It is time to end period shame

By Caroline Diamond, Reporter

Anne Dierker and her Women in History class recently embarked on a new project surrounding girls’ menstrual cycles that will help to end period shame and create more accessible resources.

With the words, “We’re all period pals at this school” in mind, Dierker requested the woodshop class to make multiple small boxes, which were named Red Box or Period Pals, and then placed them in the girls’ bathrooms along Cleveland’s Franklin Street side.

Each box holds free tampons and pads, and acts as a makeshift trading post. Female students are encouraged to leave their extra pads and tampons, while using the supplies available whenever needed. In this way, a continuous cycle of resources is available when one isn’t prepared. Joyous period poems and sayings also decorate the bathroom, an example being, “Are you on the rag? Then you should brag! Red Box is here for us. And your uterus.”

The pad and tampon dispensers in girls bathrooms are never full, and even when they are, it is infrequent that one brings 50 cents to the bathroom. This poses a health issue and the discomfort that comes with walking back to class to find supplies, only to return to the bathroom again. Having Red Box or Period Pals removes the intermediate steps of dealing with your period while at school.  

Dierker explained, “It’s something that’s good with the community, something that most of us all have in common: periods. We’re taking the shame away from it and the fact that we don’t have to be quiet or embarrassed by our periods and having pads or tampons.”

So, let’s all “take a pad and leave a pad” and remember that our periods are nothing to be ashamed of, only the natural course of our bodies. As Lejla Biberic, sophomore said, “Red Box is good in the sense that it helps tell people that it’s ok when you have your period, and that it is ok to be comfortable with that. If you need help, there is support from the whole female population.”