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Middle School Girls Formed ‘The Revolutionary Girls’ Baking Society’ After Principal Refused Request To Provide Free Tampons

In recent years, there has been a movement among women’s rights activists to educate the public about the harmful cultural stigma surrounding menstruation. This movement, that pushes for “period equity”, aims to make it possible for all women of all ages to manage their period hygiene in a humane and dignified way. Although this mission seems simple, it is actually a deep-rooted and complicated one. 

There is almost a universal culture of shame that surrounds women and menstruation. So much so that according to UNESCO worldwide, lack of access to period products is one of the reasons that many school-aged girls in developing countries miss classes. One study by UNICEF showed that 35% of girls from Niger sometimes miss classes due to the shame surrounding their periods. Other cultures across the world isolate girls from their homes and families when they’re on their periods. In conclusion, the stigma surrounding menstruation combined with structural obstacles preventing school-aged girls from easily accessing hygiene products interfere with their education. And it’s a problem.

Recently, three middle school girls went viral with their creative response to their principal’s refusal to offer free period products in the girls’ bathroom.

According to a Tweet by reproductive rights activist and President of Pro-Choice America Ilyse Hogue, students at a middle school in the U.S. “organized for free tampons in the bathroom” because their school didn’t offer any. Apparently unmoved by the students’ display of activism, the male principal the students’ request. In his response, he stated that students would “abuse the privilege” of free period products in the bathrooms. Rightfully, the students took issue with this reasoning. Three of the female students responded with an eye-catching bit of activism: none other than tampon-shaped cookies, complete with blood-like frosting and strings.  

The Tweet describing the girls’ reaction to their principal went viral, racking up over 9,000 retweets and almost 60,000 likes. Not only were people outraged that the principal refused to provide period products to young students, but they were also upset that he labeled access to menstrual hygiene products as a “privilege”. As the non-profit organization PERIOD so eloquently states on its website: “menstrual hygiene is a right, not a privilege”.

Since the Tweet went viral, the girls that made the cookies have founded an organization called The Revolutionary Girls’ Baking Society, that aims to “bake a difference” through “one bizarre confection at a time”.

According to the newly-formed website, the three anonymous girls decided to form the society once they and their families were encouraged by “the groundswell of support” from the public. The website also provided an update to the situation at their middle school. According to the statement, the “principal and the school board are now working to make sure every girl in [the] town will have the products they need readily available so no girl misses a day of school”. The Society added that they “are very grateful that the school has taken our action seriously and is making a change”. 

Although it’s exciting that these young women were able to make a difference by their activism, the bottom line is, many young women are still negatively impacted by the stigma surrounding menstruation. “Period poverty” is real and it is globally pervasive–America is no exception. According to a recent study commissioned by PERIOD and Thinx, one in five teens has struggled to afford period products or were not able to purchase them at all. Keep in mind, menstruation is a bodily function that most women experience almost universally–the fact that there are still so many obstacles surrounding period management if proof of society’s inherent disregard for women and women’s health.

As usual, the internet expressed its own opinion about a male authority figure asserting a harmful influence over girls’ bodies.

Twitter was pretty vocal about what many considered the principal’s ignorant comments about privilege and menstruation. 

This Twitter user was confused out how “abusing” tampons would work:

The fact is, due to their privilege, many men are ignorant to how expensive period products are and how they can be difficult to get your hands on–especially when you’re in a pinch. 

This Twitter user was frustrated with the principal’s lack of education on the topic of period poverty:

Once the principal’s argument was investigated further, it became obvious that it held no ground. 

This Twitter user exposed the double-standard and built-in misogyny of refusing to offer hygiene products to help handle a normal bodily function:

It’s brilliant arguments like these that expose the hypocrisy of structural sexism and how it works against women at all stages of their life.

The White House Is Keeping How Bad the Coronavirus Crisis Is Getting From Americans

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The White House Is Keeping How Bad the Coronavirus Crisis Is Getting From Americans

Sylvain Lefevre / Getty

Coronavirus cases continue to pillage communities, hospitals, and counties across the United States but the Trump administration is tapping out their best efforts to make sure Americans don’t know it.

In their latest move to ensure concealing information about the coronavirus spread, the Trump administration has recently ordered hospitals to stop sending reports to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and instead reroute them to the Department of Health and Human Services. According to reports from the New York Times, Public health experts say the decision, would make the information unavailable to the public.

