The so-called “tampon tax” isn’t just a point of contention is Australian politics.
Tampons and sanitary items are also considered “non-essential, luxury items” in the UK, and a few weeks ago, politicians voted to keep it that way.
Many of the male MPs squirmed as a proposal to remove the 5% tax on tampons and pads was debated in parliament, some couldn’t even bring themselves to say the word “tampon”, an absurdity which Labour’s Stella Creasy took some joy in lampooning on Twitter:
Charlie Edge, a 22-year-old woman from London, was upset that her leaders kept cramping up over the issue, so she decided to see if they would be more comfortable with women not using the “products” at all.
In a uniform of white pants and armed with placards, she and a group of her friends held a rather unique protest outside of the parliament.
“Today I am forgoing tampons and pads outside the houses of parliament to show how ‘luxury’ tampons really are,” she wrote in a Facebook post, which has now been shared and liked thousands of times.
They’re not luxury items, any more than jaffa cakes, edible cake decorations, exotic meats or any other number of things currently not taxed as luxury items.”
While perhaps this form of protest isn’t for everyone, thanks to women like Charlie and her friends (who have now made international headlines), people are taking notice.
Watch British comedian Russell Howard gleefully call bullsh*t on the tampon tax (post continues after video):
Obviously, not everyone has been so enthusiastic about their protest, with comments on Charlie’s Facebook page ranging from simplistic critiques like “this is just ew”, to pointing out that, in London, pads and tampons aren’t taxed as much as other items.
Of course, she responded to the naysayers in another, powerfully argued post on her Facebook page and like she says, “people are talking about it”:
1. “Three girls outside parliament with blood stains isn’t gonna make parliament do anything”
– That wasn’t the point. I think you’re all underestimating my intelligence, actually…
We weren’t expecting to wave a banner in an MP’s face. We weren’t hoping to leave a gross bloody mess to upset passers-by.
But the post I made was shared over 1000 times in 12 hours with mostly positive response and after 3 hours I already had media attention. People are talking about it.
This isn’t just ‘three girls outside parliament with blood stains’. This is three more people who are angry about something, encouraging the millions of other people who are also angry about the same thing, to talk about it.
(You can read the rest of her reply here, each of her points are pretty brilliant.)
And she is certainly on the money, here are just a few of the hilarious responses to the tax that women have been posting on Twitter: