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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: We need quality feminine products readily available on campus

Approximately one half of the UA student population has to deal with the so-called taboo topic of periods on a monthly basis. Many women are already self-conscious when this time of month rolls around and, to add insult to injury, the UA offers terrible feminine products on campus.

There are plenty of reasons a woman might need to buy a tampon on campus: an unexpected early start without the necessary supplies, forgetting the stockpile at home or simply running out with no friends to spare an extra. All these situations could mean trouble. Between classes is often the only time to run to an on-campus store for some feminine products, but there’s no way one could make it to CVS and back in time between two lectures.

In on-campus stores, like the U-Mart at the Student Union Memorial Center, Highland Market or the market at Park Student Union, women can buy the “luxury item” of crappy tampons at marked-up prices. Not only are these tampons delivered in lovely cardboard tubes, they are nearly impossible to apply and they’re incredibly uncomfortable to sport all day long.

On heavier days, a pad or liner might also be required. But don’t fret – thin and seemingly water-resistant liners can also be purchased at on-campus stores.

Do you need a tampon while working out at the Student Recreation Center? Empty and out-of-order tampon dispensers are there to help. Even if dispensers only carry cheap brands, they should be available for students. Tampons usually cost about 25 cents from dispensers, so quality can’t be expected here; but women need more support than just toilet paper in an emergency. The UA would not lose a lot of money by stocking tampon dispensers. Monitoring them is as easy as checking if there is still toilet paper and paper towels in the bathroom.

UA offers free condoms to promote sexual safety, but still overcharges for cheap, and oftentimes useless, feminine products. The ironic part is that by promoting safe sex, the UA is also encouraging periods, natural byproducts of avoiding pregnancy.

Another qualm against the only feminine products offered in on-campus stores is that tampon companies self-regulate the quality of their products. No one is exactly sure what this means, but cotton tampons could be made of rayon or sprayed with bleach to make them white. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require feminine products to have ingredients listed because they are considered medical devices.

The first concern of sexual safety should be protecting our bodies with healthy products, a goal cheap tampons simply do not accomplish.

Not all products are the same and not all products work for everyone. There are over 17,000 full-time female students at the UA and there is probably no way one single tampon brand works for every one of them.

Not supplying better tampons, or at least a wider variety of brands, is ridiculous and should have nothing to do with cost. I know many women who would rather pay more money for a quality feminine product than buy cheap, uncomfortable tampons that cause them to be worried or self-conscious about their natural, bodily functions all day.

The simplest solution would be to bring feminine products from home to have your personal favorites available. But it’s unrealistic to expect women to be prepared every single time. In an emergency, the UA needs to have more help available to women.

Follow Nicole Rochon on Twitter.

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