Letter to the editor: End the stigma around menstruation

Ali Drew

Image source: UVM Bored

Menstruation stigma must stop. 

Menstruation is a shared experience among half the population, and yet it is still a widely stigmatized issue. 

But there are a few different solutions to make menstruation no longer a taboo topic. Through increasing education measures, promoting female empowerment, providing more resources, and simply talking about periods candidly, we can try to celebrate menstruation for the natural experience that it is.  

UVM Eco-Reps are trying to be a part of the solution. 

We’re partnering with OrganiCup’s CampusCup campaign which strives to make periods on campus more sustainable and equitable. 

The sad reality of the situation is that in the U.S. 12.7 billion pads and tampons are disposed of annually. UVM alone provides about 55,100 free pads and tampons per year in bathrooms across campus. 

But across the country students of all ages aren’t able to afford supplies they need for their period, this is called period poverty. A national study of college students published in January showed 10% experience period poverty every month, with higher impacts on BIPOC students.

But a menstrual cup does not pollute landfills and is a one time purchase designed to be reused for 5-10 years.

And starting March 1st, all UVM students are able to sign up for a FREE one from OrganiCup! 

The menstrual cup itself is transparent silicone and comes in a small cardboard box. Unlike other menstrual products, it is not directed towards a specific gender because not everyone who gets a period is a woman, and not every woman gets a period. 

Menstruation isn’t always a “woman’s” issue – it’s a human issue, inclusive of people of all gender identities.

Menstruation isn’t a woman’s issue – it’s a human issue.  

This fact struck me. 

All my life I’ve been inundated with information, whether through advertisements or health class, that periods are problem that women have to deal with discreetly. Even today when I walk through the feminine products section of a drugstore, the color pink is insanely overpowering. These products are obviously being directed towards women as the packaging has flowers and “girly” colors. 

Menstruation needs to be talked about differently. 

Periods should be discussed openly with everyone, menstrual packaging should be neutral and marketed towards all gender identities, and the products must be accessible and affordable so no one is held back by their cycle. 

If you want to learn more about the economic, environmental and physical benefits of reusable menstrual cups and if one might be right for you find our tabling schedule on Facebook. Or sign up for your free OrganiCup directly before March 14th at go.uvm.edu/campuscup.