Saturday Night Live’s final sketch of 2023 is trending — and it is every bit as absurd as it sounds. The sketch features a group of women working on, of all things, a “tampon farm." They strum guitars, don baggy overalls, sing, and bask in the sepia-toned world of the tampon farm…and they harvest tampons, which grow on trees while doing so.

Yes, it’s ridiculous. And hilarious, even though it’s kind of hard to articulate why it’s so funny. There’s just something about the image of stars like Kate McKinnon, Billie Eilish, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, and Paula Pell channeling a crunchy, folksy girl group with a hint of ‘90s grunge all while lovingly gathering tampons from treetops and the ground, where they sprout like cauliflower.

woman holding a tampon

Then there are the lyrics of the song, which include gems like “She’s wearing a bandana, she’s eating a banana, her clothes are made of burlap, her horse’s name is Hannah." There are also lyrics that illustrate the whole sketch’s premise: “Tampon farm,” McKinnon croons. “The women making cotton, cotton for the tampons, tampons for the blood. Tampon farm, women with guitars are singing to the tampons, tampon farm.”

Again, it’s ridiculous — the imagery, the lyrics, the whole premise of this folksy, women-run tampon farm, where the women seem to spend more time gazing romantically at said tampons (and each other) than with harvesting. 

SNL's "Tampon Farm": The hilarious social commentary we didn't know we needed 

But it’s more than just a funny sketch — because let’s face it, most ads for menstrual products are also just straight-up ridiculous. We’ve all seen the commercials that feature women skipping around while wearing white or giggling while rolling around in bed or grinning to themselves while practicing yoga — completely absurd depictions of what your period really looks like. Where’s the heating pad and over-the-counter pain relief?

Ads for period products (whether tampons, pads, or menstrual cups), hardly ever lean into the realities of what periods look like. The cramps, the moodiness, and the wild cravings are nowhere to be found. Instead, they put this weirdly whimsical spin on the experience. That’s why watching “Tampon Farm” doesn’t just feel like the typical funny sketch Saturday Night Live is known for creating — it kind of feels like a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the weirdness and absurdity of real-life ads for menstrual products.

There’s another potential layer of social commentary here. Tampons decidedly do not grow on trees in real life — instead, they’re affected by “the pink tax," a term that refers to the markup typically slapped onto goods created for women. As always, our system does very little to make life easier for women, many of whom have to scramble to afford menstrual products. Period poverty is a real thing: We’ve all heard that girls and women globally struggle to access menstrual products, sometimes opting instead to make their own products. We think of this as an issue that only exists in under-resourced countries, but it’s crucial that we open our eyes to the idea that many women right here in the United States struggle to access period products. 

Whether intentionally or not, this sketch makes a point that’s probably crossed our minds many, many times: Women would be in a better position, and the women’s health industry would function very differently — if we were the ones calling the shots. Maybe if women were the ones harvesting the tampons we could, figuratively speaking, find a way for them to grow on trees.

But this sketch does bring us back to reality: Because women don’t run the show. We don’t call the shots. And as a result, we don’t get served in a way that works for us. Case in point: Towards the end of the sketch, a man comes along and takes in the scene…and then it’s revealed that the tampon farm gets condemned.

Be the expert in you.

Take the Quiz

woman choosing between tampons and pads

And yes, the video is funny and clever and ridiculously catchy (the melody of “Tampon Farm” is about to live rent-free in your head for days), but it also seems to send a message about the way women’s health is treated in our society. The women of “Tampon Farm” seem pretty zen, after all, living in their feminist utopia. And affordable, accessible menstrual products? That’s a thing women would definitely find a way to make happen…that is, until the men get involved and shut down the operation. 

To this point, one person tweeted: “I’d give a million dollars to hear a room full of men try to understand the many nuances of tampon farm #snl.” 

And one other person commented on YouTube: “I would love to live on a tampon farm. No men, just earthy women singing. And you know they’re all synced up.”

Zara Hanawalt is a freelance journalist and mom of twins. She's written for outlets like Parents, MarieClaire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Motherly, and many others. In her (admittedly limited!) free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, trying new restaurants, and traveling with her family.