No, Our Tampons And Birth Control Shouldn't Be Free

No, Our Tampons And Birth Control Shouldn't Be Free

Nothing in life is free, not even for us females with needs.
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Birth control and tampons: two necessary items for females all over the world and for various reasons. These two items have also caused a lot of fuss amongst women everywhere, especially now that Donald Trump has taken office. They both also seem to have a common argument. Here are the concerns:

Tampons: many women feel that something so imperative, due to the menstrual cycle, should be free. The argument: if men don’t have to pay for condoms, why should women have to pay for tampons?

Birth Control: many women fear that after the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, they will no longer be able to afford their birth control. The argument: if men don’t have to pay for condoms, why should women have to pay for their birth control?

Here’s the thing, I am a female, so I get it. But I don’t mind paying for these things and I do not believe they should be free by any means. And while I really do understand the concern, there are a few reasons why I do not believe that this should be an issue or problem amongst feminists and that attention should be placed elsewhere.

First of all, money doesn’t grow on trees. So ,who is going to pay for this stuff? Oh, right, us.

As much as we would all love for life to be a free ride, unfortunately it’s not. And when the government makes things “free," that means we must pay for it through taxes. Nothing in life is really free, right ladies? I don’t know about you, but I work very hard to be able to pay for my own tampons and my own birth control. I don’t expect taxes to be taken out of anyone else’s hard-earned paycheck to take care of my lady issues, so why are women expecting that in return? The Equate brand of tampons cost about $5 ($10 dollars for women who may need two boxes per month, still inexpensive). Why are we making an issue about $5-$10 dollars when there are much larger problems that we should be focusing on? Do you really want more taxes taken out of your paychecks so that other women don’t have to spring, at most, $10 per month? I don’t. This goes for birth control as well. While I know that birth control is much more expensive, I also have the same hesitation. I often have to pay for my birth control without insurance coverage, which does cost me about $25 per month. But that’s because birth control is my personal choice and my personal responsibility. While it sounds harsh, I don’t want to pay for someone else’s birth control with my taxes. That’s their own responsibility. While I can understand that certain women need specific types of birth control for various medical needs, there are generic options. Also, not every woman in America uses birth control. So why should we pay for it if not everyone is going to use it? Trust me, ladies, I don’t want insurance companies to have to drop coverage for birth control, either. However, I also don’t want to have to take on the responsibility for paying for anyone’s but my own.

Yes, condoms are free…. sometimes. But this road goes both ways.

Many women claim that it’s unfair to pay for feminine products and birth control if men have access to free condoms. Here’s my rebuttal to this: there are free condoms (male and female) at almost every single health clinic out there. That being said, this form of birth control is technically free for men and women (the generic brands, anyway). Name brands such as Trojan and Durex are actually a tad costly if bought in bulk at about $15 per box. Also, say there was a new development of male oral contraceptives (yes, we all wish), men would have to pay for them as well. Men would not have free birth control either if there were any other form other than condoms. We are lucky that we have the back-up system of oral contraceptives, and just like any type medicine, it’s costly to produce and therefore costly to us. And while I can understand that men don’t have a monthly period that needs to be controlled, they do have other needs that they have to pay to appease. For example, because a man grows hair on his face, does that mean he shouldn’t have to pay for a razor? Do you want tax money taken out of your paycheck so that he doesn’t grow facial hair? Of course not. Necessities are costly. And as much as I wish they weren’t, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Who are we to say that a menstrual cycle and birth control are more important than other bodily and health concerns?

So, consider this: if a period is a natural bodily function that we have to live with, and we feel that tampons should be free because they are necessary to hygiene and health, does that mean we shouldn’t have to pay for toilet paper? Using the restroom is a natural bodily function, right? We all get it. Women have periods and with that comes the need for tampons. But people everywhere have other bodily issues that need tending to, and that doesn’t mean the solutions to those issues are free. This is very much a double standard. Also, on the topic of birth control, who are we to say the need for birth control for women is more important than other types of medication? Yes, some women genuinely need birth control for severe health issues. But people everywhere have other health issues that require medication as well. Diabetes is a health issue, but insulin isn’t free. Shouldn’t this sort of health problem take precedence over birth control? I think so. But, unfortunately these people have to pay for their medication, too. Making birth control free would open a sticky can of worms when there are countless diseases and life threatening illnesses that require expensive medication.

Personally, I think there are other issues that feminists should be tackling that seem to be more important than this one. I get it, we are females and we have unique needs. But we live in a world that revolves around business, unfortunately. And just because we are women doesn’t mean we deserve handouts, nor do we have the right to promote higher taxes to take care of our health and bodily functions for free. Free comes with repercussions, and I have a hard enough time paying for my own. I don’t want to pay for anyone else’s. I also don’t think it’s fair to put our needs before anyone else’s just because we have a period. Everyone has needs that need attention. End of story.

Cover Image Credit: Nubi Magazine

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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