Saturday, October 19

Zoey Freedman: Responses to controversial post characterize gender inequality


While it seems that many men have an interest in defining gender inequality and what it means to be a woman, it seems few took the time to look up the definition of another word: irony.

Last week, I wrote a column arguing that the federal government should mandate health insurers also provide tampons and pads as part of their standard coverage. More specifically, I argued that this would be especially beneficial for homeless women, women living on food stamps or women living paycheck to paycheck. All women should have the right to the standard health resources they need in order to stay healthy and comfortable while on their menstrual cycle, regardless of their financial status.

But I didn’t know so many men also felt so passionately about women’s access to tampons. Quite honestly, I was blown away by the number of men who took the time out of their day to voice their opinions on this subject. I was particularly impressed by how many men focused their insults on my gender, obviously missing my point – or maybe proving my point – about the gender inequality still present in such basic areas.

I voiced my opinion on equal health care and I was told to get a hysterectomy or to get married so a man could take care of my needs. I was told to drop out of school because it seemed apparent that I wasn’t learning anything anyway. I was called a colorful array of degrading names aimed directly at being a woman. My opinion was even stated by some to be great supporting evidence to the reason for the income gap between genders.

Unfortunately, this type of criticism isn’t an experience unique to me, but it is an experience unique to women. When a woman voices her opinion or makes an assertion, she usually isn’t taken seriously and is instead faced with negative and even misogynistic remarks. This method of criticizing and belittling a woman – by looking at her weight, her personality, her family – differs from the way her male counterparts are looked at and undermines any sort of productivity, whether in the workplace or in a discussion.

The overwhelming volume of comments didn’t focus their criticism on my opinion but rather, made it clear that I was just wrong and outright idiotic because of who I am innately: a woman. Because of these implications, these comments went beyond just being offensive to me as an individual, but to women collectively.

Unfortunately this experience with sexism after voicing an opinion isn’t unique to me. Studies have shown that women face higher criticism in the workplace than men and more commonly receive negative feedback from their male coworkers than the other way around.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, for example, is said to be nagging instead of compassionate, shrill instead of outspoken and constantly has to spend time answering questions about being a grandmother rather than answering other, more productive questions. When Sarah Palin ran for vice president, people criticized her mothering of her children. In another instance, a radio host said about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate.”

In a situation extremely similar to mine, Jessica Valenti, a journalist for the Guardian, faced similar sexist criticism for asking almost the same question as me: Why aren’t tampons free (or at least subsidized)?

Almost a year ago, Valenti asked her Twitter followers, “Anyone know a country where tampons are free or somehow subsidized?” Apparently, this harmless question was too much for some people to handle and warranted malicious personal responses aimed at her gender. Just like my situation, not many offered any sort of constructive criticism or an attempt at an actual discussion. Rather, personal attacks just rained down on her for asking a simple question.

Hateful comments do hurt. And unfortunately, hateful comments and personal attacks just aren’t productive, no matter what anyone may think or how good you may feel after participating in making them. Attacking someone for who they are as a person just because they have a different mindset or opinion doesn’t stop them from having that opinion, and it definitely doesn’t stop them from being that person.

Women are disproportionately dismissed with hate instead of given honest consideration when their opinions diverge from the mainstream. And for what reason? Simply for being female and therefore being considered less worthy of a respectable discussion or reasonable disagreement.

An opinion, whether written or spoken, is meant to start a discussion. But women shouldn’t ever have to think twice about voicing an opinion and we definitely shouldn’t have to expect the worst after doing so, just for being a woman.

Progress in gender equality is happening, whether or not everyone is greeting it with open arms. The discussion on gender is important and needs to be continued. But with that being said, gender needs to be left out from the reasoning for disagreeing with someone’s opinion.

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  • Bob

    This article isn’t nearly as funny as your previous effort. You’re not Onion-ready but you have some talent for comedy. Keep working and good luck.

  • Phil Henderson

    People were not criticizing you because you’re a woman. They were criticizing you because what you said was completely inane.

    • LauraT

      Yeah, only someone who has never had to deal with a period and the costs involved in having one every month, would call her column ‘inane’.

      • Phil Henderson

        Or somebody who has even a rudimentary understanding of economics.

      • Joe Joe

        Every woman on this board has dealt with a period. Most of them are skewering Zoey’s argument. How do you explain that?

      • A Friend

        I would and I’m a woman.

    • John Doe

      And you bring your own toilet paper and soap to school/work I assume.

  • garyfouse

    I commented three times and nothing I said was misogynistic. Nor do I feel passionately about women’s tampons. I merely think that these are things women can purchase for themselves. Sorry, but not everything is provided free in life.

    Now you are wrapping yourself in victimhood, which is sad for a young person fortunate enough to be attending a prestigious university.

    As for Hillary Clinton having to answer substantive questions, I would love for her to do so. Just today, she refused to say whether she supports the Keystone Pipeline. I also wish she would answer questions-fully and honestly- about the use of her private emails at the State Department, her role in Benghazi (before, during and after), and the funny finances at the Clinton Foundation. I could care less about her role as a grandmother.

    Perhaps, some readers wrote inappropriate comments, but the fact is that you wrote a silly article with a silly idea, and people reacted with ridicule.

    • Tokyotempura

      “a prestigious university”… less so every day. Whenever I see my alma mater’s name in the press recently, it’s something humiliating like this. They need to fire the entire admissions staff and start over.

      • garyfouse

        You are right. I should have put quotes over the words as you did. The problem at UCLA is the same as so many other universities. Whatever is good or great is overshadowed by the absurdity.

      • Isaac

        This is what happens when you rely only on news when forming opinions. You don’t hear a reporter saying “here I am in this parking lot where nobody has been shot.” You hear only the bad. You hear only the bad about a fraction of our population acting foolishly. You hear about this, and not our advances in medical research or our hospital climbing the rankings. I invite you to visit our campus, take a tour, walk around, chat up professors engaging in real research. UCLA is world renowned and objectively prestigious for a reason.

        • Tokyotempura

          Isaac, I’m very familiar with UCLA. I went to school there. I know several professors there personally. I live not far away.

