When I was a sophomore in highschool I went to a teammate’s beach themed sweet 16. After having one too many shirley temples, I went to the bathroom to find a friend of mine hysterically crying in the stall. She’d gotten her period unexpectedly and was going to ruin her white shorts. She was so hurt and embarrassed I gave her a tampon and my cardigan to tie around her waist until her mother came to take her home. Thanks to a few friends she had avoided the humiliation that so many women and girls know all too well. She also realized just how much of a necessity tampons are.
The United States on the other hand is not as sensitive as I was that night. One could say our government isn’t sensitive to women’s need of tampons at that time of the month at all. In fact, they consider stopping your bleeding through your clothing a taxing process. Literally, there is a sales tax in place on feminine hygiene products because the government classifies them as a “luxury item.”
Out of 50 states, only 10 have not placed a tax on tampons and five of those 10 are not by choice. Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, Alaska and Oregon don’t have a sales tax at all, making Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey and Massachusetts the only states to make the conscious decision not to.
Somehow an item that is used multiple times a day, every day, for a week every single month is a luxury — yet condoms and sexual lubricants are considered necessities. In other words, men’s need to “wrap it up” is more important than women’s need to remain clean and healthy by maintaining their hygiene. Tampons do not compare to an iPhone, a blowout, or a venti chai mocha latte from Starbucks — they are a primary and essential part of being a healthy, functional woman.
There is a problem when in the poorer parts of the world like India, the Middle East and Africa women and girls don’t go to school when they have their periods. They are prevented from receiving an education simply because they menstruate and do not have access to the proper feminine hygiene products to keep them clean. If tampons are important enough to limit access to education, there is no reason why they should be considered a luxury item.
Especially because no woman anywhere would ever describe her time of the month as luxurious.
I’m also pretty sure if men could even fathom the idea of their uterus falling out they’d turn green and faint, let alone be able to hide the fact that they’re bleeding profusely for days on end.
Women need tampons just as much as everyone else needs water, toothpaste, and soap to maintain their health and hygiene. Women have a responsibility to their bodies, and the freedom to do and care for them as they please. A tampon taxed as a luxury item is ridiculous, insensitive, and reflective of this country’s misogynistic claim on what women can and cannot do with their bodies.