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How to explain period poverty using only a box of cereal

Imagine opening a box of Frosted Flakes and finding not a toy robot or glow-in-the-dark pen inside, but tampons and pads. That’s the prize that comes with every box of Loopholes.

No, Loopholes isn’t a real cereal brand. But the statistics its faux commercial brings up are.

Currently one in four teenagers who menstruate in the U.S. do not have access to period products, not to mention those who are homeless or incarcerated. And as the Loopholes website notes, these people are faced every month with the choice between buying food or buying pads or tampons, as no major government programs support period care. While, yes, the FDA does consider these items “medical products,” programs to help low income individuals such as SNAP and WIC classify them as “luxuries,” which puts them in the same category as pet foods, cigarettes and alcohol.

The federal programs do, however, cover food. Hence … Loopholes.

Behold, a cereal commercial like no other:

As the catchy pop song suggests, because the government helps people buy food (not period products), every box of Loopholes comes with tampons and pads inside.

It’s technically food. So it’s technically covered.

Though rarely talked about, period poverty is an actual public health crisis. The financial burden leaves many to attempt reusing single-use period products, or resorting to socks, rags or paper … if not choosing to forgo using anything and bleeding through clothes. All of which can, to no one’s surprise, cause an infection.

To address period poverty, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng introduced the Menstrual Equity For All Act (ME4ALL), an initiative to help make these products more accessible.

The bill would include:

Incentivizing colleges and universities to implement pilot programs that provide free menstrual products to studentsEnsuring that incarcerated individuals and detainees have access to free menstrual productsAllowing homeless assistance providers to use grant funds that cover shelter necessities to purchase menstrual productsRequiring Medicaid to cover the cost of menstrual productsDirecting large employers to provide free menstrual products for their employees in the workplaceRequiring all public federal buildings to provide free menstrual products in restrooms

To raise awareness for the bill, creative agency 72andSunny teamed up with Period: The Menstrual Movement, No More Secrets, The Flow Initiative, Ignite and Free the Period to create this commercial starring OffLimits Spark Cereal as Loopholes and featuring August tampons and pads as the “prizes.” And where you can’t really buy a box of this deliciously inclusive cereal (at least not with the Loopholes packaging), the website’s Action Page does offer an easy way to submit your email to contact representatives. I just did it in 10 seconds.

As anyone who has the monthly flow will tell you, these items are a necessity, not a luxury. They might not be part of a balanced breakfast, but they are part of a healthy life.

Source: Upworthy
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