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Student: “Columbia should pay for my period”

Student: “Columbia should pay for my period”

Wants free “period-related” products and an end to “period shaming”

Periods, as in periods, is the new frontier of the social justice movement.

Not long ago, after widespread activist pressure, Obama opposed the (non-existent) “tampon tax.”

Now, a Columbia University female student has decided that Columbia should provide her—and all “people who menstruate”—with free tampons and assorted “period-related” items from sanitary napkins to painkillers.

Writing in the Columbia Spectator, this student writes, Columbia should pay for my period:

Sure, 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?

Limited access to free sanitary products, along with the widely recognized “tampon tax,” is a frequently recurring topic in popular discourse regarding reproductive rights. While California may have pioneered potentially eliminating the tampon tax at the state level, many people who menstruate still lack the sufficient financial resources to frequently purchase sanitary products. And even if the sales tax is removed from these products, we must still front the cost to pay for other menstruation-related items, such as pads, DivaCups, painkillers, and birth control.

This adds up, she reasons, to almost a hundred dollars a year.

If you were to go to Duane Reade and buy a box of 36 tampons, it would cost you roughly $8. Depending on the heaviness of your menstrual flow, you could potentially end up going through one box (or even more) during your cycle. Assuming a single cycle requires one box of tampons, a person could end up spending $96 a year. And this price only holds if you assume all people just use tampons—most people will end up spending far more on other period products.

But it’s not just about free stuff.  No, she continues, it’s about ending the societal “shame” associated with menstruation.

While finances and affordability are important parts of the demand for the University to supply free sanitary products, we should not end the conversation there. We must also work to deconstruct the shame associated with menstruation by discussing what we can and should do for student health on campus. Furthermore, gender solidarity is an essential part of this conversation. We need to encourage male allies to support women’s health care needs even if they may not menstruate themselves.

It seems to me that the Columbia and Barnard administrations only care about my reproductive health rights in regard to sexual activity, particularly vaginal intercourse. The Columbia community can only begin to deconstruct period shaming by stopping menstruation from being seen as a private problem and recognizing that reproductive health care does not stop at sexual protection.

I’m not quite sure how free tampons would end the “shame” she feels about being a “person who menstruates,” but then again, I doubt she knows, either.

I’m still having a hard time believing this isn’t intended to be satire. But then again, I’m so old I remember when Sandra Fluke’s demand for free contraception was considered extreme.

Sandra Fluke That's Not Funny


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It wasn’t so long ago that medical insurance did not cover glasses or dental work. Then, coverage for glasses became common, and now I pay 10X for my glasses. More recently, dental insurance became common, and I have not only watched the price of dental work skyrocket, but also I have started receiving year-end notices to come in and use up the rest of my dental benefits.

Pads and tampons are cheap. Let’s keep them that way. If that expense gets filtered through the multiple middle men of the federal government loan programs and the universities, we will end up with $900 tampons.

    forksdad in reply to Valerie. | February 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    There’s only one optician who accepts DSHS clients in my county there’s a three month wait for lenses. Can you imagine the wait for a product used by a majority of females? Not a good idea.

If women qualify for free tampons under the guise of reproductive health rights, men should qualify for free prostitutes for relief of the pain of testiculat vasoconstriction, aka, epididymal hypertension, under the same rational.

Somebody smack her parents for enabling a whiny child. Money and handouts are wasted on idiots. If she can’t afford things then she needs to get out of college and get a job.

I think the student has a valid point about periods.

Before you right-wing nutjobs go from being ;semicolons; to making complete :colons: of yourself, let me elaborate.

You can’t spell menstruation without “men,” and the trauma of a young female entering a space of patriarchy like today’s college campus __underscores__ the need to provide free tampons to vulnerable, **(at)ste(risk)** people of menstruation.

The punctuation of the female hyphen- … a /slash/ from the patriarchy … it all leads to the bleeding both literally and figuratively of women–especially historically disadvantaged women of lower income [brackets].

Good on you, girl. Don’t #pound# sand. #Pound The Man#.


    Gee, Luke, of course I didn’t mean to “other” the other vital pieces of punctuation. Well, not other-other . . .


    It’s not like I’m some kind of punctuationaphobe, but if you don’t see that #PeriodsMatter you must be part of the problem. I suppose you’re some kind of punctuationist who wants to throw us all back into the dark ages of grammatical correctness and oppressive punctuation rules where only certain punctuation in specific positions of power were lauded. Punctuation privilege! Fascist! I see your microaggression! And it wounds me.