          I recognize that the press likes to focus on sensationalism, but I also don’t hear about Jewish students being harassed at USC or demands for free tampons posed in silly pseudo-intellectual political psycho-babble at the University of Virginia. Someday, when you’re an alumnus too, you’ll understand how damaging this is not just to the school’s reputation but to your own as well. Even most animals know not to foul their own nests.

          As a student there, you should be ridiculing those lowlifes loudly and often. Maybe they’ll hear something beyond their own little echo chambers and will think twice before writing columns like the one above.

          • Isaac

            Thanks for the clarification, but your comment was clear already. All universities have issues in that there will always be a small minority to poison the well. I appreciate the thought you gave in your response, but you simply reinforced my point, which is opinions are formed according to how people perceive news stories of the day. By no means am I defending the bizarre and offensive things that go on at my campus, such as publishing of news stories like the one mentioned here, or the anti-semitism. But that there are controversies like these, even divisiveness, is consistent with UCLA’s reputation as a center for political agitation.

            And in any case, none of this, which constitutes a minuscule amount of Bruin contribution, has any bearing on the prestige brought about by immensely productive hard and light sciences research activity, advances in medicine, and contributions of our faculty and their students to their fields generally. Again, I’m not defending the author of this article, and trust that I do speak out for the Jewish community at every opportunity, I simply take issue with the sloppy idea that echo chamber headlines influence our university’s global reputation.

          • AlisonPrescott

            Isaac. I have a simple question for you. All those positives you highlighted, why has there not been one international story? But this politically correct miscreant rant has made news on the BBC, Le Figaro and the Irish Times? You may wish to deny it but the truth is this pathetic excuse for a journalist certainly sullied the great Bruin name in the manner of two articles.

          • Isaac

            I have no problem answering your question. The answer is as follows: see my original response where I talk about how good news isn’t news. My university is not a celebrity, or a president, or a car, so I’m not concerned with the way stories about what happens on our campus are sensationalized, without any of the sensation addressing the positives. You’ve simply characterized news media for what it is, which is focused on negativity. A newspaper could never sell if it published stories only about positive happenings.

            And by the way, what’s with the resistance? I agree with both you about the ridiculousness of this incident, we just disagree slightly along the way getting there.

          • AlisonPrescott

            No I clearly see you are not a proponent of this subject. As a male I would hope you would see how damaging this is in the bigger picture. Zoey is part of a frightening trend of modern feminist. (By the way I am not that old I graduated in 2008;). They are using this victimization crusade to undermine their male peers at every level. They do this because they realize they may not be able to compete on their level so the best way to guarantee their own success will be to lower the bar.

            But I digress, I was not attacking you I was trying to illustrate that more people need to stand up against this type of hate speech, and that’s exactly what she is doing, or else you won’t have any foundation to stand on anymore. As the mom to a 5 year old boy who already sees that he is being undermined at a pre k level…no use of the word FireMAN, PoliceMAN no traditional boy toys like blocks and trucks. They are not able to be called boys and girls they are called students. The fact that he and his friends rough house sends them for a behavioral evaluation. The class setting is set up that is more conducive to female learning patterns…the list goes on. He now attends a private all boys school however the fact that this prejudice is allowed is due in large part to people being afraid to speak out against the Zoeys of the world.

            It diminishes the efforts I and millions of other women have made to get where we are today and more importantly it creates a dangerous narrative for the next generation of young men.

            Sorry I just am very impassioned by this and the negative impact she has had on the Bruin community. I wish you luck with the rest of your academic career regardless,

          • Isaac

            I totally get it. But let’s be clear, my general viewpoint that university reputations are not or should not be influenced by recently sensationalized news says NOTHING about my opinions on controversies like the article discusses.

            You’re basically preaching to the choir, although I know how good it feels to vent. I posted a very lengthy response and concurrence to the main comment above, but the moderators rejected it. The theme was “independent women.” I guess it was too overwhelming.

          • AlisonPrescott

            Understood and respected. Yes I am venting too because the females defending her are asking that she not be bullied. Do they not see her own culpability by basically labeling every male (I am guessing particularly white males) as akin to Attila the Hun . Again Good luck

          • Isaac

            Nice chatting Alison. Thanks for the wishes, good luck to you too.

    • LauraT

      There’s nothing about understanding that tampons and menstruation products aren’t ‘a luxury item’ that is equatable with ‘victimhood’. If you looked outside of your own bubble and tried to understand what life is like for someone who can’t afford these items, or for whom they’re an undue strain on resources – maybe they work all hours in a low paid job? Maybe they’re trying to get back on their feet, or homeless, or for whatever reason, too poor to comfortably afford them – maybe you could have a little compassion and understand where Zoey Freedman was coming from.

      It’s only a “silly article” to inconsiderate men who don’t think about what the realities of a period are – you, dear, would be one of those.

      • garyfouse

        LauraT,

        Exactly where is Zoey “coming from”? Is she homeless?

      • Joe Joe

        Look around you. It’s a silly article to almost every WOMAN who posted on this board.

  • A-Train

    Whatever it takes to justify such utter blithering nonsense.
    Proves inequality or proves the ridiculousness of the idea? Someone’s apparently not use to criticism; sounds pretty privileged.

  • GeorgeJ.

    You’re right, this is a GREAT example of gender inequality: if a man had written this exact same article, he’d have been vilified 100X worse from both men (for being a sellout feminist propagandist) AND women (for speaking on their behalf–THEY DON’T NEED MEN TO SPEAK FOR THEM! OR FOR ANYTHING ELSE). #CanIGetaWitness

    • Mr. Finkleburglestein

      How dare you “mansplain” (eye roll).

  • Riley Secrist

    Your professors aren’t providing you with relevant and effective critique. Your money is being wasted at your school. Any community college writing course professor, if queried for analysis prior to publish, would have saved you some embarassment. Enjoy your job (s) writing puff pieces for local newspapers when you graduate.

  • catholic_citizen

    Look up ‘callow’, ‘self-indulgent’, ‘uninformed’, ‘uneducated’, and ‘vapid’. If the dictionary isn’t handy, just look in the mirror for the definition.
    I fear for the future.

    • Isaac

      She needn’t look any further than your profile picture.

  • matt10023

    Your column was poorly received because it was a petty rant wrapped in the language of gender inequality. It’s the equivalent of complaining about the lack of enough caviar when discussing global starvation issues.