The HHS announced the changes last week in a published document.

According to the HHS “hospitals should no longer report the Covid-19 information in this document to the National Healthcare Safety Network site.” The site is operated by the CDC and the data works up to round up “hospital and ICU bed occupancy, PPE supply, COVID-19 hospitalizations, and other information that’s key to tracking the pandemic’s strain on the nation’s hospitals.”

While the CDC has referred to NHSN as “the nation’s most widely used healthcare-associated infection tracking system,” the Trump administration has worked overtime to undermine them.

Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has criticized the organization for its response to the coronavirus incessantly. Michael Caputo, a Trump administration officials, and HHS spokesperson recently told The New York Times that “the CDC still has at least a week lag in reporting hospital data. The new, faster, and complete data system is what our nation needs to defeat the coronavirus, and the CDC, an operating division of HHS, will certainly participate in this streamlined all-of-government response. They will simply no longer control it.”

Dr. Nicole Lurie, a former health official from the Obama administration has been quick to lambast the decision ridiculing the organization for spreading disinformation and distrust.

“Centralizing control of all data under the umbrella of an inherently political apparatus is dangerous and breeds distrust,” Lurie explained. “It appears to cut off the ability of agencies like CDC to do its basic job.”

The decision to take the CDC out of the equation was reportedly helmed by Dr. Deborah Birx. As a member of the White House coronavirus task force, Birx reportedly ridiculed hospital executives for failing to report data adequately. According to the Times, these criticisms took place several weeks ago in a conference call.

Instead of reporting to CDC and using its system, the White House will now send new information to TeleTracking, a private Pittsburgh-based firm.

As Vice recently reported, TeleTracking was awarded a $10.2 million no-bid contract back in April “to provide the Department of Health and Human Services with COVID-19 rapid deployment plan for real-time healthcare system capacity reporting.”

Iowa state auditor Rob Sand released findings earlier this week that pointed out that the state Department of Public Health was the fourth entity in a chain to receive coronavirus test results and criticized the White House for the decision to keep Americans in the dark about how coronavirus continues to spread saying “We’ve asked the question: ‘Why can’t it be reported directly? Why are you routing it this way?’ And we’ve received no answer to it, which suggests to us that there is no legitimate point to do it that way.”

Bolivian Sex Workers Are Using Rain Jackets To Help With Coronavirus

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Bolivian Sex Workers Are Using Rain Jackets To Help With Coronavirus

Morris MacMatzen / Getty

Today, with so many countries across the globe affected by the global pandemic, there’s no denying that industries of all sorts are being impacted. Particularly the sex industry.

With strict social distancing rules being enacted to ensure the health of citizens, sex workers around the world have been particularly impacted. Brothels and strip clubs have been shut down and as such these sex workers have had their incomes put on hold.

In 2016, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated there nearly 30,523 prostitutes were working in Bolivia. To note, today’s population in Bolivia is 11,673,021.

Now, Bolivian sex workers in the capital of La Paz are doing what they can to ensure that they secure their livelihoods.

According to Reuters, sex workers are preparing for work under the new conditions of the coronavirus with bleach, gloves, and see-through raincoats. Described as “biosecurity suits” the new precautions are among a “number of recommendations in a 30-page coronavirus security manual drawn up by the Organization of Night Workers of Bolivia (OTN).” In an effort to help with their work, OTN has urged authorities “to lift the day-time business restrictions put in place during the lockdowns, even if a strict nighttime curfew still impedes their more habitual evening work.”

Speaking to Reuters, Lily Cortes, a representative of Bolivia’s sex workers union, told Reuters ” that some women may have no option but to work on the streets if they could not work in cooperative-run brothels. Prostitution is legal in Bolivia, but procuring it is not.” Antonieta, another sex worker told Reuters that she plans on wearing gloves, a visor, and a raincoat over usual clothes for work. To ensure cleanliness, she sprays a bleach solution on the pole she uses to dance on at the brothel in which she works. “The biosecurity suit will allow us to work and protect ourselves,” she told Reuters.

As of this month, Bolivia has had over 48, 000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,800 deaths. Still, as Reuters points out it is one of the countries with the least number of tests being carried out, which could mean that the actual numbers of deaths and infections could be much higher.

Based on current research, the World Health Organization has asserted that the coronavirus cannot be sexually transmitted.