Opinion: What’s Missing From Our Bathrooms
Why I Believe Tampons Should be Available in the Women's Bathrooms on Campus
After spending all of breakfast looking through my bag, with a certain level of frustration I think, I must have forgotten to pack any tampons this morning. I look at the clock and I realize if I don’t leave now then I’m going to be late to class. I don’t have time to run to the school store, I think to myself, I guess I’ll have to ask a friend again for another tampon. I cringe at the thought of having to stealthily request and receive the hand-off of my much-needed feminine hygiene product. The clandestine nature of a drug deal is nothing compared to a girl giving another girl a tampon – and then said girl smuggling that tampon into the bathroom. I wistfully think of how I’d be spared this aggravation if there were free tampons available in the bathrooms on campus.
Here at KUA, we are given the essentials. Students are given three meals a day, which is something that we need, but we are also given free coffee and cups all day, which is something that we don’t necessarily need. Don’t get me wrong: I love being able to grab a quick tea or coffee on my way to class, but it’s definitely not as essential as a tampon or pad. While we are given the necessities (and a little more than that) on a daily basis for all our other needs, for a little less than 50 percent of the KUA population, there is one necessity missing: free pads and tampons in the bathrooms.
Of all the women’s bathrooms on campus, I only know of one with a tampon dispenser, and when there is a tampon dispenser, it is one that costs money. Seeing that this is a high school, typically all or most of the female population here need feminine products, such as pads and tampons, to get through the day when they are menstruating. However, those products are not easily accessible.
For starters, in order to obtain tampons here on campus, students need to purchase them in the school store. A box can be a little less than ten dollars, and a woman will have to buy at least one box a month.Those dollars add up, but that’s nothing compared to the threat of risking a stain emergency in class because you didn’t have time to hoof it across campus to make the purchase in the first place.
While having tampons in the school store is helpful, it’s really only convenient if you are currently in the Student Center or have a free period near the lunch block to slip away to make your purchase. Accommodating your feminine hygiene product need is all but impossible if, say, you are in the bathroom in Fitch during a passing block between classes. And acquiring a tampon or pad is a time-sensitive need that could have disastrous consequences if it isn’t seen to.
Though some people view feminine care products as a luxury (I know, insane, right?), for those of us who use them, we know they are a need. Women do not have control over how or when they menstruate, and having the appropriate materials available everywhere makes it easier for us to focus on more important things, like our studies. In the same way that the school provides toilet paper, soap, and paper towels in the restrooms (all of which are classified as necessities), they should provide tampons and pads.
Girls shouldn’t have to spend money on tampons if they don’t have to spend money on their toilet paper. By providing complimentary feminine hygiene products in the bathrooms, KUA would be showing that it cares about the needs of half its population. KUA should be willing to consider having them available in the bathrooms.