While millions of Lebanese people struggle to afford their basic needs amid a severely collapsing economy, an online spat has shed light on a rarely discussed basic need often ignored; that is feminine sanitary products.
البرايفيت الجيدة بسعر 38 ألف و700 ل.ل. وما بعرف إذا حيوقف سعرها لحد هون.— Mariam Majdoline Lahham | مريم مجدولين اللحام (@Majdolineblog) June 29, 2021
البرايفيت لشركة سانيتا / محلية الصُّنع وتحديداً لنعمت افرام اللي طارح نفسه تغييري ثورجي بعد ما تحالف سابقا مع جبران باسيل.
اي وهيك منخبركم عن حال النساء في #لبنان مع الضريبة الزهرية والتمييز المؤسساتي!!! pic.twitter.com/QyAz5cbCgU
Translation: "The good quality Private now costs 38,700 LL and it might get even more expensive. Private is owned by the locally-made Sanita business which is owned by the politician Ne'mat Avram who claims to have a reforming revolutionary program years after he supported Gebran Bassil. This is how women live in Lebanon amid institutional discrimination and the pink tax."
The crisis that broke in the fall of 2019 has been rapidly deteriorating especially as the pandemic-hit world refrain from offering help that could support the Lebanese slumping economy. For the last several months, Lebanese social media users have been reporting acute shortages of basic items, including ones that are still subsidized by the government, such as milk, fuel, and crucial medicines.
However, a tweet by a Lebanese woman in which she highlighted soaring prices of locally-made sanitary products needed by women has triggered a notable conversation on online platforms, especially after a response by a male commentator shamed Lebanese women, saying that "they are busy with prices of sanitary products at a time the country is suffering shortages of medicines, fuel, and other things."
ادوية السرطان مفقودة وادوية الامراض المزمنة مقطوعة ولا كهربا ولا مي ولا مولدات ولا بنزين ولا اشغال وانتي مشغول بالك على سعر البرايفت ٣٩ ألف ؟ انو ليش ؟— Robert Khayat - رويير الخيّاط (@RKhayat4) June 29, 2021
Translation: "We are experiencing shortages of cancer medicines and other chronic diseases meds, electricity, water, generators, fuel, and jobs. Why are you preoccupied with the price of Private hitting 39,000 LL?"
In 2021 women are invited to "grow a dick" and stop having their period because pads are a luxury and we can't nag about their price. Noted. https://t.co/wPz04dcQLq— Rita (@RitaKaddoum94) June 30, 2021
In response to his comments, dozens of Lebanese women highlighted the fact that sanitary products are just as critical as other basic needs mentioned in the former tweet, and that men, who do not experience monthly periods need to understand that such products not only need to be affordable but also free for all women."
@ uterus please don't bleed again idk hold it in its not that hard because Robert here says its a choice and there are much important things to deal with rn msh wa2tik w hek mnerteh mn l cramps 😘 https://t.co/g3NxuC2Z8C— reem (@icennsugardust) June 30, 2021
Women bleed 🩸 after giving birth, they bleed 🩸 if they had an operation in the area & most have their period so they bleed 🩸 monthly too. But we can't have opinion about the insane increase prices of the pads besides other issues? Just wow. He just cancelled period poverty! https://t.co/vKI3Mbv4vu— Rita Kamel, Employment Consultant (@ritakml) June 30, 2021
This is not the first time such conversations take place in Lebanon post the economic crisis. Last September, strong backlash was targeted at the government's decision to subsidize over 300 essential items. Yet, the list announced by officials included men's razors but not women's pads.
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