Lessons from law school: feminine hygiene products

In the past three years in law school, I have learned a great deal from my classmates. I want to highlight one example in particular.

Last year, Law Students for Reproductive Justice conducted a donation drive for a homeless shelter. Student orgs hold donation drives all the time; the unique thing that LSRJ did was that it collected feminine hygiene products (tampons and pads). Homeless shelters get lots of donations for toothpaste, soap, and other toiletries. But feminine hygiene products go overlooked.

When I heard about the drive, I realized that I had never considered that homeless shelters would have a great need for feminine hygiene products. It’s just something I had never thought of, because I never needed to think of it. But for homeless women, not having access to such products can be a desperate situation.

Another factor is the stigma associated with feminine hygiene products. To be honest, I felt a bit embarrassed about buying pads at CVS. I ended up giving the money to someone else to buy it (plus, I bike to school, and it would be a hassle to carry something else). But why the stigma? If I buy a box of tissues, then that’s no big deal. Why should buying pads be a problem? Menstruation happens. It exists. People need hygiene products for menstruation, just like we need hygiene products for allergies.

Thank you to Kaitlin Beck and the other students with LSRJ who helped bring attention to this important issue.

Here’s a question: Once I move to the Bay Area, I’m thinking of buying a box of spare feminine hygiene products, in case I have female friends over and they need one in a pinch. Any thoughts on what kind I should get? Recommendations on a brand?

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