Women have made great strides from suffrage to equal pay. However, women still have their fair share of battles ahead. A giant problem that still persists for women is the stigma and the taxation of feminine hygiene products, like pads and tampons.
The tampon tax is the common name for the tax added to feminine hygiene products. As a woman, it sucks having to spend money every month on feminine hygiene that are considered “luxury products” that, in reality, either relieve pain or deal with periods themselves. Women do not have the choice to opt out of my period every month, therefore we should not have to spend extra money to deal with something that occurs naturally.
For many people it is concerning that, taking the sales tax off of tampons will lead to taking the sales tax off things such as toothpaste, soap, clothes and more. However, those products are luxury goods, whereas period products are something women have to have. According to The DivaCup, a woman uses around 240 tampons each year and around “9,600” tampons in her lifetime. By law, a luxury tax is something that is deemed non-essential or unneeded according to Investopedia. If a person requires a product multiple times each month, doesn’t that make it essential? Typically, things that are exempt from sales tax are things that help us, when sick, return to being healthy.
Many people are worried that, if the tampon tax is removed, there will be a giant shortage of tax money that will need to be made up somewhere else. Although this is partially true, nine states have already exempted feminine hygiene products from their taxes. Ultimately, the goal would be that women could spend their money elsewhere, so they would still be paying for taxed items. In many places, sunscreen and condoms don’t have a tax. Please, help women understand why tampons are still being taxed if those products scrape by without it. In many states are moving towards no tampon tax, Texas can also make it work too. There are alternative ways to earn money, even if it is raising tax prices altogether until the state has enough money to survive without it.
Although having a period is not a sickness, it is something that shares many symptoms as the common cold. Achiness, exhaustion, headaches, and some people are even bedridden. According to Women’s Health Concern, 5% to 10% of women experience pain so severe it disrupts their daily life. With these symptoms, it almost is like being sick, but for a couple days each month.
The HuffPost broke it down and averaged that with pain medication, birth control, and hygiene products, a period will cost $18,171 in her lifetime. Tampons alone will cost a woman around $1,773.33 during her lifetime. So, to reduce the cost, the least that Texas could do is hear the bill to remove the sales tax.
Other than the shockingly large amount of money women have to pay for their tampons, what is even worse is the secrecy and stigma behind periods. Why is it that women whisper to a friend to ask for a tampon, or hide it while taking one out of their bag? Recently a study from the New York Post.using 1,500 women stated that forty-two percent of women have experienced period shaming. Even worse, 73 percent of women have hidden a pad or tampon” from view on the way to the bathroom.
Periods are something that naturally occurs, and is not something that should be frowned upon. However, many feminine hygiene products advertise products that are “twice as discreet to carry” or something along those lines. Why is this something we are worrying about? According to the New York Post, one in five women has experienced period shaming comments made by a male friend according to the New York Post. However, it has to do with all genders and societal standards that have been made over time.
The most concerning part of period shaming are when periods interfere with daily activities. Around 40 percent of women have admitted to making up a false explanation as to why they call into work sick or can’t make plans. Women should not have to lie speak in hushed tones over periods.
Overall, the tampon tax is making women pay for being a woman. At the rate at which women use feminine hygiene products, they are having to put so much money towards a tax that does not make sense. Even more convincingly, if women are having to pay a large amount of money for something over their lifetime, they should be able to talk about it. Periods are natural and should be treated as such.
Written by Jami Holms