How does one get ahold of menstrual products when it is already hard to procure daily produce? While males are blissfully exempt from having to mull over this conundrum, the question has plagued many women caught in Shanghai’s ongoing lockdown.
According to an article published by The Paper, many women have struggled to acquire sanitary pads or tampons, and, often, their needs are ignored and deemed ‘not that important.’ The article adds that because period products are considered ‘personal products,’ they aren’t included in government supplies.
Video director Liu Yi counts among Shanghai’s frustrated female population. She shares that the problem is a first.
Prior to the lockdown, Liu could simply pick up what she needed off any supermarket shelf. However, she has since discovered the importance of stocking her home with period products.
Residents queue in line for a Covid PCR test at a community testing center in Shanghai
A strange phenomenon born out of quarantine, group buying has proven to be a lifeline for those who aren’t receiving enough government rations. That said, the medium isn’t as effective for non-comestibles.
Period shame, a persistent taboo in China, prevents many women from voicing their needs in WeChat groups.
“It is hard for me to ask, ‘Does anyone want to buy pads?’ in a big group chat with strangers,” shared Liu. “As a woman raised in East Asian culture, I feel uncomfortable.”
Furthermore, those who dare to openly discuss buying pads or tampons with strangers often find that sellers will only ship their wares on a wholesale basis. More often than not, the demand in any one compound simply isn’t sufficient to meet a vendor’s minimum order.
While some food delivery options are currently operating in Shanghai, acquiring other items — such as female sanitary products — has proven more tricky
In mid-April, Liu resorted to placing a large online order. Due to tight movement regulations and a severe lack of delivery drivers, however, her delivery has yet to arrive.
The creative has had to depend on the kindness of her neighbors — a girl in her compound gifted her some pads — and less effective alternatives like toilet paper to get through her cycle.
While browsing delivery apps, Liu has also observed that most convenience stores list condoms among their online wares but leave out period products.
She astutely observes, “If both condoms and period products are considered necessities, why aren’t local convenience stores selling the latter online?”
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All images via Depositphotos
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