The Controversy Of The School That Bleeds

An open letter to anyone who doesn’t (or does) have a uterus.


Art by Elise Goodvin

Dear high school students uncomfortable with “The School That Bleeds” slogan,

Your mom does it. Your sister does it. Your crush does it. Your prom date does it. So why does talk of menstruation make you so upset? 

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Iowa City Community Involvement Club (ICCI) is collecting items such as tampons, pads, soap, shampoo, and conditioner for women at the Shelter House. Women escaping domestic violence and sexual abuse often do not have access to these necessities – items many of us take for granted.

A group of ICCI members designed a collection box for the main office, painted in flowers and featuring the slogan “The School That Bleeds” in cursive – a play on words of City High’s motto. The artwork was immediately covered up by the office staff who claimed the men in the office felt uncomfortable with the slogan. Further, over the daily announcements, our principal would not say the words “pad” or “tampon” for fear of riling up our male classmates. (And instead replacing these words with “women’s products”.)

The taboo of menstruation needs to end. Our principal should not prioritize the comfort of high school boys over women’s health. We understand that one of his main priorities is making sure that classes run as smoothly as possible and that disruptions are kept to a minimum. However, the fact that the subject of donating pads and tampons would cause classes to possibly lose focus is a poor reflection on our society’s approach to women’s health.

It is also unfair to assume the words “pad” and “tampon” would be a distraction for all teenage boys. A majority of guys we have discussed this project with realize that decisions made on this issue should have nothing to do with them; they are of the philosophy “no uterus, no opinion.” We are confused as to why the administration would assume that an issue such as women’s health would cause such a frenzy among our male peers.

Fortunately, after discussing our dissatisfaction, Mr. Bacon allowed the box to be in full display in the main office. Further, he purchased a t-shirt with the slogan “The School That Bleeds” in support of the Shelter House. These acts are a better representation of the open and supporting administration we know and love.

Lastly, for the few who do find this issue uncomfortable, please don’t let our clever little slogan  prevent you from donating. Women at the Shelter House in desperate need of sanitary products shouldn’t miss out on donations just because you feel squeamish. Remember, they also need items such as soap and shampoo – things you use too!

Your friends,

Innes Hicsasmaz and Lucia Wagner