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Toilet paper, like the hand soap and paper towels we also find in public restrooms, is a sanitary product.

And at some point in our history, a decision was made to make those products available to everyone for free in public restrooms because it's good for the public.


Image (altered) via jmawork/Flickr.

The same logic (and courtesy) has yet to be extended to the tampon.

Despite the occasional protestation on Twitter...

...and a whole movement for bathroom equality...

...they still ain't free in most places.

In fact, you're lucky if you can even find one of these things stocked and functional:

Image (altered) by jill, jellidonut... whatever/Flickr.

Some companies have seen the light, and the light says, "Free the tampon!"

Since 1981, Apple has made tampons just as available to their employees as toilet paper.

Apple's not just ahead of its time when it comes to iPhones. The company was one of the first clients of Nancy Kramer, the founder of Free the Tampons. Image (altered) via Matthew Yohe.

If only Apple ran every public restroom. But they don't. So women have to either guesstimate and preempt or be forced into spontaneous DIY projects using the toilet paper at hand until they can find an ally with supplies or a corner store, where they'll spend almost $10 because corner stores don't sell individual tampons or pads.

That raises an important economic argument for making women's hygiene products available for free in public restrooms:

40 million women live in poverty in the United States. A year's worth of tampons or pads can cost around $60 — and these products are not covered by food stamps.

The lack of feminine hygiene products has been a HUGE problem for homeless shelters and prisons. One Michigan prison has been sued, in part, for denying prisoners access to pads and tampons. And in homeless shelters, donors are wising up in light of reports that shelters are sorely lacking in period gear.

But who bears the brunt of the problem? Low-income teens, says Al Jazeera's Lisa De Bode:

"Many girls were reported to miss school to avoid the embarrassment of staining their clothes, according to representatives at the meeting, or having to ask staff members for menstrual hygiene products."

Really, America? Last I checked, America was not about being the place where young women are forced, due to lack of resources, to stay home from school because they have their period.

That's like LeBron James missing basketball practice because he forgot his socks and there's a stigma around feet.

But New York City is ready to up its tampon game! And hopefully more cities will follow.

"I just felt there was a shame associated with something that just says that you're absolutely healthy," says Julissa Ferreras, a New York City councilwoman. "Celebrating that to me is why we need to remove the taboo."

Ferreras is drafting legislation and assessing the costs of making tampons and pads free in NYC public junior and high schools. In an interview with the New York Post, she raised yet another great point on this issue:

“In a city where we hand out free condoms, we should be making tampons more affordable and accessible."

So what are we waiting for, folks? Let's free the tampon!

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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via Pixabay

A beautiful Christmas tree lot.

Hallmark has produced more than 300 holiday-themed movies over the past decade and they tend to be romantic comedies or stories about families that reunite around Christmas. The movies are meant to be comfort food on a cold winter’s night, so no one seems to mind that they’re filled with predictable plot lines and cliches.

Hallmark movies have become a big part of America's holiday tradition. Last year, more than 80 million people watched at least part of one.

Each film usually begins with a single woman in a small, quaint town having a meet-ugly or a meet-cute with her love interest. In a meet-ugly scenario, the boy and girl are either adversaries in a cause or inadvertently injure one another in a freak accident. If it's a meet-cute scenario, the two randomly run into each other and have an instant connection.

Regardless of how they meet, the couple falls for each other and then a major misunderstanding drives them apart before they are brought together again

Writer Shyla Watson went Christmas tree shopping on November 27 and inadvertently found herself in a situation that resembled the first act of a Hallmark holiday movie. Her tweet about it quickly went viral, receiving more than 72,000 likes.

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Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Cat hilariously rats out owner in front of the landlord.

Maybe it's a right of passage into adulthood or maybe some landlords discriminate against pets because they can't tell people kids are forbidden in their residence. Either way, just about everyone has lived in a rental home that didn't allow pets. Most people just abide by the rules and vow to get a pet when they find a new home.

Some people, on the other hand, get creative. I once came across a post on social media where someone claimed their pit bull puppy was actually a silver Labrador. But one woman on TikTok was harboring a secret cat in her rental that had a no pets policy, and either her cat was unaware or he was aware and was simply being a jerk.

My money is on the latter since cats are known to be jerks for no reason. I mean, have you ever left something on the counter for a few minutes? They make it their mission to knock it on the floor. So I fully believe this fluffy little meow box wanted to make his presence known in an effort to rat out his owner.

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Pop Culture

The Gen X grief when a 'Sesame Street' character dies is so real

We're the first generation to have educational programs molding our core memories.

Bob McGrath, one of the original "Sesame Street" actors, has passed away.

"A loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter."

It's a simple, repeated line from a one-minute sketch, but as a Gen Xer raised on public television, it's one of thousands of "Sesame Street" segments etched into my brain. Such memories still pop into my head at random times, clear as day, well into my forties. Bert singing about his oatmeal box while playing it like a drum. Kermit lamenting that it's not easy—but it is beautiful—being green. Buffy Saint-Marie breastfeeding her baby and explaining it to Big Bird. Mr. Hooper—the sweet, bow-tied man who ran the Sesame Street corner store—dying.

I was 8 when Mr. Hooper died. It was a big deal. I rewatched part of that episode recently to see what I'd think of it as an adult. The "Sesame Street" gang of 1983 handled it masterfully, helping us all process his unexpected death through Big Bird's own experience of learning about what it means to die.

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