Have you ever been in a public restroom and “that time of the month” comes about a week and a half early? So, you go check the little sanitary napkin/ tampon machine only to discover that either there isn’t one or it’s completely empty! Now, you’re forced to organize some sort of drug deal esque drop off, or simply improvise for the day (which absolutely no one wants to do). Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been stranded in a filthy public restroom panicking about what to do all because someone decided it wasn’t that important to stock the tampon machine.
*Photo Courtesy of Vanessa Ramirez on Pexels
How come toilet paper and soap are considered bathroom necessities, but menstrual products aren’t? Imagine going into a public restroom and they are completely out of toilet paper. What if they are always out of toilet paper? What if you are just expected to bring your own toilet paper from home? It would be inhumane. Yes, everyone has their preferred period products and yes, people usually come prepared. However, you can’t always pinpoint when it’s going to happen and we honestly shouldn’t be expected to.
Another issue that comes up in this generation is to not only have period products in women’s bathrooms, but also men’s and gender neutral restrooms. We at Hofstra University need to realize that a tampon is just as important and commonly used as toilet paper or paper towels. With all of the progressive movements being made in the world today for gender rights, you would think this issue would have already been fixed. But, no. It is something that has been skipped over and deemed unimportant most likely, by people who have never had to experience the joys of having a period.
Alexa Osner, Student Services Chair with Hofstra University’s Student Government is currently trying to pass an initiative to make period products available in all of our University’s restrooms. When asked how she feels on this issue, she says, “I think that it’s a matter of necessity, not a luxury…. It’s not like you can just not menstrate….It’s an involuntary biological function in people.” To fix this problem, Alexa is in contact with the program, Aunt Flow. This is a pilot program where they will provide our student government with menstrual products and dispensers for six bathrooms for one semester. If positive results come from this, it should inspire the University to take action. “Ultimately, it would be ideal if the University took it on, but I mean if it has to be in the student government budget for X amount of semesters before they do so, then I, personally, am willing to do that,'' says Alexa. She plans to have her proposal finished by the end of October, starting the Aunt Flow program in the Spring Semester of 2020.
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Not having menstrual products in all restrooms in our University is really something that needs to be addressed. Especially in a college atmosphere, where there is constant stress and affording the necessities is a struggle. Having period products in the bathrooms would be a small, but beneficial thing. Let’s stand up for our rights as women and as humans and do something about getting what we need in our public restrooms!
*Photo Courtesy of Josefin on Unsplash