It’s well known that university campuses are ground zero for bogus civil rights battles, but a new program at Columbia University takes the cake.
The school’s student council just voted to launch a program distributing free tampons and sanitary pads in on-campus washrooms—even male bathrooms, to appease the apparent growing concern of 'men' getting periods.
The campaign to give free tampons came about after the school scrapped an unpopular earlier program that allowed students to pick up tampons from the sexual health centre. Only 635 tampons and 200 pads had been used during the semester (out of 4,500 students), so the school thought the program was unnecessary.
Cue the outrage.
An op-ed in the Columbia Spectator by two female students charged that “our periods should be free, period.”
The piece said that if the school doesn’t provide free tampons, it implicitly sends the message that “hygiene-related needs of students who have periods are unimportant” and contributes "to the already exclusive socioeconomic climate on campus.”
This is at an Ivy League university, whose tuition will run a student over $56,000 per year—but a $5 box of tampons is too much.
But it’s not about the money, the op-ed’s authors wrote: for 'men,' it is about the stigmatization that periods tend to bring about.
"Period stigma coupled with the stigma of being low-income on this campus creates a hostile environment for so many people,” they wrote. "Even further, gender-nonconforming and trans masculine students already must go through the potentially dysphoric experience of getting their period. We should be at least giving them a safe space both emotionally and economically to receive sanitary products.”
Apparently “Hey Bruce, can I borrow your applicator?” is 2016’s new locker room talk.
So for us gender-confirming masculine students, we’ll have to do a double-take when we see the tampon machine to make sure we’re in the right place. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Columbia puts urinals in the female washrooms to go after that other oppressed group of women with penises who want to pee standing up.
One fight at a time, I suppose.