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May 18 2017

New Campus Fad: Free Tampons in the Men's Room

by Charlotte Allen

I can't decide whether this story from Inside Higher Education falls into the How Colleges Teach Reality Denial or the How Colleges Waste Your Tuition Money department:

Tampons in Men's Rooms? It's Just a Small Part of 'Menstrual Equity," Campus Activists Say

Yup, that's the headline. And here's the story:

The University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Brown University are a few other institutions that provide free menstrual products in some men’s and gender-neutral restrooms, in order to be more inclusive of transgender students.

This has prompted several conservative websites to...laugh:

The American Conservative mockingly headlined its report "Social Justice Washrooms," from "tomorrow’s generation of American elites." Commenters on Breitbart’s report on the trend called it "academic insanity"....

Free tampons in men's rooms is an offshoot of free tampons in women's rooms--sparked by the idea that it's unfair to make women pay for menstrual products just because they menstruate and men don't. I know the logic is a little difficult to follow here, and you're probably thinking: Next they'll be saying it's unfair to make women pay for brassieres just because they have breasts and men don't. But at any rate the "Free the Tampon" movement has taken off, at least on college campuses, where they go in for that kind of thing--and feminist activists are pressuring for legislation that would make free (or actually taxpayer-subsidized) menstrual products universal.

At Emory University, a petition persuaded administrators to invest in a pilot program to provide free tampons and pads in some bathrooms. Molly Zhu, president of Emory’s College Council, said the program is operating at four locations to start, while usage and cost are tracked.

The program’s projected cost per year is $1,113, which Ms. Zhu said would be paid through health programs at Emory.

At the University of Rochester, a free-tampons proposal won the student-government association’s annual 5k challenge, which includes a $5,000 award. The plan, submitted by students, was to leave baskets of free pads and tampons in some campus bathrooms, including one men’s room.

"Nobody expects you to carry around your own toilet paper, and so in the same sense we don’t think it should be required or expected of people to pay for or carry around their own tampons or pads — that should be a service we are providing," said Lance Floto, the association’s vice president.

And where there are men, there are bound to be trans-men. Not very many of them, since only 0.3 percent of people identify as transgender in the first place, and of that minuscule group, only one-fourth of those are biological females (transgenderism is an overwhelmingly male phenomenon). That means that for every 1,000 students on a college campus, only .75--fewer than one student--is ever likely to use a tampon in a men's room. But what the hay! Social justice is being done!

"It’s been kind of neat to see the really creative activism that has emerged from college campuses all across the country," Ms. Weiss-Wolf said. "I put this all under this umbrella of this idea that is called ‘menstrual equity.’ That doesn’t mean just free stuff. It’s more a question of participation and civic engagement. The products that are needed to manage menstruation are essential for the ability to be able to participate in society, whether that means to attend class or go to work and be productive on the job."

Ah, colleges, where the spigot craziness and the spigot of somebody else's money never gets turned off.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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