These young men showed compassion and maturity beyond their years.
Periods may be normal, but even adults often feel uncomfortable talking about this particular bodily cycle that every woman is all too familiar with. However, after male students from James Hillhouse High School in Connecticut heard that 86% of women are surprised by the start of their period and are without products, they decided to do something about it.
The level of maturity that these boys exhibited was well beyond their years but is essential in becoming a compassionate human being. Though periods don’t directly affect men, they affect the women they care about, whether it be as a lover, family member, or friend, and that’s why these young men wanted to help out.
Though many women buy their own preferred feminine products, the boys decided that they didn’t want any of their female classmates to be caught off guard or not be well-equipped when their period arrived every month. Instead of assuming that every classmate could afford their own products, the young men held a drive in which they collected feminine products so that their classmates would have a free supply.
Donated products were accepted for about a week and the drive was extremely successful in equipping the school with items for the women on campus. This gesture is just one of many that the teen boys believe is worth working for as a part of the Kiyama Movement, which promotes self-improvement among African American men and emphasizes respect for sexual responsibility, fatherhood, womanhood, economic accountability, and life.
Their overall movement is touching and was founded in honor of Malcolm X as a way of acknowledging that Black men face unique challenges in American society that need to be addressed through individual and collective improvement in the Black community.
While their tampon drive was just a grassroots effort that helped the women at that particular school, the implications reach much further than that. This helps other teens see that there shouldn’t be a stigma around talking about and dealing with periods. The fact of the matter is that periods are messy and uncomfortable, but acknowledging them helps women feel safer when asking for products.
Similar movements on a larger scale have been put into practice, such as when two dozen New York public schools made tampons and pads available to young women in the bathrooms. Not only does this remove the need to outright ask for the items, but it helps those living in poverty and unable to afford products as frequently as they are needed. While some may deem these products ‘voluntary,’ as is evidenced by the tax placed on feminine hygiene items, they are very much essential in allowing a woman to continue with her day undisturbed by this monthly intruder. Hopefully many more schools can budget for this expense in order to help out half of their students and reduce the stigma surround periods.
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