Students at the University of California, Merced, have been confronted this week by a display on campus that demands free tampons and other feminine hygiene products.
After universities like the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska, and Columbia University have made plans to provide free tampons in restrooms to their female students, students at UC Merced are now demanding similar treatment. In order to bring awareness to their message, they constructed a display in one of the busiest student corridors on campus made of a dozen tampons and fake blood.
The display, which is located on the first floor of the Classroom and Office building and is meant to correlate with International Women’s Day, contains the words, “My Exsistance [sic] is not a profit,” suggesting that feminine hygiene products should be provided for free. A smaller poster next to the display reads “I have to pay to be a womyn.” On the display, “woman” is intentionally misspelled to avoid “man” being a part of the word.
Although it isn’t clear if a student group is behind the activism, the bottom of the display reads, “By Lina.” Regardless, this effort is likely inspired by recent conversations about a “pink tax” — or the suggestion that women’s products cost more than men’s. Advocates cite data the concluded that females pay 13% more for personal care products, eight percent more for adult clothing, seven percent more for toys and accessories, and four percent more for children’s clothing.
Ian Parkman, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Portland, suggests that a pink razor being more expensive than a blue razor could be the result of pink plastic being more expensive than blue plastic. Some critics claim that the “pink tax” is manufactured outrage, conveniently rising to couple with the gender wage gap myth to support the feminist oppression narrative.
Although the display at UC Merced should be subject to removal for failing to receive proper university approval, someone disagreed with the message by writing on the display: “We all must ‘pay’ to be human … what makes your vagina so special?”