Chico Period Poverty stops the period stigma on Feminist Friday

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Gabriela Rudolph

Chico Period Poverty group. Photo taken by Gabriela Rudolph on April 29.

Chico Period Poverty asked students to sign a petition at Trinity Commons on April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to advocate for menstrual products to be readily available in all restrooms on campus. The group partnered with the Gender & Sexuality Equity Coalition in the final Feminist Friday of the semester.

This petition began as an activism project for JOUR 130W: Writing for Public Audiences, however the group members were passionate to expand it beyond the classroom.

“We’ve all bonded over our shared experiences of not having the items that we need,” freshmen Julia Hess said. “We want to help our community and it’s definitely going to be something we’re going to continue.”

The group said the only places on campus to access period products are in GSEC and the Wildcat Food Pantry, which isn’t as accessible, or as widely known as it should be. Both locations are also in the same area of campus, leaving the rest of campus without these resources.

“We also want to reach out to Chico’s homeless,” sophomore Samantha Hearron said. “We have a large population of homeless, and it’s silly that necessary things are treated as a luxury.”

According to Chico Period Poverty, homeless and other menstruating individuals who can’t afford or don’t have access to period products will use newspapers, socks or even free-bleed. They also said that individuals who are employed or students will often miss work or class due to the lack of period products.

The group also found that 14.2% of college students have experienced period poverty in the last year.

Although pads and tampons are necessary for those who menstruate, these products are seen as a luxury item and have a tax referred to as the “Pink Tax .”

“Pink Tax is the extra amount placed on feminne everyday products like razors, shampoo and period products,” sophomore Madison Tagg said.

They said that if a product is sold at a store, such as a razor, the product that’s marketed toward men will be significantly cheaper than the one targeted toward women. The same could be said for any other product sold in stores.

“If men had periods, we believe that there wouldn’t be a tax on it,” Tagg said. “It would just be in the bathrooms already.”

Another large part of their project is removing the stigma surrounding periods, as it’s something that’s biologically natural for menstruating individuals. Also, that those who menstruate aren’t just women, but also trans men and non-binary people. 

“It’s not understood because it’s not talked about,” said Tagg.

Box filled with students stories with period poverty. Photo taken by Gabriela Rudolph on April 29.

Chico Period Poverty asked students to write down their stories regarding their struggles with periods at Feminist Friday. Their stories will be shared anonymously on their instagram page, @chicoperiodpoverty

By the end of the event, the petition received 253 signatures, two of which were deans. One of them was Eddie Vela, dean of the College of the Behavioral & Social Sciences

The signatures were sent to President Gayle Hutchinson on May 2 and they are now waiting for a response.

Posters of their project can still be found around campus, written on a blank sheet of paper with markers, which according to them, was an intentional decision. That’s because they believed it was eye-catching and contrasted the other posters around campus.

To stay updated and learn more, follow their instagram account @chicoperiodpoverty.

Gabriela Rudolph can be reached at [email protected].