It’s Taxing Having a Period

Your DGB for today is to read up on the way half of our population are unfairly taxed for a basic necessity and look into some alternative feminine hygiene products.

The year 2015 was dubbed the Year of the Period after a number of highly publicized events brought Aunt Flo into the spotlight (who can forget a portrait of DJT painted in menstrual blood?) The result of openly discussing our monthly, also brought to light an issue that concerns half of Americans - namely the Tampon Tax. The name is a bit of a misnomer in that no, tampons aren’t specifically taxed, however, they aren’t exempt in most states as a basic necessity and are thereby subject to sales tax. Those critical of the tax (namely everyone who has to actually use these products), aptly point out that one may buy soda and candy at the grocery store free of tax, but not feminine hygiene products.

In 2016 legislators in 14 states and 3 major cities introduced bills to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax, however, most were vetoed or have stalled. Here is an illustration showing which states do not tax tampons & pads. Only New York and Illinois, have taken steps to add their names to tax exempt states.

So, if the tax remains in 38 states, what can we do to protest the continued tax on this basic necessity? An article in Glamour magazine recently pointed out some alternatives that aren’t disposable and will cover you through multiple periods. They are not for the faint of heart, but when have women been afraid to get our hands dirty? For trans men, THINX offers a boy short menstrual undie specifically designed to be gender neutral. 

What else can you do? Ask your representatives for public buildings (libraries, government buildings, universities) to supply tampons and pads in women’s or gender neutral restrooms free of charge. You could always pay it forward too; how about leaving a few extra supplies on the counter the next time you visit a restroom?

It is becoming increasingly obvious the patriarchy does not care about the issues of female reproduction in an institutional sense, so it’s time we start taking care of our own.