    When you have the privilege of writing a column, you could have picked more fundamental issues like better wages which in turn permit women to afford not only tampons but housing, health insurance, and the copays on medicine.

    I supposed I will be dismissed by you as a mansplainer. Or just maybe you might consider the feedback as an indication that you could do better next time.

    • Renaissance

      ” It’s the equivalent of complaining about the lack of enough caviar when discussing global starvation issues.”

      +1000

    • AlisonPrescott

      The bigger issue is the hypocrisy of the liberal female. I would love to see Ms. Freedman’s thoughts on Sarah Palin, Condoleeza Rice when not doing an article like the one here. I guarantee you she denigrated them at every opportunity because of their perceived anti female platforms. The most antagonistic attacks made on women are BY women. Amongst my gender if you don’t walk goose step behind “progressive” woman you are marginalized by your own peers. It’s the irony of modern feminists. Solidarity is only given to the opinions that favor the enlightened agenda.

  • roccolore

    Typical feminazi.

  • Renaissance

    How is it “sexist” to demand that you grow up and pay for your own feminine products? Should men start asking the government for money for razors and Barbasol to even up the score with women who don’t have to shave their faces every day?

    In my opinion, this is just more First World whining.

    You need to get out of your hothouse, little orchid, and take a trip to Gaza–or maybe what’s left of Iraq. You think Palestinian women’s big worry is free tampons? You think the women being raped by ISIS were thinking to themselves, “Gee, if I only had a free tampon!”

    Thank whatever deity you might possibly believe in that you are sitting comfortably in Westwood on a beautiful campus, close to the ocean, with your “Introduction to Women’s Studies”, a latte with whipped cream, and a phone to text all your friends.

    And pray for those women who are getting oppressed, raped and killed.

    • Louise

      You are not only sexist, but a perfect example of misguided anger, ignorance, and an embaressment to Humankind.
      For a more intellegent understanding of humanity, start your education with ” The Feminine Mystique”, then go get your period every month without being able to afford tampons.

      • Renaissance

        I read the Feminine Mystique years ago. Betty Friedan said nothing about free tampons.

        Friedan was mostly worried about upper middle class, college educated women who felt empty. Her answer was to send them in to the workforce.

        Working class and poor women–who have always worked–thought Friedan was nuts. These women would have given their eye teeth not to be cleaning other peoples’ homes or working in factories (or sweatshops, if they were immigrants).

        Now, explain to me again what this has to do with free tampons, and why thinking that a woman should be a responsible adult makes me “sexist”, “a perfect example of misguided anger”. “ignorance”, and an “embarrassment to human kind.”

        • Louise

          Tell me again what, and how you know anything about poor and working class people ? or Women at all?
          Did you live through the 1950′s to know about College educated women or working class women?,to know that the working ckass thought Betty Freidan was suggesting sonething crazy?or was her observation about the inequalities in our society
          a challenge for women to
          look at everything in life they’ve been handed?
          “The guilded cage” perhaps was what she was asking people to question.

          Look at the big picture, and depth behind the essay/editorial’s suface…
          It’s not about providing free tampons for all college students, or Zoey “wanting handouts”, it’s about poverty and the common needs and difficulties of obtaining reproductive healthcare for Women. Nobody is asking for handouts for those who can afford to buy monthly sanitary products, anymore than poor people are asking for handouts when they desperately need food-stamps because they can’t afford to feed their families, or themselves. The Affordable Healthcare Act, Medicaid and Medicare are programs to help the poor and elderly, they are not simply there to help people sponge off the government…There will always be people who abuse this provision, as there are people in power at big banks, and on Wall Street who will take advantage of those who are unaware of the gambling casino, “rape and pillage”mentality of Capitalism at it’s very worst. You don’t have to be a Socialist to see that inequity in our system…

          Access to Birth Control is every Woman’s right because they are the one’s who get pregnant, as education is every person’s right to have a non-exploitative student loan, at a low percentage rate. This should be the right of all College Students, and Parents in this Country who can’t afford to pay the small fortune a four year college education in the USA costs…
          It’s the level of anger and hostility you’ve displayed that’s in question. Meaning, it’s well over the top in response to a symbolic proposal about poor people needing sanitary products as well as the rest of the women in the USA.
          Men who have erection disfunction are provided with medication which is covered by most healthcare organizations. However, women in need of hormone replacement therapy are not covered. As one gynecologist said recently, ” it makes you wonder who these guys are having sex with?”.

          Mutual respect. kindness and love should be the golden rule in our world.
          I hope you find it, and can always afford everything you need to have in life.
          Nobody chooses to be sick, poor or unable to care for themselves or families.
          Providing the basics of life when those who in need are unable to provide for themselves, is what this is all about.

          Good luck with your life.
          May you always have a roof over your head, and
          all the necessities of life at your disposal.
          Peace.

          • AlisonPrescott

            Please don’t procreate…heck you get subsidized healthcare..use it to guarantee you never reproduce…ever!

          • Renaissance

            1. I grew up working class. My great aunts did piece-work in garment factories. If you don’t know what that is, google it.

            2. Comparing poor people who need food stamps to women of all incomes as a class asking for free tampons is an insult to the poor.

            3. Access to birth control is not a right. If you think it is, you have a misunderstanding of what rights are in the American tradition: please read some John Locke to understand the concept of “natural rights” (on which the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are based).

            4. It is interesting that you saw my comments as “angry”. Do you see anger everywhere you look? Have you always felt this way? The perception of threat when there is none is sometimes the sign of an anxiety disorder requiring medical treatment.

            5. Mutual respect and kindness seem to be completely and utterly lacking in your treatment of others if your comments are anything to go by. I find it amusing that you feel the need to preach what you are clearly incapable of practicing.

            Good luck with your intellectual development, though I don’t hold out much hope.

      • matt10023

        Trotting out a book about a completely different topic suggests that you’re not particularly well read when it comes to feminist writing.

        Here’s a counterpoint from the feminist classics – Virginia Wolfe’s Three Guineas. Instead of wallowing in the victimhood of women, Wolfe makes an intelligent argument for equality of opportunity for women, including schooling and work.

        Now compare Wolfe’s focus with Freedman’s (who seems to be squandering her education that was made possible in part by thinkers like Wolfe). Who would you rather have a conversation with?

    • Mr. Finkleburglestein

      As I said above, by sacrificing one latte a month, she could buy enough tampons for a month.

