Opinion

#FREETHETAMPONS

freethetampons, women, scotland

The other day I was shopping at the mall when I suddenly felt it. Most women know what I’m talking about, that sensation that you suddenly get when your period starts. I wish men could try it, at least once, because it’s something over the top. 

The first thought that popped in my mind was ‘I desperately need a bathroom’ so I started looking around and, thankfully, I found it and immediately started walking a bit faster towards it. Once I’m inside though, I realize that I have no tampons with me, it was supposed to arrive in two days, my little friend, but apparently it wanted to come visit a bit sooner. So, what do I do? Something that, I believe, every woman has done at least once in life: create a pad using some toilet paper. Not the best, but the only option when restrooms don’t offer machines for period products. 

Not Our Choice!

Sometimes it seems like we had the possibility to choose whether we wanted to get periods or not, perhaps around the age of fourteen we were asked to tick a box: periods, yes or no? I guess I must’ve been to the bathroom when they asked me, because I really don’t remember choosing this. I believe that, if we had the possibility, most of us would’ve chosen a big no. I mean, who really wishes to have terrible cramps every 28 days and having to go to the bathroom every other hour? I certainly do not. Of course, we could say that periods are beautiful and all that, since they give us the possibility to create new life in a certain way but still, is it worth a lifetime of pain? Because menstrual cramps can be unbearable sometimes, really, I spent days laying on the floor and hours sitting on the toilet, just hoping next month won’t be as bad. 

We ALL Need to Be Informed (yeah, you too)

Now, maybe you are a man and you have no clue of what I’ve been blabbing about up until now, but I wish you knew, I really wish you could understand. But all you can do, those four days of the month, is to go out and buy some ice cream, not for yourself of course, even if we might feel nice enough and decide to share. That really is the least you could do. However, you should do more, you should be informed, we should all be. I think that is totally unacceptable that still today many people hear the word ‘period’ and reply with a ‘disgusting’ and ‘please, just don’t talk about it’. Well, we have to talk about it if we want things to change and we need things to change. But this requires the help of everybody. 

Social Media on the Rescue

In this particular field social media are helping a great deal. A lot of pages on Instagram solely discuss periods and, slowly, are normalizing ‘period talk’. It’s a topic that should be given more attention, we should all know how the human body works. 

It just doesn’t really make sense that we are obligated to spend around 20 euros per month to satisfy this basic need.

In the last few years hashtags like #freethetampons started appearing on social media like Instagram and are steadily making everyone more aware of how unfair it has been up until now. How frustrating is it when you walk into a restroom and there is no toilet paper? Very. So, imagine walking in a bathroom and not finding tampons, why should it be considered any different? We need them as much, because it’s not very cool to walk around pulling your shirt down to cover the blood stain on your pants. I think that it’s terrible to walk in a bathroom and don’t find what should be considered a basic need. It’s a basic need, because women have been getting periods since the beginning of times so it just doesn’t really make sense that we are obligated to spend around 20 euros per month to satisfy this basic need. 

Every journey begins with a single step

Scotland is the first country that has stepped towards the right direction. Recently a new bid was approved, making tampons free of charge. Not being able to have access to feminine products could lead to bad infections so I don’t see why, at least taxes, should be taken out of the bill. Countries in the EU still have very high ‘period taxes’, with Hungary holding the highest rate with 27% of taxes paid on pads and tampons.

This might sound insane, but every human being with menstruation must have the possibility to access period products and I firmly believe the key to everything is us, it has always been. We need to form a homonymous front and state our opinion: tampons need to be free. Say it again and again a little bit louder, post it everywhere, tell everyone and we will be seen, we will be heard. This is a fight that needs to be won, it’s a change that deserves to happen. It’s the time to finally share our stories in order to stop ‘period talk’ from being considered a taboo and change the way things work. We all have a period story, so make a change, what is yours?

 

 

Cover: Gabrielle Rocha Rios

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