FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Teenage boys with tampons? A Fort Wayne family drew international attention after a post went viral discussing just that.
What started off as a simple suggestion of kindness from a mother to her sons has gotten international attention. While the idea of Tara Ahrens’ teen boys carrying pads and tampons has gotten mixed reactions online, to their family it was no big deal.
Ahrens made a post talking about how she is raising her children with an understanding of what she calls gender taboos, which are gender-specific topics that are typically avoided with the opposite sex, like feminine products and menstruation. She included photos of her two boys, Elijah, 16, and Micah, 15, who went with her while bra shopping for her daughter as well as a second photo where the boys are holding the tampons and pads they keep in their backpacks for female friends in need.
Ahrens said she made the suggestion to the boys while they were shopping for the bras, and later on Elijah and Micah asked her for feminine products they could take to school. For them, it was a small and easy way they could show kindness to their female friends.
“I didn’t really think a second thought about it,” said Micah.
Elijah said that after one friend had a period emergency during class, he requested buying pads as well as tampons for his friends who did not use tampons.
“She didn’t have one of her own products so that’s also why I asked mom for a pad along with the tampons because some girls in my school can’t use tampons because of religious reasons”
The boys said their female friends were receptive to the idea and some have taken them up on the offer. They said they have seen mostly positive responses from people and even when they get negative reactions, they are not bothered by them.
“It wasn’t bad until it went out viral and then it started getting shared around our school and there’s just one group of girls, they started laughing, thinking it was funny,” said Micah. “I didn’t really care because I just had to think like, I’m out to help you guys and you guys are laughing about it so how does that reflect on you?”
Elijah and Micah hope that their story might spark more of a discussion around the subject of period poverty. They believe that if people of both genders talk more openly about the subject of menstruation it will be make everybody more comfortable.
“If it became more normal, it would just be so much easier for people,” said Elijah. “One, for the girls so they aren’t treated like it’s this obscene thing that’s coming out of them, especially if the males also understood how this was going.”
Ahrens and her husband made an appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show as well as an Australian radio station. They have also been contacted by a British publication over the post. She said the goal was to teach her boys empathy, and while her own boys are comfortable enough with themselves to carry feminine hygiene products, it is not for everyone.
“Not everyone has mothers, stable home situations, has access to period supplies,” said Ahrens. “This is a simple kindness, and it’s not right for everyone so know your child. Like all parenting advice, some works for you and some you just disregard.”