  • Blake A. Chamness

    Hi Zoey. I don’t know if you are actually taking the time to read these bullshit comments, but I think your idea is a good one. After a quick Googling, it was unclear to me if there was anywhere you can get free feminine products. Some people on yahoo-answersish message boards suggested homeless shelters and Planned Parenthood. However, PP’s site is down (probably due to the recent news things) so I couldn’t find an answer there either. It’s not outlandish that healthcare providers should at least provide the option of supplying women with their basic health needs. I’m also largely posting because it is really disappointing to see so many people railing against you for asking institutions that carry the responsibility of health services to take care of people. As with all internet opportunities to voice your opinion, it is usually only the dissenters that take the time to say anything. Honestly, I was only alerted to your article because someone was calling it and its disclaimer stupid. I disagree with all of that. You are brave. It’s a good idea and shows compassion and empathy for other people. Good work.

    • AlisonPrescott

      Aka..zoey’s mother.

      • David Baker

        I wonder whether Zoey’s mother is now regretting NOT keeping that appointment at Planned Parenthood…

        (Too far?)

    • matt10023

      Toilet paper is also a basic hygiene item and over a month more expensive than tampons. Where’s your empathy and compassion there? Oh, men need that too so it doesn’t pass the gender bias litmus test.

      • Renaissance

        Neither Blake A Chamness nor Zoey shows any empathy to the taxpayers who will be footing the bill for all this “free” stuff; no empathy to the citizens of a country that is
        already trillions in debt; no empathy for their children who
        will be expected to pay back the trillions in debt.

        I guess it’s easy to “have empathy” with other people’s money.

    • Joe Joe

      “However, PP’s site is down (probably due to the recent news things)…”

      You mean due to being accused of illegally selling fetal body parts?

      http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/cmp/investigative-footage/

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV2U9unI1NM

    • WarLah

      Agreed with everything written here!! Best of luck to you Zoey!

    • Renaissance

      1. “I’m also largely posting because it is really disappointing to see so
      many people railing against you for asking institutions that carry the
      responsibility of health services to take care of people.”

      What institution is supposed to take care of you for free?

  • http://avoiceformalestudents.com/ Jonathan Taylor

    How typical of Feminists. When their ideas are bad, they hide behind being a woman, and mischaracterize any attacks on their bad ideas as attacks on women. It’s almost as if to say “I can never be wrong, because I am a woman.”

    I think we have found who the real sexists are. If they had their way, Feminists would characterize going to the nail salon as health care as well and demand that we all pay for it.

    • Mr. Finkleburglestein

      The government is being given the traditional role of the husband.

      • AlisonPrescott

        Exactly..yet those like her do not see the irony.

    • Joe Joe

      Being a modern feminist means never having to say you’re responsible.

    • Ella Hill Smythe

      Right on Jonathon….gee, do I miss the days when feminism meant progress, change, working together to improve not only women’s lives, but the lives of everyone, men, women, black, white, etc….. Now all we seem to have today are little cowards who whine and complain at the first hint of criticism, while always falling back on the “I’m a woman and you’re picking on me” syndrome. How on earth did we fall this far this quickly?

  • http://jack-burton.hubpages.com/ jack burton

    I think EVERYONE should get free toilet paper. That is certainly a “health issue” that affects men and womyn alike.

    • Mr. Finkleburglestein

      How about better quality tap water, something we already pay for, that really is a serious health issue that effects everyone?

  • Angela

    Please just stop. No one is bashing anyone solely based on their gender. If someone criticizes your work, maybe it’s because your work deserved to be criticized. You don’t get a free pass just because you’re female and it’s offensive that apparently you think that you should. I read all of the comments from the original article and the overwhelming majority of the negative comments gave valid reasons why they thought the idea of subsidized tampons was dumb. And in this response piece you’ve ignored the comments from the women on the original article. All of the comments made by women showed that we thought you were representing women poorly. The consensus among the females who commented was unanimous. We all felt that you portrayed yourself as a princess who wanted someone else to take care of her. It seems to me, by writing this piece, you’ve shown that you are unable to accept criticism of your work or that you may be incapable of considering that a lot of people just plainly thought you were wrong. I really think you would benefit by growing up and realizing that equality doesn’t mean men have to be nice to you. I promise you, if a guy had written the piece you wrote he would have been roasted.

    • disqus_Rzq5M0SnJJ

      I work on a TV show looking to discuss this topic. Can you please contact me at [email protected]?

  • backwoodsMT

    In Clinton’s newest ad, she plays up the fact that she is a grandmother, mentioning it herself. I believe in all her branding efforts, being a grandmother has been the only constant. Like you previous article, you have failed again.

  • phyrman1

    The response has zero to do with you being a woman, and everything to do with the preposterousness of the idea and the thinking of yours that lies behind it.

    You seem to believe that you are fully informed about all of the nuances of the ideas of which you speak, which you clearly are not. Instead of thoughtfully considering the contrary viewpoints of those who responded to you, you automatically dismissed them and labelled them as sexist or worse. Irony much?

    Finally, you say that gender issues and differences are worthy of being talked about – but apparently only when you want them to be. You say they should never come into play when disagreeing with someone’s viewpoints. Yet you did this yourself – you labelled many of the viewpoints made against your own as being “sexist”, “demeaning to women”, and the men who disagreed with you as being behind the times. You can’t have it both ways – either gender gets to be part of all discussions or none.

    In the end, though I applaud you for trying to think about issues of the day and coming up with ideas on how to address them, I have to take issue with your seeming idea that you are in a position to actually make policy suggestions that someone in government may act upon. You have a long way to go before you can begin to have a true understanding of the world – at this point, all you are learning is other’s opinions, and not very many of those. I would encourage you to be more open to other ideas that do not agree with your own, and to develop a broader understanding of life and consequences before you actually suggest changes to a government program.

    And by the way – NOTHING is “free”. Ever. In more ways that you can yet imagine.

  • Mr. Finkleburglestein

    “While it seems that many men have an interest in defining gender inequality” So now men should have no say on the topic of gender inequality? Hey Zoey, this is gender inequality against men, in your very first sentence, THAT is irony.

  • Mr. Finkleburglestein

    At the sacrifice of one latte a month, Zoey Freedman could buy her own tampons. If she went to the dollar store, one latte every three months.

