Most women know the embarrassment and anxiety that comes with having your period. We’ve all asked those questions: Am I bleeding through my pants? Is my tampon holding up? But many homeless and impoverished women cannot afford period products, which makes that time of the month even more stressful. So, the Ladylike girls decided to “free-bleed” for a day to get a small glimpse into this struggle:
“Free-bleeding” essentially meant the ladies would go one full day during their period without using tampons, pads, DivaCups, or any other period product.
The only thing they could use was a puppy pee pad, which would prevent them from staining furniture, car seats, etc.
Before we started the experiment, we sat down with the founders of Conscious Period, an organization that aims to supply tampons to homeless women who cannot afford them. When you buy a box of tampons at Conscious Period, they supply a box of pads to a homeless woman in need. This reminded the ladies that period products should not be a luxury – they should be provided to all women who need them, regardless of their income.
The kicker? Period products are even TAXED at a higher rate in many states because they are “non-necessary items.” So, it was time for the Ladylike girls to see just how necessary these products were.
The day started out tough. Jen was already feeling a bit more self-conscious than she normally would, and dreaded leaking through her pants.
And relatively early in the day, Chantel had already bled through onto her pee pad.
While people around the office were supportive, it definitely drew attention to the women.
By the end of the work day, Saf had several spots on the puppy pad, and a ruined pair of underwear and dress.
When the ladies got home, all they wanted to do was shower – a luxury many homeless women also are not afforded.
Overall, the experience was eye-opening. The ladies felt that although it was natural and empowering, women should have universal access to period products so they can feel comfortable and productive in their everyday lives.