    Waaaah, I need my safe space. I need it NAOW.

    /sarc (one wouldn’t think this is needed, but maybe it is)

      LukeHandCool in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | February 20, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Fuzzy math … fuzzy punctuation … fuzzy menstruation …

      … it’s just all so newfangled to me.

      I miss the days of yore … when fuzzy was just a bear.

Menstru-Americans Unite!

Good grief. If that whiny brat wants free monthly supplies, let her go on the rag – literally – like her great-great-…-grandmother did. Hey, it’s completely in sync with green philosophy: reduce, re-use, recycle. Get rid of those tampons, napkins, pad, and pantyliners that just wind up in a landfill or otherwise pollute our environment. It’s called “practice what you preach” ~

    The crazy thing is, nordic_prince, that this isn’t just one lone voice; the issue was brought up as an order of business in a student council meeting and is actually being sent to admin for a decision.


If being gender neutral is the new norm, then monetary compensation demands go out the window.

Feminism has jumped more sharks that live in all our oceans. OMFG.

The Friendly Grizzly | February 20, 2016 at 5:14 pm

In MY college days, a free period was a gap between classes.

ugottabekiddinme | February 20, 2016 at 5:16 pm

That $96 per year compared to the annual cost of Columbia is 0.0014576374126936 (slightly over 1/10th of 1%) of the annual cost to attend Columbia.

[In the voice of Marisa Tomei]


Funny how the solution for the perceived inequality isn’t to stop handing out free condoms, but to make tampons free.

    Milhouse in reply to windbag. | February 22, 2016 at 9:33 am

    The reason so many colleges supply free condoms is to encourage students to use them, which is a matter of vital safety. Males are naturally reluctant to use condoms, so any barrier in the way of using one may result in a decision not to, with disastrous results. Women are not reluctant to use tampons, are not going to stop using them just because they cost money, and if a woman does so she’s not harming anyone, not even herself.

I was trying to figure out why you had some MSNBC host screenshot for this story, as it there was no corresponding MSNBC interview. Then I realized the significance, and resent the OP for making me see that.

Interesting language in the pull quote:

We need to encourage male allies to support women’s health care needs even if they may (SIC! lmao) not menstruate themselves.

Apparently there are males who have dived so far into guilt fueled depths of patronization of ‘feminism’ that they have begun to menstruate.

    Sanddog in reply to DaMav. | February 20, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    I think I was behind one of them in Walgreen’s this morning.

    ElrondPA in reply to DaMav. | February 20, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    You don’t understand trans-world. Since gender is all a state of mind, there are women with penises and men who menstruate. (What gets really interesting is the trans-women who consider themselves lesbians, which means that they are physical males interested in physical females. And when the latter are uninterested in participating, who’s the traitor to the LGBT cause?)

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to ElrondPA. | February 23, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      “You don’t understand trans-world.” Alas, it faded away when Trans-World merged with American Airlines back in 2001.

      Oh, wait..

I have a headache. Good grief is right.

A 16 ounce coffee grande at Starbucks averages about $2.10. More if you put all that foo-foo stuff in it, which of course a female SJW would.

So we’re about about 50 cups of coffee a year — one a week.

I’m betting the Columbia student does $100 a MONTH in frivolous spending, easy — it’s Mumzy’s and Dadzy’s money, after all, so why not?

But she want us to front her the $2 a week in costs for female products.

Must be an Ivy-League student.

why not just pay for a laproscopic ovarectomy?

she’ll never have to worry about a period again…

and we won’t have to worry about her breeding more idiots like herself.

She may have a point. Tuition at Colombia is $53,000 a year, not including room and board ($12500). She’s obviously getting nothing of value for her $65000, so maybe the school should throw in a box of tampons and some Midol once a month. To be fair, the boys should get comped a pizza at Famous Original Ray’s or Original Ray’s Famous and a six-pack of Genesee Beer.

Maybe this will encourage Obama to draw yet another red line.

Give this MSNBC useful idiot all the painkillers in the world – so long as she takes them in one dose.

Funny how the answer to all social justice “problems,” real or imagined, is to hand out more “free” stuff that someone else has to pay for. They are nothing but leeches.

Ah, the LI comment section as I remember it! Too funny, love all your comments!

I was at a natural health products on the east coast years ago. Among the booths selling health supplements were others selling ear candles, neti pots (for those who want to pour water into their nose… who wouldn’t?), and one enterprising lady selling “reusable” sea sponges as tampons. There is her solution for about $4.