  • AlisonPrescott

    As a former Bruin I was directed to this highly intellectual diatribe from one of our most erudite snowflakes. As a woman I am embarrassed that this is the generation that my son will be subjected to when he attends college.

    Let’s start with the fact that if this article is the result of US high school academia, Ms. Freedman has bigger concerns than blood dripping down her legs during Econ 101. (Although I suspect her major is “men are evil, women good”). One has to wonder what household reared this sense of entitlement. I suspect mommy is a product of the 80s “I am woman hear me roar”.

    Some here have argued, correctly so, that women 40-50 years ago were able to function highly independently without having to stand in the bread (tampon) lines. But I will address it as recently as 20. I am the product of an incredibly strong independent woman. She was not independent by choice but life’s events gave her no choice. One day in December 1995 my father was driving home with my three older brothers age 5,6,8 when they were t boned by a drunk driver. All died instantly. That left my mother who at the time was fighting stage 2b breaths cancer alone to raise her 18 month old daughter alone. With no extended family to help out she forged on. Never expected handouts she would have rather died. It was difficult but we managed and eventually prospered due to her embodiment of a truly strong woman.

    Mom died when I was in High School which left me completely on my own. I had no grandparents, nor aunts and uncles. Thankfully I was able to finish out my teen years in the home I grew up in. Shortly after graduation I worked 2 jobs to subsidize my desire to go to college. Never once did I take handouts nor expected any. I am now a professional, married with a son and completely independent. It’s amazing that my self reliance came from my efforts NOT provided by government programs.

    I would challenge Ms. Freedman to live a little before proselytizing to the world in her myopic woe is me view. I too challenge the many female Bruins to keep reminding this self made martyr everyday about her great fortune and opportunities given to her by the sacrifices of MEN and women before her.

    If she were my daughter I would change my name, phone number and move before the Fall Break.

    • raybbr

      Congratulations to you! Women like YOU are what defines success – NOT the whining, simpering “victims” that demand fealty to their own insecurities regarding life.

    • Havertownmom

      I came here after reading The Daily Mail. The author should be proud to know that she is now being mocked internationally. I pray that I am doing my job as a mother correctly and hopefully will churn out young women who emulate you and not Zoey Freedman. God or whoever is out there, help us if she is indicative of an entire generation.

      • LauraT

        Well done for being the type of person who reads the Daily Fail! You must be so proud.

        • AlisonPrescott

          Usual tactic of young feminists. Attack with no substantive argument. Be proud.

    • Ella Hill Smythe

      I was going to make some reply to this over-educated, myopic, self-entitled, whiny, sorry excuse for a feminist, but your response is perfect. We women have fought long and hard for progress and change, both in our personal lives and in the work place, and without asking for handouts from anyone, especially not from the federal government. However, unfortunately, colleges and universities are now churning out these feather-brained females who cannot function on their own unless someone is holding their collective hands, offering safe rooms to hide in, and posting lists of trigger words outside of classrooms before they even attend the class. If interested, check out any of Christina Hoff Sommers’ interviews / videos on Youtube, and that will give you a clue as to why so many of us fear for the future of this country, and for any progress we women have made.

      • Jillian Porter Murray

        Totally agree with you.

    • mverner

      I’m sorry for your difficult upbringing, but your mean-spirited comments regarding “government handouts” should be directed elsewhere. We get it – you are against government handouts because you were self-sufficient and “made it” on your own. But this is a college student writing for a college newspaper about gender inequality as well as online bullying – something that you clearly do not understand. It is quite sad that you have no empathy or compassion for this woman; instead you feel the need to insult her in the comments section of the online newspaper. If you were my mother, I’d be ashamed.

      • Jillian Porter Murray

        Boo Ho

        • Renaissance

          +100

        • MarkObrien

          Sorry had to laugh at the tampon strapped to her back analogy. My daughter calls her Tampax girl now.

        • mverner

          No, your university was not a laughingstock because of the author’s comments – the criticisms I have seen are due to the completely juvenile and backwards comments that tear down the author instead of actually discussing the ISSUES. Again, missed the mark with your comment because it had NOTHING to do with te original posting. But if insulting people behind a keyboard is your idea of fun, have at it – how sad for you.

          • MarkObrien

            Boo hoo precious snowflake. You must be related to or friends with the “journalist”. I wouldn’t use my real name either in that case. My daughter who is a Bruin said MANY students think she is a joke. So yes she has marred the school but hopefully she realizes what a complete fool she now looks like. I like others here have every right to voice our embarrassment for this once respectable school. Sadly the Ms. Freedman’s of the world are out there in force.

          • Teresa F.

            Hopefully your daughter and her friends will be the majority and not the Zoey Freedmans.

          • mverner

            I actually live across the country and have no dog in this fight. I just think it’s sad that parents of college students spend their days insulting people half their age. And again – your comment has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic of the initial article, it is only an attempt to insult the author. But nice try.

          • Renaissance

            ROFL! :D

          • Teresa F.

            When you put a very big black mark on an institution many of us adore it does not matter what your age. We will defend its honor that Ms. Freedman has damaged. She is disgustingly weak and I at least am finding solace that many of my fellow Bruins agree that she went too far. If you have no stake in this move along you are not needed nor does your opinion matter as evidenced by the lack of support.

          • Joe Joe

            ROFL! :D

        • disqus_Rzq5M0SnJJ

          I work on a TV show looking to discuss this topic. Could you please email me at [email protected]?

      • AlisonPrescott

        Feeling is mutual I would be ashamed if I raised a weak individual like you too. Judging by your other comments I highly doubt you have no personal interest invested here. Did mommy get upset because I judged how she reared her snowflake?

        • mverner

          I actually live in Florida. I decided to write my initial comment because I am simply ashamed at how fellow citizens treat each other online. And judging by these comments, I am proud I am not part of the Bruin community. Thanks for helping me to realize what I’m not missing out on.

          • Joe Joe

            If you can’t stand the rough and tumble of the public square, perhaps a nice kitchen is a good place to be.

          • mverner

            lol good one.. the typical “below the belt” response to a woman for men who have no legitimate argument

          • Joe Joe

            No, the typical response TO a woman who has no legitimate argument.

            Now, make me a sammich.

