Power to the Period

I’ve been looking for a way to introduce a new topic on truelane—which is commonly taboo, unfortunately—and that happens to be periods and feminine care, and the stigma surrounding it. When U by Kotex asked me to talk about their Power to the Period donation drive, I decided it would be the perfect time to share some information on a social issue that’s highly important to me, and should be discussed a lot more than it is.

Periods are something that most women have to deal with regularly, and for most, it’s nothing more than an annoyance. The reason? You get cramps. You feel blobby. It gets messy. It’s an inconvenience, and it often takes up something like a week out of every month. For most women, that’s all it is.

Think about all of the products you have to simplify that time of your month. You have 24-hour access to feminine products, whether you’re a tampon, pad, or cup girl. You have Midol. You have hot water bottles. You have Netflix and chocolate. These are all things we take for granted that make our lives easier and minimize our reason for complaint. However, access to the most basic essentials like pads and tampons is limited or nonexistent in not only third-world countries, but here in America as well. Many of the 3.5 million Americans who experience homelessness at some point during the year have zero access to feminine hygiene products.

For those who do have access, purchasing feminine products is a financial issue, and more significantly, a gender injustice issue. Tampons and pads are taxed as luxury items in all states except for Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Eight states out of our familiar fifty that tax women for products critical to their health. The average woman in California spends $7 a month on feminine hygiene products (The Washington Post). When you're pinching pennies, those taxes add up. Earlier this year, President Obama suggested the luxury tax situation is the way it is because he suspected "men were making the laws when those taxes were passed." (TIME) Women are ready for this to change.

I know the majority of my blog readers are female, so I challenge you to consider what your time of the month would be like without the convenience of your sanitary and readily available products. What would you use? How would you handle it? How would you feel? If I told you that 1 out of 10 girls in third-world countries drop out of school because they can’t care for themselves or don’t understand their bodies, would that blow your mind as much as it does mine?

Power to the Period is the first-ever national period product drive, and I’m proud to be both supporting it and participating in it. An easy way to take part? The next time you stop at Target to pick up your feminine care, grab an extra box and drop it at your local homeless shelter. Don’t know where to find one? LOOK IT UP. It might be one of the hardest things to talk about, but it shouldn’t be.

Other ways to get involved:

  • Start a Power to the Period donation drive in your area! Now through Friday, September 30.
  • Visit UbyKotex.com, DoSomething.org/Period or text PERIOD to 38383 to learn more.
  • Just join the online conversation with #PeriodProjects! Let people know it's cool to talk about periods.

U by Kotex will also make product donations on behalf of DoSomething.org contest winners (more information here), and participants can sign up for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship.

Thank you to U by Kotex for sponsoring this post, and to Holly Sanchez and DoSomething.org for starting this initiative.