Legislators should go with the flow. Period.

Column by Audrey Hertel

IScreen Shot 2018-04-13 at 11.36.48 AM know I’m not the only girl who has ever experienced this. You’re sitting in some sort of public area, and then, BAM. It happens. “Well, what am I supposed to do?” you think to yourself. You start to sweat, but you have that slight relief knowing that you’re not wearing white pants. You search through your purse or bag hoping that you have at least one form of fixing the current “situation” you’re in. You freak out when you start to realize that your past self has terribly neglected you. So you’re faced with the task of having to go to the nearest location that sells feminine hygiene products. Once you’re at the store and do what you’ve got to do, you go to the check out counter and, oh no, there’s only one sales clerk. He’s a boy. He’s literally your age. You breathe in and say “I can do this” and go up to the counter to check out. This dude has a look of utter shock. He turns around and never comes back. Instead, a girl returns with a smile on her face to check me out. 

All I’m thinking is “Seriously?” Why are periods such an uncomfortable subject for people to talk about? Literally almost every girl has a period. Girls make up more than 50 percent of the population, so what’s the big deal? I guess that some men may never get over the fact that we bleed literally every month, and it’s a normal thing.

Anyway, I know that maybe buying tampons can be a struggle, but the truth is there are women who have a much more difficult time getting feminine hygiene products and it’s not just because they are checking out with a male sales clerk. The reality of the fact is that many homeless shelters, prisons and even schools do not have access to feminine hygiene products. As I said earlier, this is a normal thing. Thank the Lord that women are an unstoppable force and fought for access to hygiene products in prisons earlier this year. Even though I’m stoked that this happened, why did it take so darn long? We have been around since humankind came to be and we are just now starting to question it? 

That’s the tea.

Let’s not forget about the tax on tampons. Are you kidding? We literally have to pay extra for being girls. Who made this rule and why? I WANT TO TALK TO YOU. Girls already don’t get paid the same amount as men, and now we have to pay an extra tax that guys don’t have to pay? Talk about inequality. What about women in poverty? How are they expected to pay for feminine hygiene products? Women already go through enough injustice as it is and this only adds to it. Many women have accepted the fact that there is a tax on tampons, and to me, that’s just not right. According to a news release in the Washington Post women spend about $7 each month for feminine hygiene products, and women buy these for roughly 40 years of their life. They calculated that the cost of feminine products creates more than $20 million of taxes.

 We need to put an end to this. Legislators need to “go with the flow” if you know what I mean. They need to get rid of the tampon tax and make it easier for women to access feminine hygiene products. 

I know that as a Marian student it can be very easy to just walk down the hall and ask your classmates or female teacher, but at other schools or in public restrooms, it’s not that easy.

Legislators should create laws that allow schools and public restrooms to offer free dispensers of feminine hygiene products. I mean, the toilet paper is free. Everybody uses the restrooms, and almost every girl has periods. 

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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