      • AlisonPrescott

        Dear Mallory Verner, you may not want to post on Twitter so much in support of someone you supposedly do not know. It seems you have been following Zoey for a while now. I was directed to her Twitter account by my good friend who happens to be the Managing Editor at Conde Nast and lo and behold there you were. Surprise surprise. What a little liar..typical modern feminist.

        • Renaissance

          Way to catch Mverner in a lie! Good work!

        • mverner

          Does “a while” mean 3 days? If so, you are completely correct. You are such a good sleuth, Mrs. Prescott – welcome to my public Twitter account lol

          • MarkObrien

            You are just pissed because she caught you out for the loser you are Mallory!

      • Havertownmom

        Get a grip , you obviously are one of those pseudo intellectuals (judging by your comments not that intellectual) who was raised by her parents to think she is the second coming. Also it’s pretty clear the OP is too young to have college age kids if she was a baby in 1988. However you probably know trash that had kids as a pre teen. Why not go do something useful with your life instead of defending those who deserve all the criticism they are getting. Love that the OP called you out on your lying.

        • mverner

          Thanks for the comment… it brought nothing to the table :)

          • MarkObrien

            Mallory Verner sweetheart I would be very careful what you write publicly now. I know the judge you used to clerk for…we are very close. I am grateful to Alison Prescott for making your name public. I am sure Judge would be so happy to see the manner with which you conduct yourself on social media. Pretty immature for one who wants to be a public interest lawyer.

          • mverner

            I never clerked for a judge…? And there is nothing said in comments, on Twitter, etc. that I wouldn’t say in person to someone. I don’t mind that someone knows my name… that’s why those social media accounts are public. If the way I “conduct myself” on social media is inappropriate because I simply stand up to people who I feel are cyberbullies, then fine – I’m glad to be “inappropriate.” Though I do find it odd that someone would put forth such an effort to look me up online… Nonetheless, my main purpose in commenting days back was to try to encourage commenters to act in a civil manner when they don’t agree with the author – hurling personal insults towards someone you don’t agree with does nothing productive. And, of course, I wanted to show support for the author and have an educated conversation about the article topic. Clearly that is not happening, so it’s no longer worth the time or energy. It is apparent that we are never going to see eye-to-eye, so there is no reason for me to be on these comment threads. I don’t want to spend my time bickering with people online – not my idea of fun.

    • MarkObrien

      I too am a former Bruin (87) and my daughter is class of ’17. Both her mother and I as well as my daughter had a good chuckle over the original piece. We assumed it must be satire but sadly this defense clearly shows she actually believes she is being persecuted. To the poster below who condemns you for picking on a college student, Zoey knows now how her opinions will be received. No kid gloves or trophies for all in the real world. Alison Prescott simply calls her out on her hypocrisy.

      I certainly wish you were the role model for women today and not the Lena Dunham’s or now the Zoey Freedman’s of the world. As far as her writing skills I do have to admit that the Daily Bruin was never a respected college paper so she is living up to their reputation with aplomb.

    • Teresa F.

      Completely agree. Fellow Bruin in London and I was flabbergasted by her ignorance. I made my displeasure known to the board.

    • disqus_Rzq5M0SnJJ

      I work on a TV show interested in discussing this topic. Could you please email me at [email protected]?

    • ptullis

      Your mother’s difficult experience does not contradict the writer’s argument, which, as a professional journalist, I can assure you is quite well-written. I think you ought to examine why you had such an angry response to a well-reasoned, articulate argument–you say you disagree, yet you do not address her argument on the merits.

  • abuabu

    Tampons and Pads are not heath care. You can purchase 5 sets of washable pads for $500.00 that will last you your lifetime. I as a taxpayer should not have to support you tampon and pad needs. I am a women.

  • Sirenx

    Is it just me or is everyone still missing the point? While Zoey has used tampons as her means of demonstration, her point is that the health care system and government subsidization, along with a number of other parts of society, still shows a gap in gender treatment. She is pointing out that while erectile dysfunction medication is covered by insurance, without much fuss, there is still disagreement about whether birth control should be covered, mostly by religious employers, but there are other companies as well. She is allowed to state her opinion, as are you, about the topic being discussed. The author, or more to the point, the author’s gender, is inconsequential (no offense, Zoey) to the discussion. The question isn’t “how do you feel about free tampons?” It is, “do you think there is a gap in the treatment of genders when receiving health care and, if you do believe there is, how do you feel about that gap?”

    • Havertownmom

      We get her point. It’s one of entitlement. It’s her analogy that has resulted in being mocked from L.A. to London.

    • Angela

      Medications for erectile dysfunction are not covered by most health insurance plans. Religious employers, such as those affililiated the Catholic church, don’t want to cover birth control of any type but employers like Chic Fil A only object to birth control such as Plan B. The gender gap isn’t really there but politicians like to tell you it is.

  • Teresa F.

    This morning while on the tube in London I had to do a double take when I saw the DailyBruin mentioned in an international paper. I was so proud to see my alma mater being recognized across the pond so to speak. My delight turned to dread and then anger when I read the reason why we made the news. Do the editors here realize what a complete joke your paper and the disclaimer by the editor have become? I am amazed you allowed this idiot to write not one but two pieces on this subject. Yes of course we know she meant to draw attention to gender inequality blah blah blah. Did she not learn anything from Fluke? Come on now stop expecting everything for free or to not have earn your way. Your mother should be embarrassed at the ignorant, entitled daughter she produced.

    I am disgusted by this excuse for journalism and have made my displeasure known to the alumnae board in the form of canceling my yearly donation.

    Good Luck dear Bruins you seem to be allowing the patients to run the asylum.

  • AlisonPrescott

    I just contacted my senior editor friend at Cosmopolitan to address the author Noelle D who supported Ms. Freedman and referred to anyone who had a dissenting view as trolls. I mean if she is upset by being targeted it’s only right that someone stand up for her male peers, and as it appears many female ones as well. You can expect a public apology from that author by the end of the day.

    • Havertownmom

      Good for you. She is a hypocrite because she cries about being picked on but has no qualms about ripping apart her male peers. #patheticfemale.

    • matt10023

      I’ve noted this tactic of calling writers “trolls” when women do not like dissenting opinions, no matter how politely stated.

