I never knew how “Mission Impossible” I would feel while posting flyers in a public bathroom, and now I know.
I also know the weird looks that you get when you have three pieces of tape sticking on your face and an arm full of posters, making direct eye contact with someone in a closed stall. Someone literally asked ‘is everything ok?’ when I exited one stall, put my bag on, and went into another stall.. I answered ‘not with the menstrual system!’ I got the biggest literal ‘LOL’ that I had ever heard in a restroom. I think it is important to spread information in a tactile way, allowing many people to get their hands on information that is directly/physically pertinent to about 50% of the UMBC population. We also wanted to make sure that this poster was not female-directed, as not all women need them, and not all men don’t.
We set out looking at sites such as the DivaCup or LunaPads. The information and stats they include on their site is enough to make anyone want to switch to reusable menstrual products, but not everyone knows to look there. Placing these posters directly above the menstrual product disposal can forces people to look the problem in the eye, and also get the information they did not know was out there.
I learned that it was easier to be a feminist than I thought. It’s as simple as figuring out what is important to you, and going from there. Even though slacktivism is the easiest thing to do to promote your activist mentality, actually putting up posters isn’t all too hard either. If it is picketing in an important rally or enforcing spoken word to get your point across, anyone is able to be an activist. We also put out a poll on which products period-having UMBC students use, and it was amazing the amount of participants we had! A total of 37 ‘paws’ and 145 votes! I think that is truly amazing that so many UMBC students participated in our survey/poll, and we were able to see that only 26 out of these 145 students use reusable menstrual products. Obviously there is a need for this type of activism, and a need to educate the other 119 poll takers on what it means to use reusable menstrual products. Even if they don’t buy into it, getting them informed is the first and most important step!
(Project completed with Danielle Dubyoski and Jenna Porter)