A mom has gone viral after she opened up about encouraging her teenage sons to carry tampons around at school in case their female friends need one, and it's certainly divided opinion...
Now, let's talk about periods.
This may repulse some people who can't handle reading anything about the inner workings of a female, but please do us all a favor and grow up...
Periods are completely natural.
Some people seem to think that the menstrual cycle is some sort of taboo subject that needs to be avoided at all costs, but I'm here to remind you that it's not.
It's simply a natural part of human biology.
But why is it considered such a taboo subject?
Well, for centuries now, the topic of women's periods have been kept on the hush-hush, and it's all because society has stigmatized it.
And, even though the times are slowly changing, some cultures aren't. In India and other parts of Asia, the idea that a woman can be on her period seems to be too hard to accept, and young girls are literally banished and placed into hiding when on their periods.
This is wrong on so many levels and it is exactly why we need to be more open about the topic.
via: GettyHowever, rather than talking about how to help normalize the process, there is another issue that needs to be addressed.
Period poverty is real, and it affects the lives of millions of young girls and women all over the world.
via: GettyBut what exactly is period poverty?
For an official definition:
via: GettyAccording to the sanitary manufacturer, BodyForm, period poverty means being unable to access sanitary products and having poor knowledge of menstruation often due to financial constraints.
Sadly, sanitary products are classified as "luxury items"...
via: GettyAnd therefore, can be incredibly expensive, especially for those from lower-income households.
For years now, women all over the world have called for an end of this "period tax"...
via: GettyAnd they have been urging governments to provide schools and workplaces with free sanitary products.
However, these calls have mostly fallen upon deaf ears.
via: GettySo far, Scotland and New Zealand have been the only countries to take action, with their parliaments approving plans last year to make sanitary products freely available to women in public spaces such as public restrooms, community centers, and youth clubs.
But as for here in the United States?
Sanitary products remain to be expensive and inaccessible for lower-income families - which can prove to be extremely difficult for young girls and teenagers in school.
Well, this is exactly why one mom in Indiana decided to send her sons to school very well equipped.
Tara Ahrens has been sending her teenage sons to school equipped with a box of tampons each for their female friends, and it's certainly caused a divide in opinion online!
Many applauded the mom on her controversial decision...
However, others weren't as supportive...
Writing an article for CafeMom, Tara explained why she decided to send her boys to school with tampons.
"Earlier this month, I posted a photo of my sons, Micah, fifteen, and Elijah, sixteen, to the private Facebook page Pantsuit Nation, and watched it spread. It was an image I snapped in Target while we were back-to-school shopping," she explained.
"'My teenage boys helped me shop today, which included buying their little sister's first bras… because breasts happen', I wrote."
"And for good measure, I added, 'Both boys carry a tampon and a pad in their backpacks in case one of their friends needs one. Just a mom out here, trying to erase gender taboo!'."
"Within hours, the post climbed to thousands of likes and comments, and as I write this, it has over 65K reactions (and counting). But it's also prompted many women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to share horror stories from their youth, recalling times when they desperately needed period supplies and did not have them."
Tara then spoke about how she's taught her sons the realities of periods.
"'Bleed-throughs happen,' I've explained to my boys. 'They are mortifying and can be traumatizing. Kindness and understanding from ANY friend goes a long way. Be that person'."
"In reality, our bodies are doing what they were physically made to do. So why should it be embarrassing?"
Tara then explained that her sons saw first-hand what she had been talking about when one of Elijah's friends experienced a bleed-through.
"All of her friends had tampons, but this student is only allowed to use pads. Elijah speculated that it might be because of her religious beliefs, and after that day, took it upon himself to make sure that he and Micah had pads in their backpacks - just in case."
This year, Micah let all his close female friends know that he always keeps a sweatshirt in his locker and a tampon in his backpack.
"You know, in case you have an emergency," he told them, "My mom wanted you to be covered."
Tara explained that at first, the girls seemed a little embarrassed but they soon warmed to the idea and were grateful for Micah's thoughtfulness.
"Raising teenage boys is basically a constant cycle of laundry piles, feeding voracious hunger, nagging, laughter, and little, quick, teachable moments - just like this one."
"Anything you can do to help them navigate the difference between things that are a big deal (like keeping your friends safe at parties, being aware of your surroundings, and the safety of others around you) and things that are NO big deal (like puberty, periods, and yes, bleed-throughs) can make a huge difference," the proud mom wrote.
Do you think that Tara's sons taking tampons to school is an act of understanding and kindness?
Or do you think it's totally inappropriate?
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