As women’s issues continue to gain more and more attention in society, some people continue to cling to old, outdated ways of thinking–including some women themselves.
A teacher on Reddit found himself dealing with this dilemma when his female coworker expressed dismay at his habit of providing tampons for his female students in his classroom.
He wasn’t sure if her criticisms were valid or not, so he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by Lowthrowaway22 on the site, asked:
“AITA for keeping tampons/pads in a basket for my students?”
“I’m 38M[ale]. I’m a father of two daughters and I teach high schoolers here in CA. Since we started off the school year recently I’ve been noticing our female students have been having some “issues” and it’s hard for them to have/find tampons/pads etc when they need it.”
“As a father myself, I understand that those are essentials for woman. So same thing what I do with my daughters. I bought a bunch of tampons/pads and placed it in a basket in our class so our female students can grab one at any time and it’s convenient for them.”
“the whole class loves it. Nobody says anything and overall it’s helpful for our students.”
“Now my colleague teacher next-door who’s name is Susan she’s like 60F[emale]. She thinks it’s inapropriate that I have that for my female students and she told me it’s weird because I’m a male. I don’t find it weird or anything.”
“Cause there isn’t anything weird about it? what’s wrong with a period or so nothing. It’s natural and it happens. To make it convenient for my students I made the basket and they love it and I also refill the basket on a constant basis.”
People on Reddit were then asked to weigh in on who is in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And perhaps unsurprisingly, they didn’t get what the problem was either.
“NTA. I think it is really sweet. And it gives them the message that it is totally normal and nothing to be hidden and ashamed of. I wish you would have been one of my teachers. Every time I saw that basket, I would have felt love and acceptance pouring out of it.”
“It is even cooler that you are a male teacher doing it by the way. Because it doesn’t come off as possibly some fem-nazi sort of thing. It is more men that girls need to get this message from that their natural body function is OK. And you are a great role model for the boys as well because it teaches them to have a relaxed and accepting attitude towards the women in their lives.”—Nothing2Chere4Wks
“…your daughters are fortunate to be raised by a father with this kind of attitude. Literally the only time I ever heard my father mention periods was once when I had an opinion (about a social issue, which I expressed calmly) and he said, “What’s the matter, you on your period?” —eleveneels
“I also think it’s awesome, but I hope the basket – while readily accessible – is somewhere where girls who might be struggling with embarrassment, can take necessary supplies without being on display to the whole class while doing so.”
“Normalising menstruation is an admirable goal, but there are likely to be girls in the class whose home life still makes it out to be a shameful thing that must be hidden. They’re the students that are likely to be in the biggest need of supplies at school and for their own peace of mind discretion is essential.”
“I wish all schools did something like this.”
“As an adult woman who recently got married, one of the things that I loved about my venue was they had a little basket like this in the bathroom. Can verify the love and acceptance in that little basket.” —Fleur_Amortentia
“NTA. It’s thoughtful and if you wanna blow Susan’s mind – point out that it’s not just girls and women who menstruate. Various non-binary and transgender people also menstruate. It’s both true and given emergencies in these age ranges are pretty common along with poverty often making things less accessible for some people. I think it’s great.” —Sorcia_Lawson
“100% NTA. Periods are normal and I wish we’d stop stigmatizing them and making girls feel bad. Took me a LONG time to feel comfortable with not hiding my tampon in my sleeve on the way to the bathroom. I’m 37 and finally just felt comfortable with it this year. It’s ridiculous.” —WeWander_
“It really is so awesome that a male teacher is doing this. It’s great he’s being an ally to wanna AND setting the precedent for boys to not be alienated from stuff like this.”
“Guys need to be comfortable with female biology, I’m so fu*king sick of it being labelled as gross or incorrect for them. I’m a guy, but I am so thankful my dad taught me about that, even if it was just in a medical capacity.”
“I still remember the look of pure terror on my first girlfriend’s face when I saw blood on her pants. She was so mortified and was looking at me like I was about to burn her as a witch.”
“I just asked her if she had a brand she wanted me to pop in and grab for her at a nearby store. This woman is now my wife and has repeatedly cited that moment as the first sign of her thinking I was the one.”
“Learn female biology. It can only help you. Possibly in romance, possibly for a daughter of your own, likely for both” —Nitrostoat
After reading his fellow Redditors’ comments, OP came back to offer a heartwarming update.
“EDIT: some kind redditors, are sending me messages asking my Venmo so I can buy more pads/tampons for the class. First off thank you so much. But I don’t need the money! It’s all good.”
“I make a good living from teaching here in CA. so buying pads/tampons isn’t expensive for me. But I appreciate it :)”
Hopefully OP’s coworkers can just let him continue being helpful to his students.