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Free The Tampon

Shaina Lapuebla, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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Free bleed or plug it up? Most women do not want to constantly spend money replacing blood-stained clothes and underwear, but why should that mean they pay for feminine products instead?

The debate regarding free tampons and pads has been an issue for years, but the media was uncomfortable discussing menstruation until recently. It started making waves after President Donald Trump’s ignorant comment during the 2016 presidential primaries that Fox’s Megyn Kelly had “blood coming from her wherever.” This led to women tweeting the GOP front-runner about their cycles and heightened the free tampon conversation.

Squashing the “Pink Tax” is Not Enough

The United Nations has insisted on growing awareness and ultimately deciphering a solution to this monetary menstruation crisis. They have declared that menstrual hygiene around the globe is deemed a public-health, gender-equality and human rights issue.

The UN understands that feminine hygiene is essential to a women’s quality of life. Scarcity of not having these feminine products in the public when the unexpected strikes drives women to use a wad of toilet paper or, if they are lucky enough, enter a bathroom that supplies one for 25 cents. Inadequate access to this fundamental commodity could render women with UTIs, infection or cervical cancer.

In 2015, Canada discredited the need for a taxation on feminine hygiene products. Pink Tax, a species of the Tampon Tax, revolves around governmental taxation of menstrual products.

This sentiment has inspired waves of global activism and innovation has reached across the pond where “axe the tax” protestors pressured governments in the United Kingdom and Australia to do the same.

The Pink Tax is a gender discriminating policy on an item that is warranted to sustain a happy and healthy life for women. Menzies is being exploited for a profit that do not benefit the female consumer. All the taxation does is cripple women during their red wedding.

Progressive states are starting to be friendly towards the cost of a women’s monthly friend, but the demand for affordable feminine products deserves more respect than tax-less commodities.

As of 2014, 14 states have exempted sales tax on feminine products but five of those had no sales tax to begin with. On the contrary, some states ignore the demand for feminine products, but do not tax an odd variety of items such as M&Ms, lattes and even yachts and luxury jets.

Contemporary Society Hates Blood

Remember in 2015 when photographer and author Rupi Kaur posted a fully-clothed woman lying in bed with a period stain on Instagram and it was removed twice? The social media site deemed the photo as not “following [their] community guidelines.”

Most readers, who have seen that photo probably just shuddered and said, ‘Ew.’ But why?

Periods are just as natural as sex, giving birth, eating and breathing. There is no rational reason for it to be considered taboo or revolting.

Diving deep into the guidelines show they only prohibit sexual acts, violence and nudity, which obviously does not include all the half-naked ‘models’ splattered on IG but apparently eliminates periods.

Odd, in my opinion, considering the normality of sexualizing women in the media. Periods illustrate the fortitude of women and should be valued rather than dismissed.

Breakdown of Period Price

Pain accompanies the blood in nearly every case, at a variety of severity. Women who suffer each month pay for more than just tampons, pads and panty liners.

The Huffington Post broke down all the financial casualties of shark week. Assuming prices do not fluctuate in upcoming years, women will burn $18,171 in their menstrual lifetime on heating pads, acne medication, panty liners, chocolate, pain relievers, tampons, new underwear and birth control.

Having a period is a hefty cost that half the population will never pay, excluding regular doctor exams and keeping one’s reproductive health in check.

The average woman will spend 6.25 years of her life enduring a flowing Red Sea.

A women’s voyage is riddled with catastrophic waves and devastating differences in annual salaries.

BYOTampon Society

Have you ever had to bring your own toilet paper or soap everywhere you went? Probably not.

Societal sanitation encourages people to wipe their bottoms, but that expectation does not extend to the average six to eight teaspoons of blood women leak every month.

“Tampons and pads should be treated just like toilet paper. They serve the same purpose — items to tend to our everyday, normal bodily functions,” Nancy Kramer, the woman behind “Free the Tampons” campaign, stated. Kramer started up in Ohio to include free tampons and pads in all public restrooms.

It would cost approximately $4.67 per female student, customer or employee to provide free feminine products each year, according to Kramer’s research. This is cheaper than one designer cup of coffee, so there should be no negligence in providing this staple item.

Modern Menstruations

Females begin suffering from menstruation, on average, between the ages of 10 to 15 years old. In their lifetime, they will live through approximately 500 periods, each lasting three to seven days. The typical cycle is roughly 21 to 35 days long.

Menstruation at its basic level is mere biology and the human body has gone through serious anatomical changes. Before the Industrial Revolution, women would only be visited by Aunt Flo 50 times in her lifetime juxtaposed to the of women today.

Cut The Cost 

Free feminine products dispensed in public bathrooms and distributed in grocery and convenience stores are a basic human right to ensure the sanctity of a women’s well being. Off-brand tampons and pads should be accessible to the public and if manufacturers want to produce luxury products then that is their prerogative. No cost menstrual items should also be subject to the same scrutiny as the profitable products today.

Women will never stop experiencing menstruation and it is unjust to suppress their privilege of living a happy life. Making half the population choose expelling blood all over them or paying for expensive feminine products are not the only two options out there. It is time the standard of living for women improves.

About the Writer
Shaina Lapuebla, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Shaina Lapuebla can be reached at slapuebla@centralrecorder.org.

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Free The Tampon