“Menstrual Hygiene Is Not A Privilege, It’s A Right.”

When 305 MPs voted to reject the Finance Bill amendment which would have brought about a negotiation between David Cameron and the EU over taxing VAT on tampons, you had to question if any of them had any idea what a tampon was and what a period involved.

Let’s just get it clear that having a period is neither luxury, nor optional, and so taxing tampons as a luxury item doesn’t really sit well with me. Perhaps the 305 MPs missed that part of Biology lessons? Luckily though, they made it to the lessons where helicopters, maintenance on private jets, and crocodile meat were deemed as essential items and thus, they could make an educated vote to exempt them from tax. I’ve never had this lesson either, must be an Eton boys thing.

Taxing tampons on the grounds of them being a ‘non-essential’ item totally baffles me. In fact, when I’m next on my period, I would love to personally invite George Osborne to live with me for a day, tamponless, to then see how ‘non essential’ he deems them. Taxing Ben and Jerry’s, the Bridget Jones box-set, my hot water bottle and fluffy slippers? Fair enough. I agree that these are not essential items and simply there because sometimes having a period feels like being punched in the tummy by a thousand monkeys and something only Hugh Grant, Ben, and Jerry can solve. But for God’s sake, a tampon is hardly something an individual opts to treat themselves too. Menstrual hygiene isn’t a privilege, it’s a right.

The more debate arises surrounding the tampon tax, the more you realise that this is not a debate around money at all. This is about the government capitalising on misogynistic values and the fact that women are quite frankly bored of being taxed for having a uterus. Its 2015 and if you aren’t taxing men’s razors, I wanna know why you are taxing tampons? They’re both there as sanitary items to control the inevitable and yet the only difference between the two is that one is for women and one is for men. No prizes for guessing who’s goes tax free.

So whilst I’m living the high life and rolling around in luxury thanks to my pack of tampons, I’ll be thinking of Mr Osborne, barely scraping by and reliant on the tax free nature of his exotic meats and private jet maintenance. Oh, and helicopters. Can’t forget the essentials!

Jessica Readett

Image source: The Independent 

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