Menstruation Without Representation

Leticia Manzo, Reporter

When a girl first gets her period, it indicates the potential of becoming pregnant. Although, having a period isn’t just females bodies letting them know that they are not pregnant. Periods range from three to seven days and sometimes even for more than a week. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms include abdominal/pelvic cramping, lower back pain, bloating, cravings, mood swings, irritability, headaches, and lastly, fatigue. 

1 in 5 women in the U.S. stated to not have been able to afford period products, due to them having a high tax known as the “tampon tax”. This is a popular term used to allude to the fact that feminine hygiene products are not tax-exempt, unlike other products who are regarded as basic necessities. As a result of not being able to afford feminine hygiene products, women substitute tampons and pads with cloths, rags, tissues, toilet paper and sometimes even paper towels from public restrooms. Buying products in bulk at stores can also be a problem due to the cost of transportation. Feminine hygiene products should be changed every four to eight hours daily. That means that females need to have four to six feminine hygiene products at hand and sometimes maybe even more. Even though that doesn’t seem like a lot when multiplied by three to seven days, it all adds up annually. Additionally, government-related programs like WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) do not provide feminine hygiene products. 

If women barely making it by with a salary suffer from being able to afford period products, homeless women have it far worse. In the United States, there is an estimate of 216,000 homeless women and it is not necessary for homeless shelters to give out these products, leaving these women with no access to period products. Being stuck between choosing food or period products, food is always the winner. 

It is evident that women suffer a great deal due to a natural inevitable process of the female anatomy. Having access to period products is a necessity for women, not a luxury. Just how condoms and Viagra are categorized as “medically necessary” and pads, tampons, menstrual cups, and all the other feminine hygiene products should be too. It is vital for all women to have access to feminine hygiene products free of tax and for those that can’t even pay for them like homeless women, these vital medically necessary products should be provided free of cost. Going through a natural process of the female body should not be disregarded as a female issue. If both genders had periods, the tampon tax would be nonexistent.