Feminine products disregarded by Wilson

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Feminine products disregarded by Wilson

Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post

Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post

Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post

Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post

Sophie Gross

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One day I found myself sitting in the Nurse’s office waiting for my friend and I turned my head and saw a bowl full of condoms. There were about 20, and I internally congratulated the school for promoting safe sex. I sat there for another 5 or so minutes still thinking about those condoms, how easily accessible they are to students, how helpful the school is being, and how many different types there are.

But I also began to ponder on the fact that the school doesn’t give out free feminine products, products that about half of the school uses monthly. These products are necessary for something that we cannot control. Yet the school and every store that sells tampons and pads consider them a luxury, which makes it even more of an inconvenience. Obtaining a condom here at Wilson is so easy, all you have to do is walk into the nurses office and grab some from the bowl. That’s easy enough, especially considering that one can control when and where they have sex. However, menstruation is not a pick and choose kind of situation. It just happens, whether you like it or not. Shouldn’t that lead the school to give us access to tampons and pads in the bathrooms where we need them? I guess not.

To get access of a feminine product at Wilson, you have to go down to the Nurse’s office, wait for her to be done talking to anyone else or get back from lunch, and then ask for a pad. That could take over ten minutes of waiting time, allowing girls to further bleed through the clothes they’re wearing and add further discomfort.

According to the school nurse, Ms. Echeona, the school cannot give out tampons due to the fact that they could cause an infection or toxic shock syndrome. As a result, female students are forced to come down and specifically ask in order to receive pads. That process can be embarrassing and demeaning to some girls. So many girls try to hide the fact that they need to change their pad or tampon that they stick them in their pockets or up their sleeves to try and conceal the products. On top of this, the school has to order the pads since they are not given to Wilson by the DOH. (Department of health)

However, unlike the pads, the DOH gives Wilson the Lifestyle condoms for free! That is sexist and outrageous. Feminine products are so expensive that a woman will end up having to spend about $1,700 on tampons alone. Women also have to buy pads, pantyliners, new underwear when you bleed through, painkillers, and heating pads. Like most broke teenagers, I cannot afford to buy so many products month after month.

High school is pressure enough. Having to remember when your period is coming, if you have pads or tampons or a diva cup, if you have an extra pair of underwear, or if you can get a tampon/pad from a friend just adds so much stress, during a time when stress makes your pain so much worse. The school is hardly helping us when we need it most, they leave every single ounce of responsibility about or periods to us. In the past four or so weeks of school, I have had at least 20 girls ask if I had a pad or a tampon that they could use. Imagine how many fewer girls would have to ask if the school provided pads in our bathrooms where they are easily accessible and you don’t have to be embarrassed about getting one. Yet the only way we could have pads in the bathroom is if we have to pay for them ourselves! If the school can figure out a way to get free condoms accessible and without embarrassment, they should be able to find a way to do the same for feminine products.