Recently, over 4,000 people signed a petition asking the University of Florida to provide free period products on campus. Both men and women were behind this movement, however, the Student Government Budget and Appropriations Committee shut down the proposal before it could move to the Senate. This comes after other college campuses have implemented similar programs, including Florida State University.
One of the reasons they denied the motion was that it would only benefit the female half of the population, but this is just not true. Everyone benefits from a campus that cares about its ladies. Women are not given a choice over this issue. Tampons and pads are not a luxury but a NECESSITY. It is an issue that only effects women, so it makes sense that they would be the main benefactors. Free condoms are provided at different locations on campus, and having sex is a choice. Don’t get me wrong, free condoms greatly decrease the rates of STDs so I have no problem with the campus providing him, but if the campus is going to cater to a choice, the Student Government should not have a problem considering the idea of catering to a need.
I’m just plain frustrated. Why are our needs in question? Why do we have to validate our needs? Why is it culturally acceptable for condoms to be placed all over campus, but not pads and tampons? Why are periods so overly stigmatized when it is not a choice, and products are not a luxury? Why have women been told their bodies were gross? Why are periods considered shameful? Why has my mother told me not to talk about with periods with boys as if it is a part of me that I need to hide away because I am dirty? Why do I feel awkward buying period products? Why do I have to pay a ridiculous amount for these products? Why has America failed to educate our boys on how periods are normal, uncontrollable and unpleasant? Why do I still have to ask all of these questions in 2018?
The University of Florida needs to find a solution. Providing free tampons and pads on campus will help reduce the stigma around periods. We need to teach our boys and men that periods are just a normal bodily function. No, they are not gross, and women should not have to feel ashamed of their bodies.