      It’s a little like telling people to “check their privilege” or trotting out the “sexist” label when someone has a different opinion.

      It may make them feel better, but it’s evidence of an inability to make a persuasive case and it’s lazy.

  • Sarah

    After reading both articles I think I understand where this women is coming from. Having your menstrual cycle is still hushed away. I still hide my tampons in my hand when going to the bathroom or take my whole purse because I do not any one to know because people think it is gross. I agree that by having the government cover items such as tampons or pads is a great way to provide women what they need during their cycle as well as make it a normal part of society. I am shocked how many mean spirited comments are on here and the other post, as a woman I do not see Zoey as an embarrassment to our gender but someone who is simply speaking their own mind. There are some parts where I believe she could have been more understanding on, especially when it comes the products men are covered for. Don’t get me wrong I totally agree that tampons and pads should be covered but the way it was said was a little aggressive. Otherwise thought the article was well written and made a good point. Don’t let the haters get you down Zoey, never be afraid to speak your mind, and know that there are many people who support you and the article!

    • matt10023

      It would seem that you’re doing the hushing when it comes to your tampons.

      Being private about personal hygiene is not a sexist thing.

      As the kid’s book points out, “everybody poops”, but few people announce their intention to people around them when heading to the bathroom.

    • Havertownmom

      You create your own narrative in life by the quality of your actions. All I can deduce from your rant is that you take female martyrdom 101 as well as Zoey. Time to put your big girl pants on and realize that YOU control how the world perceives you.

    • Joe Joe

      Wait–you want the taxpayers to spend money to validate your feelings about your period?

      Couldn’t you just read Judy Blume and save us all the money?

  • PrincessButtercup

    I’m a woman, and I promise my criticism has nothing to do with your gender. If you’re going to assert an opinion that has not been actually thought out and requests complete strangers to pay for your personal care items, then you need to prepare for some serious backlash. And honestly, as your critics carry on this conversation, your position appears more and more silly. ‘Tis time for you to accept criticism as a catalyst for self examination. No more participation trophies, Dear.

  • Kris Chringle

    why does this appear in a written News article? It sounds more like a personal problem which should be discussed amongst friends. But, keep it OUT of journalism. …..and, grow up.

    • Joe Joe

      The personal is political, and the politics are socialist.

  • Josh Heath

    Your argument is spot on and very well written. As far as the criticisms go, I feel it’s far better to get 1,000 comments directed at you that have very little logic behind them then a single critique that’s well-reasoned and blows your point to shreds.

    • Havertownmom

      1/ she has made herself look like a victim to the international world who are mocking her 2/ she has 80 comments and about 75 are negative. All 75 have valid rebuttals to her two martyr based “journalistic” pieces. 3/ she has many woman on here who are embarrassed she speaks on our behalf 4/ she is a coward and hides behind the “I am being picked on” defense. 5/ she clearly has not read the ACA account which shows that more females benefit from government funding than males by over 65%. 6/ she writes like a second grader. 7/ she will be hard pressed to ever be taken seriously for never owning up to the role she played in this swathing of dissent.

  • BoredHousewife

    An article about deliberate price gouging (if there is any) for specific necessities would have been interesting. Corporate behavior of that sort could be actionable. But your argument –asking for free stuff because you feel you need it — it is not an argument anyone is going to take seriously. Feminine hygiene products take up a small portion of my shopping cart (filled with things I feel I need) every week. I can’t have it all for free. That’s life.

    I am guessing you grew up without brothers. Should we subsidize OTC treatments for jock itch, like Lotrimin? What about athletic supporters? Have you checked the price of men’s razors lately (and there is some evidence of price gouging on blades)? In fact, I recently helped my elderly father subscribe to online blade delivery because the prices of the blades at the local drug store were sky high.

    As for providing services for homeless — both male and female homeless could benefit from many free services — your original article clearly wasn’t focused on their needs in any serious way.

    As others have said, you are being criticized for your article. You are not being criticized for your mere existence as a woman.

  • Blake Channing

    Another amazing article! Ignore all the hateful comments. None of them have anything useful to say anyway (which you probably already expected from your previous article). With a great cause comes great backlash, so just look at these comments as white noise until you can actually find a voice of reason who will actually engage in a discussion with you, rather than call you insulting names and spew out vitriol to prove their point. If it weren’t for socially conscious women like you, women would still not have the right to vote. Keep fighting the good fight, and I hope that you know that there are a lot more of us who support you than hate you (although, you probably couldn’t tell judging by the phallus-fest going in the comments section below your article, where I guarantee you most of the commenters- with their innocent looking female names- are actually men).

    • AlisonPrescott

      Typical modern feminists, unwilling to believe that their own peers don’t follow blindly. I guarantee you I am a female and a 2008 grad. If you have an open mind, which is obviously lacking from the post above, you will see many of us have valid arguments. Fiscally the government cannot handle this additional burden which is over 1 trillion dollars to cover all females for 40 years. Furthermore I hate to burst your myopic world view but Ms. Freedman is being ridiculed by just as many women as men. In fact more so. Expand your horizons past the huffington post and msnbc.

      Comparing this cause as similar to the suffragettes is so moronic but indicative of the entitled mentality of you and the Zoey’s of the world. You use the victim tactic when challenged.

      Wait until you get into the real world my dear the woe is me act is very limiting.

      • Blake Channing

        I didn’t say I was a feminist. I didn’t even mention feminism. So why bring it up unless you have some weird agenda to bring it down…

        But that’s none of my business, “Alison”.

        • Renaissance

          Well, are you a feminist, “Blake”?

    • louisiana_mom

      Start a charity to fund tampons if it’s that important to you. I don’t want to pay for anyone else’s products. Women like you and the girl who wrote this article are making women across this nation look bad. You are saying women are not strong enough to make it on our own, we need someone to provide and look over us. If that’s the case, women need to go back to getting married and having a husband who provided and took care of her while she stayed home and raised the children. We have gone from “I am woman, hear me roar.” to “I am woman, hear me whine.” in my lifetime. Grow up, pull up your big girl pants and buy your own supplies.

      • Blake Channing

        My comment disappeared so I’m reposting a paraphrased version of it.

        Someone can be considered to “whine” if they argue or complain without substantiating. Zoey Freedman has consistently substantiated all of her arguments in this article and in the previous one. You, on the other hand, have not.

