Rejoice! Free tampons are coming to all the student bathrooms at Brown University—and that includes the men’s and “gender inclusive” bathrooms.
By putting menstrual products in women's, men's and gender-inclusive bathrooms, [Brown's student body president Viet] Nguyen's campaign highlights an often ignored fact: Not all people who menstruate are women.
Could have fooled me. But:
"We wanted to set a tone of trans-inclusivity and not forget that they're an important part of the population," Nguyen says. "I'd be naïve to say there won't be push back. I've had questions about why we're implementing this in male bathrooms as well. It's an initial confusion, but people generally understand when we explain it."
Initial confusion? How about terminal confusion?
Brown’s move is part of a nationwide campaign to ensure free tampons in schools. Brown, however, is going that extra mile, making tampons available to male students. I can see the point of supplying such products free to low-income students who would otherwise have a hard time buying them.
But this is something else: the politicization of the tampon. Apparently, the latest form of oppression to be discovered is that of having to pay for one’s own sanitary products. Newsweek reports:
Earlier this year, Inside Higher Ed reported that students at the University of Arizona, Columbia University, Emory College, Reed College, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, UCLA and Grinnell College, among others, have all advocated for free menstrual products on campus.
As Courtney Couillard wrote in the Columbia Spectator, "I can easily find a free condom on Barnard and Columbia's campuses, but why can't I find a free tampon in the bathrooms in Hamilton or Milbank? Why does the administration care about my sexual protective rights, but not how I handle my monthly menstrual cycle?"
Courtney Couillard can relax. Apparently, more and more school administrations do care about how women handle their monthly menstrual cycles.