So today’s post is possibly more for the ladies than the gents, but chaps, bear with me and hear me out. Even if you’re not into ladyparts, chances are you exited some.
Whilst we generally accept that women’s stuff costs more (we don’t, not really, we get really pissed off about it being excused, but that’s a rant for another day, as obviously the colour pink is far more expensive than the colour blue), there are some things that really, really, really should be exempt from this.
We’re already sold a plethora of things that are totally unnecessary – when blokes get a range specifically for washing their dicks, then we can talk feminine washes, wipes etc. But that monthly visit, or in my case every 26 days because why should my womb be exempt from being difficult, is something that we can rarely avoid, except via medical intervention.
Add to this, the fact that the sanitary products are taxed as luxuries (yes, still, though we’re told that will end in April 2018, not that we’re counting), it can make having a period expensive. The last quoted average was £18000 over a woman’s lifetime. Given that we start in puberty (so around 11 years old) and end at menopause (somewhere in our fifties ish), that’s a lot of fucking money to spend on something you chuck away. And in a lot of cases hurts like fuck too.
But for all that, we ladies take it for granted that should our period arrive unexpectedly, we can afford to pop to the shops and buy a pack of something.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to not have that choice.
To not have the funds.
To spend my time cramming loo roll into my knickers and hope that it’ll cope.
To feel the shame when it doesn’t, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Because there are women, who go through exactly the same as this every month. Who are homeless, or just simply poor, and cannot afford to buy anything. I have friends who have had to make the choice between tampons and food in their past. Who were so close to the breadline that they simply had to make do.
This isn’t a luxury item.
This is a necessity, and should be treated as such.
But that they are still so bloody expensive is why groups such as Monthly Gift exist.
I’ve just sent a box, via Monthly Gift to a foodbank. It’s full of tampons and pads and liners. Packets, boxes and loose bits and pieces, donated by staff and students at the School of Physics & Astronomy. Because it’s something most women have experienced – that sudden realisation that you haven’t got anything and you turn to someone for help. This is us reaching out to provide that help to someone we don’t know.
Until foodbanks are no longer a part and parcel of our existence in the UK, there’s always going to be someone in need.
And this blog post is me reaching out to ask you for help on behalf of Monthly Gift. If you want to help, Christina, the one woman army behind the project has an option to suit you.
Physical Donations are always welcome – like me, hold a collection – family, friends, work, local groups. Then just take or post the donations to your local food bank/homeless charity
Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter also have a collection box, so you can drop in and drop off.
If you can’t make it in person, online donations are welcome too.
Periods are normal. Periods are just part of everyday life. Nobody should experience period poverty. Or feel shame about them.