La Salle’s new menstrual product pilot program


Kylie McGovern, Editor 

Isabelle Pope poses with the feminine hygiene products in the Union

On Feb. 16 La Salle University’s Students Government Association (SGA), Residence Life Association and All Women Every Color (AWEC) teamed up to announce a feminine hygiene initiative to provide tampons, pads and panty liners to students and faculty at La Salle University funded by the campus activity fund. @Lasallesga posted a video on Instagram to launch the menstrual product pilot program making period products available in St. Kat’s and the Union for women on campus, but also for any student regardless of their gender by having some baskets outside of the restrooms as well. Isabelle Pope, the president of SGA; Jua Brooks, co-founder and co-president of AWEC and Acie Barry, co-founder and co-president of AWEC explained the initiative via this Instagram video. This initiative has been in the works since 2019 and today the three organizations came together to announce their progress. SGA encourages anyone to reach out to them with any question as well as using the QR codes next to the products to provide feedback. This initiative will continue for the rest of the semester and if successful this program will likely continue in the future. 

In 2021, bills related to period equity were introduced in 37 states, according to Women’s Voices For The Earth, a nonprofit advocacy group. However, only five states require schools to provide menstrual products. Recently, California became the latest state to mandate that public schools and colleges stock free pads, tampons and other products in their restrooms. Therefore, this initiative at a private and small school like La Salle is a triumph for adequate menstrual product access. 

Barry explains that AWEC is “an organization founded by myself and Jua that is intended to be a safe space for women of color and allies alike on campus to join together and have important conversations. We are dedicated to creating social bonds within our organization and other organizations on campus all whilst also engaging in philanthropic efforts within the local community. We partnered with La Salle SAVE and hosted a hygiene product drive where we collected various items such as pads, tampons, razors, body wash, etc. and will be donating to a local organization called Women Against Abuse. Since the beginning of last semester, we have been researching period poverty amongst students and working with SGA and RSA to make menstrual products free and accessible to more students on campus. The pilot program started today and will run through the course of the year. Hopefully, if everything goes well, they will be in the majority of bathrooms across campus next year.”

In addition, Pope explained that originally, the proposal was supposed to be to get better dispensers in all of the women’s restrooms. The university explained that this was logistically difficult and expensive because matentience would have to be involved. So, baskets with free products seem easier and faster. The project began primarily with SGA in 2019 and 2020. But, by the end of 2021, the process was tough because of COVID-19 and funding issues. However, things began to look up when Pope joined as a member of AWEC and AWEC discussed access to feminine hygiene products. Pope made a connection between the two projects. The partnership made the entire project much faster, and Pope calls the collaboration a “huge learning experience.” She looks forward to cultivating better relationships with all the clubs on campus. 

Horrors of online harassment


James LeVan, Staff

On Friday, Feb. 5, the Washington Post’s “Made by History” section published a piece by Dr. Jamie Goodall (a historian at the U.S Army Center of Military History and expert on the history of piracy) about the Super Bowl and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The main topic of her piece was the problem of romanticization of outlaw figures who, in their heyday, were not revered and heroic as we portray. She did not write about how Tampa should change its name; she did not condemn the city (though given what I saw of the stadium crowding, I might). She merely wished to point out that sometimes the figures we romanticized were not regarded as romantic heroes in their time and that we should remember that. The topic of this article is the threats of violence directed at Dr. Goodall since her op-ed was published and the issue of threats and violence directed at professional women who share their opinion, even an expert opinion.

Dr. Goodall’s piece went viral in the days since its publication. The headline has been tweeted about and retweeted on social media, most notably by former President Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and a vlogger named Matt Walsh who in his bio calls himself a “theocratic fascist, tyrant and beekeeper” (why anyone would admit that about themselves, I do not know). Even the Daily Mail wrote a piece on her and took the time to go through her Instagram and find photos of her wearing a facemask with Jolly Rogers and one professional pic of her where you can see her tattoo of a female pirate, using these as examples that she is a hypocrite. The reactions have ranged from calling her a hypocrite, to attacks towards her former colleagues at Stevenson University, to threats of rape and other forms of violence against her. She has not left social media but she has blocked many of these online trolls and has locked down her account, showing a tremendous amount of strength and courage while being mobbed by a group of people who get upset by a piece saying that not everyone in the past was a romantic swashbuckling hero.

Dr. Goodall’s case is not a one-time phenomenon. Sadly, it is part of a pattern of women who in various industries become the target of online harassment and threats of sexual violence simply because they wrote or said something in their field.. This whole situation brings up memories of both gamergate and comicsgate and how internet figures make it their mission to attack women.

Gamergate was an online harassment campaign directed at women involved in the video game industry. Zoe Quinn, an independent video game developer who created a video about dealing with depression, was targeted with threats of violence and exposing of personal information. In 2014, she did an interview for The Guardian where she said she was afraid to go home and was living on her friends’ couches because of threats against her person. She and several other women connected to video games were bombarded with attacks from anonymous online individuals. These threats included attacks on their professional careers to gruesome images of dead animals sent to their inbox. Comicsgate was a similar harassment campaign but was targeted at professionals in the comics industry, arguing that diversity in writing rooms and the creation of characters who were either female or people of color were ruining the industry. Members of comics forums even created a blacklist of comics creators they argued were destroying the industry (many on the list were women, people of color and LGBT creators). Much like with gamergate, they used online harassment to target women in the industry. An example of this would be the case of Heather Antos and the milkshake photo.

In 2017, Heather Antos was an editor at Marvel Comics and had posted a photo of herself and some of her female colleagues going out for milkshakes after the work week. The spectacularly apolitical photo was quickly bombarded with online trolls connected to comicsgate attacking Antos and her colleagues and arguing that they were the reason the comic book industry was seeing a decline in sales.

These online harassment mobs are a byproduct of a culture war that has been brewing in the United States for decades. The people attacking these women do not really care about history, comics or video games. Rather, they desire to silence individuals and control these industries that they have no real connection to. It is more about making women and people of color in these industries more submissive to their wills and thus unable to speak or voice an opinion. We can see this in all these cases. The desire is not about the financial health of these fields or the quality of content being created. It is about dominating and making the victims of these harassment campaigns submissive. If this all sounds incredibly rapey, that is because it is. Let us speak plainly on this.

In my professional, academic and personal life I have had the opportunity to work with and know numerous women who are quite brilliant and frankly I have no qualms admitting that I am mediocre compared to a lot of them. They all have brilliant knowledge on subjects and opinions but are often silenced or forced to hide their views.. If they don’t, the troll army will come after them and spend weeks threatening their wellbeing. I could honestly write 20 pages on the issues women face in the workplace and online. However, I am not sure I am the right person to write that piece. Instead, all I will say is that in society we must be more alert to these kinds of hate campaigns and realize that they are a threat to the rights and safety of our colleagues, friends, family and fellow human beings. The absence of those voices at the table because of a bunch of angry bloggers would be nothing short of a tragedy for these industries but also for society as a whole and will result in a stifled unenlightened mess.