This piece was written by Eudora, the Founder of The Hygiene Campaign, a student organization at Harvard College. When I heard about her work and passion for periods, I knew that her and her program would be impactful additions to our Camions of Care family. Eudora recently registered as our newest campus chapter President. We are excited to be working with her to spread the menstrual movement here on the Harvard campus! Take it away, Eudora!
"Today, I got my period in class and I didn't have a tampon on me. Panic ensued. Luckily, I was able to run back to my dorm, grab a tampon from a fresh box on my dresser, and continue my day as if nothing happened. I realized as I ran back to my dorm, annoyed and embarrassed, that I had nothing to be annoyed or embarrassed about when so many women do not have the "luxury" to use tampons or pads. They do not have the "luxury" to run back to their homes, grab a tampon, and go about their day.
Human dignity should not be treated as a "luxury," and neither should tampons and pads. Yet, they are taxed as luxury items by corporations who have never felt nor cared to feel the panic and utter embarrassment that periods bring--an inescapable reality for so many women who cannot afford to have their bodies stigmatized and their tampons taxed as "luxury items."
After nearly two years of running The Hygiene Campaign, an organization dedicated to donating feminine hygiene products to homeless women and opening up a conversation about the menstrual taboo, I still feel the blush welling in my cheeks when I ask a stranger, “Hi, have you heard of The Hygiene Campaign?” The sense of shame and embarrassment that I feel about my period is what drives me to become a little more comfortable, a little braver, to speak up about menstrual hygiene.
I, Eudora, am passionate about periods.
The more I think, talk, and write about periods, the less embarrassed and more empowered I feel to start the conversation and make a difference for those women who do not have the luxury to buy “luxury” items.
And here we are, two years later, running from class in a flurry of embarrassment and frustration with myself and my body. Not only for forgetting a tampon, but also for being too scared to ask my classmate if she had one on her. The Hygiene Campaign is about being a little more real with myself, but more importantly, it’s about being a little more real with the greater issue at hand.
The stigmatization of menstruation allows me, a female-bodied student at a prestigious private college, to feel minor embarrassment; while the stigmatization of menstruation prevents thousands of homeless women everywhere from even accessing the products they need and deserve.
By opening up a dialogue about menstruation and the importance of combating ignorance for the sake of women everywhere, we can start to address this women's health issue one tampon at a time.
Join us in our mission to help women gain access to the life they deserve: de-stigmatized bodies and free will to live a healthy life. You know, the things all humans deserve."