I woke up this week to the news that we were being urged to buy tampons for a worthy cause again. According to the charity Freedom4Girls, a school in Leeds has reported that girls are missing school because they can’t afford to buy menstrual products. In response, individuals and charities are donating disposable menstrual products, and calling for them to be provided free in all schools.
Sorry, in modern Britain £1 a month is not the sort of sum which people cannot afford. OK, call it £2 a month if you wish. But this as evidence of poverty is the purest bollocks.
And look at the wondrous elision here:
In a letter published in the British Medical Journal in 2010, Dr Daniel Hindley noted that in a Bolton NHS foundation trust study, “menstruation problems” was listed as the fifth most common school absence reason among 251 primary and secondary pupils referred to the trust.
And as a “Lass war” protester, I need to be clear that this doesn’t just happen in the north of England. And it doesn’t just happen just in the global south. Please don’t come back to me in five years’ time with a news story about someone in the home counties skipping school because of periods. That’s certainly already happening.
We start with young birds not being able to afford tampons, that bollocks. We get to menstruation problems meaning school absences – something that we’re all sure does happen. But menstruation problems and not being able to afford tampons are not the same thing, are they?
Buying tampons for people only lasts for a certain period. It doesn’t address the taboos or end poverty – it feeds right into the rampant capitalism and disposable culture that got us here in the first place.
Yep, it’s all about class war really.