        I think it’s clear to see who’s doing the whining here.

        • louisiana_mom

          No, she has not substantiated any of her arguments. Her “arguments” boil down to “I want and you should give me, or you are a sexist.” There is no reason for the taxpayers or insurance companies to provide tampons. IF a woman cannot afford tampons, she can use a rag safety pinned to her undies, like women did for centuries before the invention of sanitary products. Or maybe she could prioritize her spending to pay for them… say give up a latte once a week would more than cover her monthly expenses. No one is owed anything in this world and the taxpayers are tired of footing the bill for every want.

          I on the other hand did substantiate my argument both times.

          • Blake Channing

            A RAG?? I honestly can’t take that suggestion seriously. Why don’t we all also start beating each other with clubs and forage through forests so our families can eat nuts and wild boar for dinner.

            Also, “buh bye”? This isn’t a garden party- it’s the internet, and unfortunately I still have to deal with your BS.

          • louisiana_mom

            Yes, a rag. I don’t give a flying flip what you wear, I don’t want to pay for it. Either prioritize your spending to buy products or wear a rag for all I care. THAT’S what being independent means. It means you stand on your own two feet without anyone else paying for anything. What you are wanting is to be dependent on someone else to pay for things.

          • Renaissance

            Blake’s knowledge of historical time is rather amusing. Anything before the invention of the modern tampon in 1933 is “beating each other with clubs and foraging through the forests.”

          • Renaissance

            People “beat each other with clubs and foraged through forests” in the 1920s? In the US? (When women did wear rags…)

    • Joe Joe

      “If it weren’t for socially conscious women like you, women would still not have the right to vote.”

      ROFL!!!!!!!

      • Blake Channing

        My comment disappeared for some reason. Anyways, I’ll repeat it.

        Did you seriously use the word “ROFL” in 2015 and then put my comment in quotations without actually explaining why you found it so amusing in the first place, thereby proving how easy it is to be an a#%hole on the internet?

        You just made fun of yourself for me. Much appreciated.

        • Joe Joe

          So you got nothin’ except complaints about old fashioned internet talk. :D

          When I was a child, we walked through six feet of snow–uphill– to get an internet connection. You young’uns don’t realize how lucky you are!

          ROFL! :D :D :D

    • Angela

      I am, in fact, a woman. Zoey’s argument in favor of subsidized feminine products was ridiculed because it was ridiculous. Tampons are not healthcare, they are sanitary items. Menstruation is not a disorder, it is natural and happens to most every woman. When someone writes a sentence like “to help them get boners” you really can’t expect them to be taken seriously. And a woman who has to make a choice between food and tampons already gets her food needs met by various government and social programs. I can’t say for certain but I would imagine that programs for the homeless already know that women menstruate and are prepared to supply the sanitary items needed. Then Zoey suggested that homeless women could take their subsidized tampons and use a restroom, such as one in a restaurant, to attend to their feminine needs. I also can’t say for certain but I would imagine this would be frowned upon.
      I suggest that Zoey take her energies and apply them to something more worthy and just consider this as an opportunity to learn something. She had a dumb idea and was called out on it. Move along to the next project and consider that most of the comments do actually have some merit, especially those posted by women who are old enough to be Zoey’s mother or grandmother. Those women have something to say and Zoey might learn something from them.

  • louisiana_mom

    Sweetie, if tampons are too expensive for you or you are too stupid to prioritize your spending to buy tampons, wear a rag. That’s what women did for centuries up until my Grandmother’s time. Safety pin a rag into your undergarments and wash them out. Simple and inexpensive without having the working taxpayers of this nation fund yet another entitlement program.

  • Renaissance

    Dear Zoey,

    This article appeared in the same British paper where your 1st World tampon request was roundly guffawed.

    Read: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3186229/ISIS-executes-19-girls-refusing-sex-fighters-envoy-reveals-sex-slaves-peddled-like-barrels-petrol.html

    ISIS fanatics have executed 19 women for refusing to have sex with its fighters, a
    Kurdish official has said. They were put to death because they refused
    to ‘participate in the practice of sexual jihad,’ a spokesman for the
    Kurdish Democratic Party in Mosul told Iraqi News.

    She also verified a disturbing ISIS document which suggested the extremists
    sell the Yazidi and Christian women and children they have abducted,
    with girls aged just one to nine-years-old fetching the most money.

    [A] shocking document described the women it abducted as ‘items’ and
    claimed a decrease in demand of ‘women and cattle’ affected ‘Islamic
    State revenues as well as the funding of mujahideen in the battlefield’.

    It then gives the prices of women and children by age, with one to
    nine-year-olds costing the most – around £110. The older the women, the
    lower the price.

    An ISIS video released in November last year appeared to show an ISIS ‘sex
    slave market’ where fighters can choose among different Yazidi girls
    who are priced according to ‘desirable’ physical features.

    Only last month, three Yazidi women who were forced to become jihadi said
    they were raped ‘five times a day’ after being traded as human cargo.

    Bushra, who tried to kill herself when she was sold to an ISIS extremist, said:
    ”He raped me about five times a day. My sister was barely 14 when they
    raped her… I could hear her screaming but I couldn’t do anything as I
    was tied up.’

    …hundreds, and possibly thousands, have been forced to marry, ‘sold’ or
    given as ‘gifts’ to Islamic State fighters or their supporters – and
    many held as sexual slaves are girls younger than 14….

    SO, WHERE ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOUR WOMEN’S STUDIES PROFS? Asking for free tampons, apparently.

  • welby

    I totally agree with the author. Gender should be left out of criticism. That said, her original article was a perfect example of how every idiot with a computer doesn’t necessarily hold a well thought out, valid opinion. So I’m here to criticize her for being an idiot, not for being a woman.

  • http://essayhawks.com Greg William

    Honestly, I feel that it is difficult for writers bent on feminist agenda to write entirely neutral article. I don’t think they criticized you because you are a woman. They were just indifferent to your ideals

    # Column Writer

  • Jack Strawb

    “I voiced my opinion on equal health care…”

    No, you advocated for continued unequal health care, and for an increase in the substantial advantage women already enjoy in the area of health care and coverage even after accounting for reproductive and maternal health care. This occurs, remarkably, within the context of women enjoying a higher life expectancy by around five years.

    Try again.