Feminine issues generate financial and social burdens
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New York City mayor Bill de Blasio made history this past summer by signing legislation that requires all public schools, shelters, and prisons in New York City to provide free feminine hygiene products.
Considering that no other cities in the America have taken this measure, New York’s progress can seem like a relatively insignificant victory. However, this can be considered a big step forward when considering the financial problems integrated with periods.
According to an investigation done by the Huffington Post, the costs of having a period can add up to over $18,000 in a lifetime when taking into account all of the feminine hygiene products, pain medications, and other supplies.
Additionally, the majority of states in America still tax pads and tampons as a luxury item. This “pink tax” isn’t a tax specifically aimed at pads and tampons, but a regular sales tax included in the price of feminine hygiene products because they aren’t viewed as necessities like food and medicine.
However, many woman have found that they disagree with this classification. “I think feminine hygiene products are a necessity without a doubt. It’s something every woman needs and there really aren’t alternatives,” senior Lauren Zidek said.
Many also believe that New York’s decision is something that should be law throughout the whole country and, ultimately, the whole world. “Pads and tampons should be free because periods are something that approximately half of the world goes through and not everyone in the world has access to these products, let alone the money to purchase them,” senior Kayla Davie said.
Besides the financial aspects, women can also suffer from social consequences. “There’s a general taboo around the concept that personal hygiene should stay personal,” junior Alyson Ceisel said.
Periods have been a stigmatized topic for centuries despite the fact that many other previously avoided topics, like sex and mental health, have become common in modern conversation, many girls still find that they’re uncomfortable discussing the subject with others.
But many girls still find it unreasonable that people are uncomfortable discussing the subject with others. “The stigma against periods is irrational because it is a very natural process,” Davie said.
Despite the strength of the problems associated with periods, the push to end these problems is also gaining traction, especially with the prominence of the women’s rights movement in this modern political climate.