I have had several uncomfortable moments with my period.
The uncomfortable situations have ranged from unexpectedly getting my period to coming up short on pads or tampons while out and about. Each situation added up to an overall feeling of anxiousness that for me lasted all month long because my periods were so irregular.
This summer, I started an internship at a non-profit in Washington, DC. and it was at this internship that I realized how a company providing feminine products makes all the difference. For some, the baskets of tampons and stacks of pads may have seemed like a tiny gesture, but to me they created an environment where my needs weren’t treated like a luxury, and I could feel comfortable with my period and my body.
The current debate around the luxury tax on feminine products perpetuates the assumption that a woman’s period is somehow anything but what it actually is — a bodily process. There’s nothing about a period that’s a luxury.
In reality, a woman could spend up to $18,000 on feminine hygiene products in her lifetime, according to Huffington Post.
More than that, the social and work implications of getting a monthly period are very obvious. For instance, women who suffer from debilitating cramps or endometriosis have a more difficult time performing every day tasks during the onset of their period.
When a company, or a society, acknowledges the reality behind what a woman experiences while on her period, it begins to remove how taboo the subject can be. For me, the sense of shame or anxiety that came with getting my period while at work was suddenly mitigated by the fact that the woman’s bathroom stocked all kinds of products.
A reminder that a small gesture can go a long way.