Opinion: Feminine products should be free

Graphic novel, only period book in the library at Fargo North.

Graphic novel, only period book in the library at Fargo North.

Let’s talk periods, and I’m not talking about classes in school, no, I’m talking about the struggle every woman goes through each month. I know some people think it’s, quote “gross and inappropriate to talk about”, but talking about the health and struggles of a woman is deeply needed and not at all inappropriate. This is the reason girls don’t feel comfortable about their problems with their health. Everytime they bring up something about their cramps, or if they need a tampon, someone says something like, “Ew, gross don’t talk about that.” As I am a woman myself, I know the ins and outs of the struggles of the everyday life of a woman and how the matter is always hidden or how a girl is told to “stay quiet” about it. I think it’s time to change that.
The biggest struggle of a woman is that feminine health care products aren’t cheap. Why do we as women have to pay to stop ourselves from bleeding out? We didn’t ask for our hormones to go crazy every month, we didn’t ask to be in aggravating pain for weeks on end. But we stay strong because that is life for us. So why aren’t the products that we NEED free?
An article on School Based Health Alliance states, “Period poverty is an issue seen in schools from the lack of menstrual products being provided in girls and gender-neutral bathrooms to how menstrual products are seen as a luxury, not as a necessity.”
First off, feminine products should not be seen as a luxury at all. Having to use them every month for many days on end is anything but luxurious. If you ask any woman they will all agree that it is no luxury to be on your period. So the first thing that needs to change is the glorification of feminine hygiene products. These products should not be categorized as something you need to be lucky to have. Every girl and woman around the world should have the access to feminine products, free and there for them whenever.
Feminine hygiene products need to be free and easily accessible to women everywhere. If an emergency happens, women have to search to find products, and most of the time you have to put money into a machine to get the necessities. Now if you think about it, that’s not right. For one, schools never have the dispensers in the bathroom full, they are always out of order. Us girls either have to ask around to find something, go to the nurse (which the things we get from there aren’t the best), or as a last resort use toilet paper. Plus, some girls cannot afford these products, so what are they supposed to do now? Some girls are forced to only use one tampon or pad a day and that is very dangerous, not changing out a product could lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). As this life threatening disease is rare, it’s still possible. Something as deadly as TSS should never be a possibility.
As I’ve said earlier in this article, these hygiene products aren’t cheap. If you look at it day by day it doesn’t seem bad, a box will cost from $7-$10, that box may last the whole month, but really if you compensate for how many you give away to other girls, that box really won’t last long. If you look at the overall yearly cost that’s a whole different story. It’s said that the average woman spends $13.25 a month on menstrual products, meaning in an average woman’s reproductive lifetime, ages 12- 52, they spend around $6,360. Just think of all the things women could do with all that money. New York Post stated, “60 percent of respondents admitted to budgeting in order to afford sanitary items and 79 percent have made sacrifices or gone with less in order to afford their necessities.” Most women say they would put it into school debt, food for their families, and into their homes.
Just the fact that some women have to choose between buying food for their familys or a box of tampons is not right. Things need to change fast so the generations to come don’t have to have the problem of worrying about their health and money problems.
Now that we know what the problem is, let’s see what we can do to fix it. First off, schools need to make filling the dispensers one of their top priorities, and also to make them free. Nobody is going to carry change around on them to get a tampon or pad. If schools would pay attention to these problems more than what’s going on with the sports teams, like if they need new uniforms or if the field should be redone, we wouldn’t have this problem. Nonetheless womens health is overlooked on a daily basis.
I understand that the reason that these products aren’t free is because companies making them wouldn’t make any profits. People also think that if sanitary products are free in school bathrooms, girls would just take a lot, but they don’t think of how much of a blessing that would be to us women. We would not take it for granted. The government could easily afford to take care of the costs of these sanitary products. If sanitary products were free our lives would be so much easier. Most of us would take one and go, and for the fear that the companies wouldn’t make any money. People don’t understand how much releasing the taxation on feminine products would do. Making these items free and accessible would make women worry less about budgeting money, whether that be for buying food, getting clothes for their children, or paying their bills. This lift would also create an overall better life for their daughters.
Scotland has now passed legislation to make all pads and tampons free for all women. So if Scotland can do it without any problems, why can’t America do the same? I think it’s “that time of the month” for the industry to step it up and change their old ways. Women all over the world are tired of the taxation on the necessities of our everyday life, and it’s about time that changes for the better.

“I have no idea why period books have become the rage in 2020.”-
We have one in the library, Go with the flow, graphic novel, very few in Fargo public district.
-Period books- empowerment -Don’t need to keep it “hush hush” -Part of biology

Sidebar: men have periods too
Period products should be accessible in men’s restrooms as well because trans men who haven’t had bottom surgery could get their period like any woman does.
We should acknowledge that trans people do exist. Providing for them, such as period products in men’s restrooms, would be a big step in the right direction.

School Based Health aliance https://www.sbh4all.org/2020/05/menstrual-products-should-be-free-periodt/

It is said that the average woman spends $13.25 a month on menstrual products, meaning in an average woman’s reproductive lifetime, ages 12-52, they spend $6,360.
If an emergency happens us women have to search to find products, and most of the time you have to put money into a machine to stop yourself from bleeding out. Now if you think about it, that’s not right.
Our school never has the sanitary dispensers full, they are always out of order. Making us girls have to go all the way to the nurse to get a cardboard tampon.
Even if they were full we still have to put a quarter in the machine to get one.
We didn’t ask for this to happen to us, it’s just life, and our bodies.
We should not have to pay to stop something we can’t control.
Feminine hygiene products need to be free and easily accessible everywhere.
Keeping a tampon or pad on/in for a long time can cause toxic shock syndrome, and for the girls who cannot afford menstrual products this is their only option.
In scotland these products are free