If you are an adult person with a vagina, there is a strong possibility that every month, you face a sizeable bill every time you have to re-stock on tampons, pads, etc. (Unless you use a menstrual cup, but that is an entirely different article.) And, because of reasons that can likely be linked to the fact that women only make up approximately 20% of both the House and the Senate, these completely necessary feminine hygiene products are taxed. It seems unfair, right? Not to an 11-member all-male panel for the house revenue and taxation committee in Utah, when it voted against a bill that would end the tampon tax.
This tax, which affects not only products like tampons and pads, but also diapers and incontinence pads, is one of Utah's sales taxes. Because sales taxes vary from state to state, they are up for lawmakers at the state level to determine, but typically, they apply to things deemed less necessary than others, like accessories or clothes. The definition of non-necessary is something that gets tricky: in both North Dakota and Connecticut, tampons are taxed while incontinence pads are not. The "tampon tax" is a subject that has raised a lot of controversy, as women fight back against notions that tampons and mentrual pads are luxury items. News flash: women aren't buying tampons as a special treat for themselves.
Even President Obama spoke out against the tampon tax in an interview with YouTube beauty guru and feminist Ingrid Nilsen, saying that women should fight against the state taxes that simply don't make sense. More recently, the New York Times editorial board called out for an end to the tax, saying, "Women in California spend an average of $7 a month on tampons and pads. For those living in poverty, that cost is significant. They may have to choose between hygiene products and food or medicine. Food stamps do not cover feminine hygiene products."
The vote in Utah to maintain this reactionary, outdated tax just goes to show that there is an imperative need for more women in politics to fight back against sheer ignorance. And also, there is probably, most definitely a need for better reproductive health education for everyone.