  Among other things for the very existence of widely available tampons in the first place. Plus, obviously, other menstrual products.

This is an easy thing to test. Near any – and every – American community will have within it one or more women who have immigrated from one of the previously communist states. Immigrated post-menarche that is. Possibly this is one of the things that society should talk about more widely, as many magazines tell us we should these days – you know, period shame and all that. Now have that conversation with a woman who grew up outside the capitalist patriarchy.

For those who haven’t done this the reaction will be, umm, educational.

Glamour is part of the Conde Nast stable, as such it suffers from no failing in funding or access to information. It gains some 10 million visits a month to the website.

What appears to be lacking is the willingness to look for, or understand, the information. A cheap jibe at war, or patriarchy, rather than an actual examination of real supply problems? Isn’t that a justification for modern journalism?




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