Abbi & Ilana's Tampon Search On ‘Broad City’ Shows Just How Much Women Have To Deal With
As a woman who recently switched from tampons and pads to a menstrual cup, I would not have been much help to Abbi when she got her period during the Season 3 finale of Broad City while traveling to Israel on an airplane. After she had been forced to check her beloved Drew Barrymore suitcase instead of carrying it on, Abbi got her period and couldn't find a tampon to control that first-day flow. While I would have taken Ilana's outrageously-stained period pants like she had offered, Abbi instead enlisted her BFF in the ultimate treasure hunt during the April 20 season finale — finding a tampon on an airplane. Unfortunately, no amount of Adam Levine singing about airplane safety could help them.
Of course, this being Broad City, the search for a tampon during the "Jews on a Plane" episode was completely ridiculous and led to Abbi and Ilana getting detained by two flight attendants. Portrayed by Tymberlee Hill and Tracee Ellis Ross, the flight attendants went above and beyond the call of duty when they thought Abbi and Ilana's discussion of a blood explosion from her period meant a bomb explosion. However, before then, Abbi and Ilana went around asking all of the passengers for an elusive tampon, while a pack of them was sitting in first class the whole time.
As per usual, the women inserted some spot-on feminist commentary surrounding this search. Ilana considered what it must be like for homeless women when they have their periods, to which Abbi replied, "Tampons should be free. Every woman should have access to tampons — all different sizes." Ilana responded by saying, "And the only reason it's not that way is because the government hates women."
If you're familiar with the "tampon tax," you could simultaneously laugh and cry at Ilana's statement (not to mention she could be referring to some state governments' stances on reproductive rights). The tampon tax is about how menstrual products are considered non-essential items by most state governments and therefore are taxed. Most essential items, like food and prescriptions (a notable inclusion being Viagra, according to NPR), are considered essential and are not taxed. A silver uterine lining of the recent outrage about this is that five states have removed the tampon tax and more are discussing doing the same, according to The Washington Post.
Another taboo topic that the Broad City search for a tampon brought up was the often-avoided menopause discussion. When Abbi asked an older woman for a tampon, she was flattered, but made it clear her menstruating days are over. When Abbi said she often forgets about menopause, the woman said, "Menopause isn't represented in mainstream media, like no one wants to talk about it — " and even Abbi swiftly exited the "uncomfortable" topic.
While Abbi scoffed at the idea of using a light tampon (as a previous light tampon user, it's not about vagina size, Abbi! It's about low flow!), Ilana gathered the essential materials to create a makeshift tampon — a pita, a hair tie, shoelaces, and a yarmulke. When Ilana showed Abbi her solution, Abbi reasonably responded by saying, "I'm not gonna stick a pita up my p*ssy" and the girls were back to square one.
The search for a tampon ended with Abbi and Ilana getting tackled by the flight attendants who thought they were planning an attack, and the pair only touched down in Israel to be interrogated by security. After Ilana admitted to traveling with marijuana on her, the women were shipped back to New York City in the perfect 4/20 twist.
Maybe in Season 4, Abbi will decide to invest in a menstrual cup (it changed my life! especially when I was internationally traveling) or some Thinx underwear. Plus, if Abbi and Ilana invested in those products earlier in their lives, Ilana's genius period pants that enabled her to bring weed on their trip would never exist and then maybe they would have actually made it to Israel.
Images: Comedy Central (5)