All over the world, people who menstruate have to suffer from lack of opportunity, support, and lack of access. Period poverty along with the period stigma that comes with it is real and is depriving people of their basic needs but what does that mean?
Menstruation is a natural occurrence that happens to people everywhere, so you would think that if it can’t be stopped because it’s normal, the products that help during the process would be free, false.
Around 1.8 Million people menstruate a year, however, period products are not considered to be essential and are actually redeemed as a “luxury item” which can seem very ironic as many don’t consider periods to be so “luxurious”. There is no logical reason for why the majority of people who menstruate can’t afford period care.
With these luxurious items, comes the even more magnificent period tax. Extra sales taxes will be added to period products causing the already costy product to be more expensive. This issue was addressed but only 20 states decided to release the tax, leaving 30 states with the tax.
With the minimum wage pricing being the way that it is, low income people struggle the most in buying their products due to lack of extra money to go around which is an unfair disadvantage that can’t be controlled.
For years, we’ve been fighting for fairness, meaning free products. Young teens, teenagers, adults, and older people shouldn’t have to pay but we have been because companies want and have a strong desire to profit at the expense of others. If it’s not going to be free, it needs to be more accessible for people of ALL ages. This means available in school bathrooms, public restrooms and the workplace.
We also need period education. Young teens should learn what a period is and how they can manage it while having access because their school has their back and that is something that we should want.
It’s not only women that have their periods. It’s very important to include gender non conforming people, along with trans people. Representation matters and discouraging people who aren’t cis isn’t helpful. Companies love to label their “feminine products” with things like “Girl Boss” and “Girl Power” and “ Like a Girl” on their packaging as if it’s necessary.This pushes people away from buying and getting the help that they may need. We need to support people of ALL genders.
As I previously mentioned, period stigma is real. Stereotypes are forced onto menstruators, claiming that our emotions negatively affect the way we work and do things which causes us to be unmanageable and hard to deal with. We are seen as incompetent.
This has led to menstruators seeing their periods as sinful or something to not be talked about. Yet, this is something we need to talk about. Periods don’t make anybody weird and there shouldn’t be a feeling of shame to having or talking about it. We’re supposed to be living in a society that attempts to cater to all problems.
Period poverty does nothing but provide additional stresses to the physical, mental, and the emotional being of a person. Lack of products is also a lack of care and sanitation.
We live in a society that is meant to progress. We need our voices to be heard. We need people taken care of, availability, and support.
With more research, knowledge, and demanding for change, we can truly make an impact.