I worked for the Washington Post as a writer for almost 7 years. During my time there I always felt like I was able to express myself and publish my opinions. This all changed when I was called into my boss’s office and put onto probation for starting the now infamous #MailUsedTamponsToMikePence campaign. Now I wouldn’t expect my cis-gendered straight while male boss to understand this campaign, but I had at least expected him to back me up when some of the executives got upset.
Apparently some of my supposed friends and colleagues had complained that I was mailing used feminine products to the Vice President in the office. If me exercising my right to protest bothers my coworkers then they can email me directly. Apparently most complaints were about me walking around with a collection bucket asking others for their used tampons. Whether it was a hygiene concern or just blatant misogyny we may never know. What I do know however, is that being placed on probation for expressing my right to protest is a breach on my rights as a woman. I appealed to HR and they upheld the initial decision. It was clear that this decision was biased. Cathy Rollins from HR was particularly upset with my campaign because she saw me fishing her used pad out of the bathroom trash bin. The part of decision that was most devastating was the fact that my campaign was canceled. I was no longer allowed to promote #MailUsedTamponsToMikePence through the Washington Post.
Now the real trouble began when I tried to apologize for this incident. I realized that I may have invaded some of my coworkers privacy and maybe made them feel uncomfortable. I wanted to do something nice so we could put this little misunderstanding behind us. I took some of the leftover used feminine products and made ice pops with them. I placed them in the office freezer and sent out an office-wide email saying I made frozen treats for everyone. The reaction was not what I had expected. People were quite upset that I had let them eat this delicious and healthy feminine treat. I was shocked how anyone could be so anti-women. This was blatant misogyny and honestly I was surprised to experience it in what I thought was such a progress environment.
My boss told me I was fired, effective immediately. This was devastating news and after a 2 month mental breakdown I’m finally ready to resume writing. I’m very happy to resume my writing career with Speaking in Unison
-Elizabeth Bouchard she/her/hers