Education

UCLA Paper Apologizes For Saying Women Menstruate

The daily paper at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has issued a disclaimer with a recent article preemptively apologizing for saying women menstruate.

The article in The Daily Bruin, published Monday, is an opinion piece calling for the government to provide women with free tampons in order to promote gender equality. That request may strike many as pretty odd, but it’s made even odder by a warning the paper’s editors included prior to the piece itself:

Editor’s note: This blog post refers to individuals who menstruate as women because the author wanted to highlight gender inequality in health care. We acknowledge that not all individuals who menstruate identify as women and that not all individuals who identify as women menstruate, but feel this generalization is appropriate considering the gendered nature of most health care policies.

The note is doubtless intended to avoid flak from the transgender community and its supporters, who argue gender is purely a matter of personal identity. As such, some people may identify as men, but due to being born in female bodies still menstruate. On the other hand, many people born in male bodies may greatly desire to menstruate, but are unable to do so because sex-change surgery is not yet advanced enough to achieve this.

Of course, there’s also the more mundane fact that due to medical issues or simply old age, not all biological women menstruate.

The note itself distracts from the editorial, which makes some bold claims of its own on the necessity of free tampons.

“It’s about time that the federal government recognizes that even the most basic health care needs to start subsidizing the cost of tampons and pads for women, or covering the cost completely,” writes student Zoey Freedman. “Cutting the cost of these products is a crucial step in normalizing menstruation within society, and it provides women who may not have access to these resources the opportunity to feel clean and comfortable during their period.”

Freedman doesn’t elaborate on why she believes menstruation is not “normalized” in society. She also isn’t the first person to push such an idea, as feminist blogger Jessica Valenti made a similar demand in The Guardian last year.

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