Tampon Tax and the Menstruation Taboo

"Both [tampons and sanitary towels] are taxed as luxury, non-essential items - you are, quite literally, being tolled for having a uterus." - Natasha Preskey, The Independent, 16 February 2015

Let me just reiterate the above statement, which sums this travesty up perfectly - tampons and sanitary towels are classed as luxury items. Our not-so-welcome time of the month is a luxury, apparently. Menstrual products like tampons are imperative for everyone who has periods; we don't chose to have our period, it just happens, and it's neither a pleasant nor a luxury experience.

The contraceptive pill is (thankfully) free from sexual health clinics, whereas tampons aren't. So it works out cheaper not to have your period at all, but acquiring the pill and maintaining regular usage can be quite a hassle.

Moreover, it startles me that menstruation is still a 'no-go' topic of discussion in 2015. It's "icky", it's "gross", it's "not appropriate" to talk about. Chella Quint addresses this taboo brilliantly in her TEDS Talk from 2012 (Adventures in Menstruation, www.youtube.com/watch?v=kce4VxEgTAMwell worth the watch): "No other convenience product is advertised using shame". She stresses the need to stop selling shame and start being "period positive" so that the pejorative attitude and embarrassment diminishes, and so young girls can be assured that periods aren't something to be feared. She strives to improve education in schools about menstruation so young people don't feel too intimidated to talk about menstruation or seek advice and assistance from teachers or parents.

Women are sold a product to keep our periods a secret, that we then have to hide and wait for the whole 'ordeal' to blow over. Companies like Always and Tampax instill a behaviour that favours keeping quiet and "discreet" over embracing nature and accepting menstruation for what it is - something that happens to most women, about 12 times a year, for about a week a time. Blood is blood. We all have it. Get used to it.
Swim Deep at the NME Awards

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