How Trump Accidentally Fueled a Feminist Movement on Social Media

The mogul turned politician’s comments drew outrage and then inspired Internet activism.

(Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Tampax/Facebook)

Aug 11, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter.

Amber Gordon was lying in bed with menstrual cramps on Saturday morning when she came across the Trump quote that drew outrage around the country. Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, he said, had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” While Trump has since denied that the comment had anything to do with menstruation, Gordon, like many others, saw it as a clear attack on Kelly’s gender, intended to shame her for her human biology.

The 25-year-old founder of the feminist website Femsplain took to Twitter, as she often does, to voice her frustration. This time she had a revelation. Writing about her period in such a public forum and directing it at a politician felt freeing, empowering, and taboo-shattering. “I was like, ‘Wow, this feels really good to tell Donald Trump I’m on my period. I wish more people would do this,’ ” she told TakePart.
The former Web developer bought the domain name and whipped up a basic HTML website as a means of encouraging people to tweet to Trump about their period. The website, which boasts a glittery red logo, offers templated tweets for people who are on their period, people who are expecting to get their period, and people who don’t get a period but still want to support the cause. Days later, Gordon’s own menstrual cycle may have ended, but the heavy flow of period tweets shows no sign of slowing down.

“The whole purpose of the page is to be super inclusive and let anyone participate, because I’m really pro people, not gendering periods,” Gordon said, suggesting that periods aren’t just a women’s issue. As the project has evolved, she’s begun soliciting stories from people who have received insulting comments like “You must be on your period” to show that these kinds of stereotypes are far more common than Trump might let on.

The Republican presidential candidate did some damage control over the weekend after coming under fire for his remarks about Kelly at the Republican primary debate. “I’m very much into the whole thing of helping people and helping women. Women’s health issues are such a big thing to me,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation. The comment raised eyebrows coming from a man who recently characterized breast-feeding as “disgusting” and referred to Planned Parenthood as an “abortion factory.”

But Gordon sees a silver lining in Trump’s polarizing remarks. “He sparked this whole thing, which is hilarious, and I want to thank him for letting us have a conversation about periods on social media,” she said. She hopes Trump and Kelly are just the starting point for a broader discussion about the social stigmas associated with menstruation. “I’m really hoping that it can transcend him and that people can use this hashtag to reconnect. With any issue, the more we talk about it, the less awkward people will feel [in] public about it.”