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Monday, 2 November 2015

Opinion Post: Tax on Tampons

This is kind of different for us because we haven't really spoken frankly about social issues on our blog before, but seeing as how there's this big hurrah surrounding tampon tax in the UK right now, we thought that we would weigh in on the debate.

Now it’s easy for ignorant people to brush this off as “just another feminist problem” but this is something that definitely needs to be taken seriously. Why is it that a lot of men AND women find it so difficult to discuss natural bodily functions? Even those involved in the actual debate, you can tell, found it hard to use words like ‘tampon’ and ‘period’. 

This is one of the biggest issues in our society. 

People are so concerned with things seeming ‘perfect’ that natural bodily functions have become pushed out and tabooed and this includes menstruation. People are completely fine seeing a pair of naked boobs in their newspapers, but as soon as someone mentions menstruation it’s like a dirty word.

For many, myself included, it’s not purely down to money – it’s the bigger picture. It’s the fact that real luxury items like alcohol jellies and exotic meats are exempt from tax. Trust me (and pretty much every other woman in the entire world) there is absolutely NOTHING luxurious about having a period. It’s emotional, messy and sometimes painful so does it seem fair that we have to pay for it too? It almost feels as if periods aren’t important enough to be catered for, yet razors are? God forbid anyone should have to have unsightly facial hair, but blood in your knickers? Meh, who cares?
But for the people that are concerned about the financial side, it’s perhaps even more unfair. These women are being denied a fundamental human right – their dignity. The Trussell Trust which manages the largest network of food banks in the UK found that 1,084,604 people used food banks in 2014/15. If that many people can’t afford something as essential as food, how on earth are they going to afford ‘luxuries’ like tampons?! Their only alternative is to go without, something that would be considered ‘unhygienic’ by society. It just seems that it’s a lose-lose situation.

Aren’t we supposed to be supporting women? So why is it that they’re being discriminated against in the most basic way?

I have mixed feelings about this, I understand how the taxing of tampons could be considered sexist and quite frankly, ridiculous, however being a 20 year old female student I don't find that it affects me in any way. Before all this publicity of tax and tampons I don't think anyone thought twice about how tampons are taxed, yes we might have complained about how much they are, but we need them so we bought them anyways - and still do.
If we're saying that tampons should be tax free or even free in some instances then soon people will be saying that bras should be free, isn't it the same principle?
However, I do understand why some people are outraged about this and I do agree to some degree. I think the most common question I've heard is 'how is it fair that tampons are taxed? - they are a necessity not a luxury'. Another point I've heard a lot is how men's products, such as razors, are taxed as necessity items instead of luxury yet we find ourselves being taxed for tampons as luxury items yet we can't control this, just like facial hair - and with this point I do agree.
But what happens if tampons do become tax free? Wouldn't we be causing some damage to the companies and products that we know and love? I'm shocked that people think companies such as Tampax should be selling their product tax free, they offer a variety of different products with the most expensive being what I would consider the nicest form of tampon - a scented tampon with a plastic applicator tube. If you ask me, that sounds like a pretty luxury product! I'm not saying that all tampons should be considered a luxury item, but there are certainly some brands & some tampons that have specific qualities that we shouldn't consider a necessity. So, maybe we should get a bog standard option, one with no application device and no option of absorption level that is tax free. 
I know a lot of you are going to disagree with me here and that's ok, this is just my honest opinion, I am in no way saying that yours is wrong, please understand that.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this! We'd love to get a discussion going.


  1. I have to say I agree with you both; I definitely think that tampons need to be tax free, for fairness above anything! But then I can agree that some tampons are probably more luxurious than others so maybe they should have a tax!

  2. I do think tampons should be tax-free. Us women don't chose to have periods - I don't think anyone would! As Kayleigh said, not everyone can afford food, let alone tampons, and to go without would be un-hygienic and most likely very uncomfortable. Different people see this case differently, and I agree with both of your views. Thanks for sharing your opinions!

    Charlotte ~

  3. interesting article!
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