Julie Chen is a junior at Emory College, and the vice-president of finance for the school’s college council. She is also determined to be a latter-day Rosa Parks. A year ago, only a sophomore, she started a drive to help students get access to free tampons on campus. She circulated a petition to gauge interest in her nascent civil-rights campaign. Within a week, it had garnered over 900 positive responses. Prodded by the power of populism, Emory altered its tampon dispensers at three campus locations: an academic building, the library, and, of course, a dining hall. These three machines will now spit out tampons gratis. If they get enough use, the program would likely become a permanent, campus-wide initiative.
Chen says she’s heard many positive responses and added: “One girl left a comment that said, ‘If men had a need for tampons, they’d be falling out of the sky.’”
I don’t see Gold Bond powder raining down from the heavens, ladies.
I have written about this topic twice in the recent past. (11/30/2016, 9/25/2016). Emory students are not alone in their valiant struggle to get other people to pay for their personal hygiene products. Co-eds at colleges across the Fruited Plain are demanding free menstrual products. The issue is sweeping the nation.
We are in the midst of a Menstrual Spring.
According to (Deep?) Inside Higher Ed, the University of Arizona, Columbia University, Reed College, and the University of Minnesota are among the rapidly growing list of institutions of higher learning that have launched similar programs.
Said Erin Deal, the infrastructure committee director at the University of Minnesota Student Association: “They’re a necessity. They’re a sanitation item. Every female has a period in some form.” Period!
Toilet paper and the aforementioned Gold Bond products are sanitation items, too, but I pay for my own, Ms. Deal. Period.
The city of New York passed legislation in July to provide free menstrual products in all public schools, shelters and correctional facilities. Why stop there? Why not libraries, DMVs, city halls, bus stops and subway stations?
Those plucky freedom fighters on the front lines of the battle to Free the Tampon stand bloody, but unbowed, before the reactionary forces of male-dom. Chris Bobel, president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR), believes we do ‘menstruators’ a great disservice by not paying “adequate and non-normalized, non-panicked attention to it.”
He further believes that schools and colleges must also have a “menstrual discourse” that openly talks about periods in order to remove the stigma. Should we do the same with men’s erections?
Ms. Chen says that Emory’s program has already started a conversation on menstrual health. “Talking to other people, it’s taught me that it’s important for equality purposes. It’s a good step in the right direction of equality and prioritizing women’s health.” Prioritizing equality over…? Sounds oxymoronic.
Getting others to pay for your personal hygiene products? Moronic.
As the Brits might say: “Bloody Hell!”