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What is the Tampon Tax?
Lyric Menges (she/her)
|
7.15.2021

Imagine a world in which you had to pay taxes just because you were born a certain gender. This sounds ridiculous, right? Why should you have to pay more money than someone else just because you were born with certain body parts? Welcome to the notion commonly referred to as the tampon tax.

On average, it was reported that women in California would spend around $7 a month over the span of 40 years to accommodate their periods. This money generates around $20 million in taxes per year, just for the state of California (Washington Post). The capitalist approach to the commodification of natural bodily processes has resulted in period poverty and economic suffering of a gender already victimized by a difference in wages on the basis of gender identity (for more information please refer to the Glass Ceiling and the Gender Wage Gap). The United States declared in 1964 under Title VII that discrimination on the basis of gender identidy was unconstitutional, so why are products that are a necessity for a certain gender taxed? This taxation of menstrual products as a luxury items seems to go against Title VII and discriminates on the basis of sex and is wholly unjustified.

Only people who menstruate pay for period products on a monthly basis, and this demographic is primarily women, so what this tax boils down to is essentially taxing the natural bodily processes of women for economic gain. Women of color, transgender men, and intersex people who already are further marginalized economically suffer greater than white women because already they are postioned at an economic disadvantage in American society. Essentially, this tax is harming groups of individuals already economically marginalized and to what end? People who menstruate can’t just ignore it, a free alternative does not exist (yet), and the tampon tax contributes to a mentality that women’s products are luxury items and men in power have the right to tax them. There isn’t a coalition of women passing bills to tax people for having a penis, this seems completely insane. Whether this mentality is intentional or not, it is long-overdue for rectification. No one would consider taxing food and water as luxury items because food and water are necessities to sustain life… but so are periods. So why are periods taxed as a luxury? “Why are tampons taxed when Viagra isn’t?” (New York Times). The tampon tax is unconstitutional and feeds into a dangerous capitalistic mentality that commodifies women’s bodies.

The average sales tax in the United States is around 5%, and with some quick math, this reveals that people who menstruate accumulate around $275 million in period product taxes annually. This is $275 million too much.

We don’t believe anyone should have to pay for the tampon tax, especially you. So if you order from one of the 30 states it exists, August will be covering it.

AUGUST

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