NYU students: men deserve free tampons. Period.
The “free the tampon” movement has spread to New York University, where students are demanding free “menstrual hygiene products” in all bathrooms, including men’s rooms.
A group of NYU students who call themselves “Students for Sexual Respect” are circulating a petition with their demands that will be sent to the school’s administration when it reaches its targeted signature goal of 1,500, of which it already has 1,486.
The petition notes that while it is relatively easy for NYU students to access condoms on campus, finding a tampon or pad is apparently much more difficult.
The issue presents its financial difficulties, too, according to the petition, which suggests that “at an expensive university where many students face large amounts of debt,” student “budgets can’t always accommodate those $10 a month” needed for tampons.
“We shouldn’t have to choose between MHPs and other necessities like pricey textbooks, groceries, or MetroCards,” the petition declares. “Our bodies shouldn’t have to be more expensive than other bodies.”
The petition goes on to explain that many students, especially transgender students, have the experience of not being able to find a tampon in their preferred bathroom, saying that free tampons should therefore be made available in all university restrooms.
“It is common to run into a student in the bathroom who is desperately seeking a tampon or pad. What’s more, menstruating students who use men’s restrooms may not find anyone in the bathroom they are comfortable asking,” it adds. “To ensure that all students feel safe using the bathroom consistent with their gender identity there must be access to free MHPs in all university bathrooms.”
Finally, the petition concludes by arguing that inaccessibility to free tampons is a barrier to education, citing New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent legislation that brought free tampon’s to the city’s public schools, which de Blasio defended by saying that “students should be able to concentrate on their studies.”
“By making MHPs inaccessible to those who need them, NYU implicitly accepts that barriers to education based on anatomy are permissible. This is unfair and discriminatory,” the petition concludes. “We implore NYU to fund a pilot program which will provide free MHPs in all restrooms—female, male, and gender neutral—throughout centrally located buildings.”
Other NYU students, however, disagree, arguing that while the petition raises some good points, its overall tone of entitlement discredits the petitioners’ arguments.
“Of course, their basic request has merit,” student Mimi Teixeira wrote in an op-ed for Order and Liberty. “However, the assertions that the lack of provided MHPs is discriminatory, a widespread financial burden, and an impediment on women’s education makes a reasonable request into a self-inflicted mockery of Millennials. The whole petition is covered in a thick layer of entitlement and pretentious appeals to justice.”
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