Does Facebook Really Think Tampons Are Sex Toys?

I'm in an ongoing battle with Facebook's ad department over the definition of a tampon as a health product as opposed to, say, a dildo. I need the help of some bad-ass women and advocates for gender equality to share my story.

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I wrote a post for my blog, Bad-ass Motherblogger, about the history of menstrual products. Here's a link to the post.

But I'm not here to promote my blog. I'm here to tell you what happened when I tried to promote my blog on Facebook.

Whenever I publish a new blog post, I share it on my Facebook page. Then I click "boost post" to pay to advertise the link to the article to a targeted audience. It's part of my marketing strategy and should bring more traffic, and thus more subscribers to my blog.

However, when I clicked "boost post" to promote my post on the history of menstrual products, a few minutes later, I got a message: "You're ad wasn't approved." Facebook rejected my ad because it violates their "Adult Products Policy" (see the above screenshot).

As in, they consider tampons and pads to be sexual devices.

When I appealed the rejection, they informed me that my preview image (an 18th century painting of women bathing) contained "too much skin." and it violated the Nudity Policy.

So I changed the preview image to a historical print of 5th century philosopher Hypatia being dragged through the streets of Alexandria (cuz violence to women is so much less offensive than women bathing).

The ad was rejected again. The reason: "Ads are not allowed to promote the sale or use of adult products or services, including toys, videos, publications, live shows or sexual enhancement products."


I don't know about you, but when I think about using a tampon or a menstrual pad, the last thing I think about is sex.

Women's health shouldn't be a taboo subject. If you agree with me, can you please bring attention to this issue?

Just to give you an idea of how boosting impacts the reach of a post: I have 730 "likes" for my page, yet without an ad, the post has only been seen by 8 people over the past 24 hours.

It scares me that advocates for women's health and gender equality may not be able to share their message with a wider audience because the largest social media platform on the Internet thinks women's health products reside in the same category as sex toys.

If you'd be willing to share the story of my battle through an up vote or a share on your favorite social media platform, I'd be ever so grateful. The suppression of the reach of content about women's health based on an arbitrary "adult product" policy is misguided at best.

Women have had similar problems with Facebook censoring posts featuring breastfeeding mothers, and until enough people took notice, any picture of a breastfeeding mother and child could be deleted due to "nudity."

So I'm asking, not just for me, but for other advocates of women's health: take notice. Women's bodies aren't sexual objects and menstrual products (which many girls in poverty-stricken countries or in cultures that have negative superstitions about menstruation can't get access to) are not sexual devices. Let's take the shame out of women's health so we can address these issues openly and without fear of censorship.


Alaura Weaver

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