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Store clerk refused to sell woman tampons because they're 'gross'

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

Man refused to sell a woman tampons: Sexism or stupidity?

Now as a woman, I fully admit that getting your period can be gross on occasion. Not only because of what leaks out of you, but because it can make you feel like a bloated, nauseated, oily, cranky monster. So imagine not only having to deal with all of that, but someone's absurd judgment of a product you need just to make it through the week. If it were me, that guy probably would've ended up in the hospital.

I'm talking about one poor woman's experience in an Iowa gas station where she and her band were making a pit stop on a cross-country tour. Mary Epworth, a British singer/songwriter who is featured on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, was just trying to buy tampons as it was her time of the month. This is not normally a fun errand for anyone, but Epworth faced something I've only ever had nightmares about — the clerk refused to sell them to her.

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If you're a woman, you probably just went from zero to furious trying to rationalize how someone could do that. If nothing else, the guy was seriously jeopardizing his safety by denying a woman such a vital thing in her volatile emotional state (as I said above, I would've gone postal on him). Epworth certainly stood her ground, but did it in a much more mature way — she argued logic, and when that didn't work, she tweeted the entire ordeal.

The clerk in question was a guy in his early twenties. After she got over the initial shock of being refused such a basic, fundamental item, she tried to reason with him. However, all she received in return was an equally illogical retort.

I mean, really?? Did the store accidentally hire a 7-year-old kid with no manners? But that's not even the worst part. He brought over a middle-aged woman to check Epworth out because apparently the sheer grossness of tampons made him incapable of doing his job. And oddly enough, she acted like his crazy behavior happens regularly.

Epworth told the Daily Dot, "She looked me in the eye like she knew it was ridiculous." So not only did this store hire this guy who simply can't contain his disgust of what women have to go through every month, the staff just turns a blind eye to his behavior. If this same thing happened in New York, he probably would've been fired on the spot. But I suppose there's less incentive to keep employees' morals in check out in rural Iowa.

More: Women discuss their first period and it's anything but gross (VIDEO)

A colleague of Epworth's, and co-writer of Welcome to Night Vale, attempted to school the kid in basic women's rights man-to-man, but wound up facing the same irrational answers.

It's difficult to pinpoint where all this guy's abhorrence is coming from, but odds are it has something to do with how he was raised and his lack of education about the opposite sex. There have been a number of stories that have arisen in recent months about appallingly backwards sex ed classes in schools, and more often than not, schools refusing to offer any education of the kind. Thus it's hard to blame this kid outright for his lack of understanding. However, no woman should have to go through what Epworth did just to procure a feminine hygiene product.

More: Ontario modernizes their sex-ed policy for the first time since the '90s

I suppose it's just one more thing women have to blame the government for, although this time, they're messing with us at the worst possible time. I, for one, would love to see a period march on Washington because no one would want to stand in the way of thousands of women in that state. Epworth began the fight by giving the offending clerk the finger before walking out the door. Hey, sometimes you have to fight immature behavior with immature hand signals, am I right?

Man refused to sell a woman tampons: Sexism or stupidity?

Image: Giphy

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