So the other day, I was scrolling aimlessly through social media, procrastinating on my responsibilities, when I came across a Facebook video. The title “Is Menstruation a Social Justice Issue?” immediately captured my attention. The video was about 15 minutes long, and usually I will fast forward through these videos, but this one I was engaged the whole time. Produced by Refinery 29, this video portrays what it is like for homeless women when they are on their periods. Hosted by Jacki Huntington, she explains how the average woman spends 3000 dollars over the course of a lifetime on period products. While that may not seem like a lot, she explains that we are essentially spending 3000 dollars to absorb blood.
Which is ridiculous.
We also do not have public access to these products like we do toilet paper in restrooms. This got Jacki wondering how homeless women, who do not have access to tampons on a regular basis, deal with having their periods. She brings in Chelsea VonChaz, founder of Happy Period, made it her mission to help supply homeless women with period products. She creates bags with fresh underwear, pads, tampons, panty liners, and wipes and passes them out to the homeless women on the streets of Los Angeles.
Jacki also explains that period products have a special tax, a “tampon tax,” or sales tax. She says that state by states, certain items, such as coffee, sugar, and even potato chips, are exempt from this kind of tax, as they are considered necessities.
But tampons and pads are considered “luxuries.”
I’m sorry, WHAT?!?!?
Assembly woman Christina Garcia of California co-authored a bill to help remove the “tampon tax” and it was unanimously approved. When it fell into the lap of Governor Jerry Brown, it was vetoed it because he thought it was a tax break in a state strapped for cash. Boo.
Then, she comes to interview an economist, who basically told her that menstruation is primarily a female problem and that her issue was a personal one.
Excuse me, sir?
What makes me SO ANGRY about this, is the men whoobviously do not menstruate, making decisions about menstruation.
As Rachel Green once said “No uterus. No opinion.”
bell hooks writes that many women do not identify as feminists is because we (society) has lost clear definitions of what feminism is. My point here is, all women, feminists or not, can agree that the tampon tax sucks.
And that men WHO DO NOT MENSTRUATE are making these decisions.
Menstruation is a public health issue, not just a women’s issue.
You can watch the rest of this video here: