Opinion: End the Tampon Tax. Period.

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Opinion: End the Tampon Tax. Period.

Which states tax a woman's period?

Which states tax a woman's period?

Which states tax a woman's period?

Which states tax a woman's period?

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Everybody poops. It’s a fact of life, and we accept this truth. There’s even a popular children’s book by that name.  Like any bodily function, it’s not something to bring up at the dinner table, but at least we acknowledge the process.

Another bodily function, but one society tends not to acknowledge, is menstruation.

Fifty percent of the population goes through this natural process every month, however, bringing up anything that may hint at a period is thought of as taboo, even among many women.

Now that I’ve admitted periods exist, here’s the problem: In many states, tampons and other necessary menstrual products are taxed as “luxury” goods. 

Only five states specifically do not tax tampons. Fortunately, Pennsylvania is one of them.  The others are Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Jersey.

The rest of the country either does not have any sales tax at all or does not consider tampons a “necessity” and taxes them along with other non-essential items.

The main cause for the absurd “tampon tax” probably comes from the lack of female representation in the United States government. Women hold only 20% of the seats in Congress, so it makes sense that females are often given the shorter end of the stick.

In an interview, former president Barack Obama was asked about the tampon tax. He stated, “I have to tell you, I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items. I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.” Obama agrees that the tampon tax is questionable. He admits the tax is probably the result of lack of female say in the matter.

A lack of understanding is the primary reason for almost all widespread debate, and the tampon tax is no exception.

There are countless misconceptions and myths when it comes to periods, including, but not limited to: period blood attracts grizzly bears, women cannot prepare sushi because their menstrual cycle causes an “imbalance taste,” and most importantly, women can hold in their period blood like urine. The last misconception stated could easily cause men to see menstrual products as a luxury product.

In order to prevent these misunderstandings, our school systems should provide better sex education. This way, lawmakers could make more educated decisions when creating taxes for the people.

Every American woman is saying enough is enough. It is time to repeal the tampon tax. We need to stop making women pay extra for a bodily function that is out of their control.”

Many will try to debunk the tampon tax by claiming that the tax is not exclusive to menstrual products. While this may be true in many states, it doesn’t justify the fact that women are paying on average an extra 6.5% on products that are necessary for basic function. In some areas, such as Chicago, the sales tax is as much as 10%. 

All the while, products like condoms are often exempted from taxes and even given out for free at universities and hospitals all over the country.

Adding more female representation in Congress and having a better understanding of menstruation in general are the first steps toward having the tampon tax revoked. Period.

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