Raising Girls – Needing Supplies

When I went to Disney World, I was confident that I’d be able to find family bathrooms. They were pretty standard now – in airports, parks, and other public facilities. Most, but not all. Disney’s park did not disappoint, at least at first glance. We were on our way to the Princess luncheon, an extravaganza of all the princesses my thirteen-year-old daughter could want. On the way, we stopped at a family restroom. But, I get ahead of myself.

I have two daughters, now fourteen and seventeen. The older one is a very typical strong, athletic, independent young woman who takes care of herself. My younger daughter has special needs that make self-care a challenge. Bathing and dressing are tasks that require help. And so, for me, who attended a single-sex school from 5th grade through high school, it’s been more of a feminine education than I might have anticipated.

She had entered puberty by the time we ventured to the Magic Kingdom. And so, I sought a family bathroom to help her. I entered knowing that my wife had given me all the supplies that I would need. I was well versed in what it would all entail. That said, as I set the bag down to pull out some pads, I looked up to see a pad dispenser on the wall. It required only two quarters; whoever was in need would be all set. How often do I carry change around in my pocket? Never. I imagined myself fumbling through the bag, then having to put her back together, go out into the crowds, wade through a line to a register, ask for change, and then return to the restroom, and continue.

Why is it that we have not decided to treat feminine hygiene products in a way similar to the way we treat toilet paper? No one would stand to have to bring quarters into a restroom to ensure they had access to TP. The change seems simple indeed.

Every man on the planet is familiar with women who must manage the challenges of menstruation. Few men are aware of these challenges. As men, we need to be, not only when we have daughters. Our awareness makes for a healthier, more humane world when women do not struggle with this aspect of reproductive healthcare.

So men, find a woman you know well. Sit down, and do some listening and learning. There’s no time like the present.