By MELISSA WELLHAM
I, Melissa Wellham, am paying a tax on my body. And so are you, and you, and you and you.
In fact, almost all ovulating women are paying a tax on their bodies.
If you are female, you are probably paying a tax by the very virtue of being female – a tax that the menfolk in Australia don’t have to pay at all. Because, in case you didn’t already know, the 10 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) applies to women’s sanitary products. The reasoning behind this is that they are seen as ‘luxuries’.
Yep. Sanitary products – pads, tampons, and moon cups or similar – are a luxury. Like new shoes. Like holidays to the Bahamas. Like paying for the latest episode of Game of Thrones instead of downloading it illegally (kidding!).
Uhuh. Whenever I have cramps and my skin looks like sh*t and I am being mean to everyone around me and all I want to do is eat five blocks of that salt-imbued dark chocolate; that is the epitome of luxury. And having to carry pads about with me? That’s ABSOLUTE heaven.
If it doesn’t make you annoyed that you have to pay 10 per cent extra on an item that you probably resent buying anyway, then maybe this will…
Condoms are GST exempt. Yes, you read that right.
Condoms are GST exempt. But pads and tampons are not.
The list of GST-exempt items includes condoms, lubricant, and nicotine patches.
Now, I’m not saying that these items should have a GST attached to them – I think everyone benefits from being able to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and STIs during sex… so why is it (as one awesome Mamamia reader asked us recently) that we women pay a tax on our bodies but men can fuck for free?
There is a reason items such as condoms, folate supplements, incontinence pads and sunscreen are exempt from GST – because they are deemed to prevent illness.
But although sanitary products may not be prevent illnesses, let’s not kid ourselves that they are not completely necessary. What are women supposed to do, when we have our periods? Use old newspaper? Head to a business meeting without, and bleed all over the place? Go about our daily lives, leaving blood in our wake – on public transport, at the cinemas, on the street?