Recently I posted a question on my Instagram story that asked: "What are things that women have to pay for that they shouldn't?" My inbox overflowed with responses from a lot of girls, with most of the responses being tampons, birth control, plan B, and being safe at night time. The costs that women pay for that men never even think about, need to be talked about more. Such costs are invisible to society but deeply felt by the women affected. Not only do we pay outrageous prices to manage our periods, by being female we are exposed to uncomfortable situations on the daily. These financial and social costs that women face are a large part of the reasons why feminism is so important. Our bodies are ours. We should not have to pay to maintain them and we should not have our body rights taken from us.
1. Feminine hygiene products
Did I choose to bleed for a week every month? No. Am I paying an outrageous price to take care of it? Yes. A box of a 36 pack of tampons costs around $7. $7 x 12 months = $84. Most women have their periods from around age 13 to age 60. $84 x 47 years = $3,948. We pay around $4,000 in our lifetime for a natural bodily process. Ok cool.
2. Birth control
Not only do some women have to pay out of pocket for birth control, but they also have to deal with the stresses of birth control. It's not just taking a pill every day and that's that. Women's emotions can be messed with, they may spot irregularly, they might gain weight, and much more. Not to mention that Viagra is free. Mmmm nice.
When I came to college, I was flooded with advice on how to not be safe. Buy pepper spray. Don't walk home alone at night. Pour your own drink at parties. If you walk away from your drink, don't drink it. You get the point. Meanwhile, men aren't flooded with advice on how to protect their female friends or how to watch over their male friends.
Obviously, this is a business and businesses need money for their services. I'm not saying women should receive free Uber rides. I'm saying that women are forced to pay for rides home late at night because it's more unsafe to walk alone. There's also the cost of being kidnapped in an Uber, a cost that women also face which they shouldn't have to.
5. "Taking it as a compliment"
We are told that if men holler at us on the street, make unsolicited sexual comments, or touch us in inappropriate ways, we should "take it as a compliment." Men are not told to cat-call or to keep their hands off of women.
6. Saying no
We can't just say no. Women have been beaten or even murdered for saying no. We sometimes have to make up excuses — "I have a boyfriend," "My friends are leaving soon," etc, in order for a man to leave us alone. Saying no doesn't always work.
7. "She was asking for it"
Women are told what to do to avoid sexual assault, meanwhile, men are not told how to not sexual assault. If we are sexually assaulted, we're told it's our fault. Our skirt was too short, our boobs were showing, we were wearing a thong, we were drinking, we were flirting, we accepted a drink, and so on. It's ridiculous. The ONLY things that proves we were "asking for it" is us saying "Yes."
8. Men's ignorance
If men had their period every month, they would get paid time off of work and tampons would be free. If men were the ones who got pregnant, abortions would be easier to obtain and birth control would be free. The rights of our bodies and the costs we pay should not be determined by men because they don't truly know what we go through. Simple as that.
I'm tired. I'm tired of paying for tampons. I'm tired of watching my back at night. I'm tired of worrying that my outfit will be too slutty. I'm tired of men making decisions about my body. Women deserve more than this.