Written by Erin Martin, Staff Writer
A few months ago the growing international movement to end the “tampon tax”, or the tax on female hygiene products, finally reached the U.S.
Last year there was a movement that shocked the world when two women in the U.K. were “free bleeding” in white pants while on their menstrual cycles. They stood outside of the U.K.’s Parliament as a protest to demand that they remove the tax on tampons and pads, and then posted it on social media outlets. Although it seemed radical to a lot of people, the women who were protesting made a literal point in showing just how much of a necessity pads are for women.
A lot of the advocates against the tax on tampons feel like they are paying a fee for simply having their period. Considering that the government chooses which items that they’ll put taxes on, some women also feel like they are being taxed for a luxury item, when tampons and pads are actually a necessity for all women.
There are still many who haven’t made the decision to end the tax for personal reasons. Most states have denied legislation to end the tax by claiming that tampons aren’t a “necessity”.
All women stand in solidarity with the fact that women don’t choose to have their periods. We all also know that some women may need them more often than others, and there are women with conditions like endometriosis who may need to constantly buy these products for months on end.
People often like to avoid conversation about women being on their cycle because it’s often perceived as a nasty or shameful subject, but it’s a discussion that should probably be had more often. The price for these products can be especially expensive for a lot of women, and it’s good to see it being discussed. These products fall in line with our general health care, and women shouldn’t be “taxed” every month for things that we’ll need for the rest of our lives. Our cycles are inevitable for all of us, and a medical concern for many.
“I think that free bleeding is disgusting, but I can see where the protesters are coming from. Some women can’t really use the cheaper products, and have to get the pads that cost more. The prices for pads and tampons are high, and buying them every month can really be expensive for a student,” Tierra Francis, senior English major, said.
Last July in Canada, they announced to their citizens that they would be ending the tax on female hygiene products. Shortly thereafter, other countries were quickly petitioning for the same right.
So far, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are the first five states to end the tampon tax, and others are still working to get it removed. A couple of weeks ago, Chicago joined in on this growing movement. In New York, five women sued the state of New York for discriminating against this obvious medical need for women.