By: Jillian James
Women all across the country are currently paying the price for having a period- literally. The vast majority of states tax tampons and pads as “nonessential products” and tax them under the general sales tax or a gross receipt tax. There has been a call in recent years to remove the tax on tampons and pads and start classifying them as “necessities” or non-luxury products.
Simply put, people are being taxed for items that they must buy to in order to maintain something that they have no control over. The tampon tax is archaic. Pads, tampons, and other items are necessary for women to buy, and taxing them like they are not is biased. It is time for society to start recognizing women’s health and remove the period stigma.
The tax should be removed because it unfairly targets women. In an article published in March 2016, NPR stated that in the state of Wisconsin sales tax is not applied for erectile dysfunction products like Viagra, and yet it is applied to tampons and pads. Historically women have been taught to be ashamed of their period. Now that society is becoming more open and topic is less taboo, the tampon tax is finally being brought up in Legislatures all across the country.
In the Colorado Legislature there is currently a bill with bipartisan support that would eliminate the state sales tax on feminine hygiene products. “Having a period is not a choice, and these products are a necessity. We shouldn’t tax a woman for being a woman, “said Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver).
There have been “free-bleeding” movements and protests in recent years where women don’t wear pads or tampons to illustrate how necessary they are for women’s health. They sit in public places in order to illustrate just how distracting and detrimental it would be if women didn’t wear hygiene products. Whether at work or school, a woman cannot walk around with a period stain on her clothes. Given the choice, the vast majority of women would choose to not have their period, and we shouldn’t be taxed for something that is a natural bodily function.
Contact your local representative and tell them that you want the tampon tax removed. Research free bleeding movements and have discussions with your friends or partner about periods and women’s heath. States should not profit on women’s periods. Its time to accept the fact that all women menstruate and to make tampons and pads as affordable and accessible as possible