Thursday 24 March 2016

Bloody Luxuries

So, that's it - the Tampon Tax will, apparently, be abolished. George Osborne said so in the budget last week (forgive me for not celebrating just yet, only I'm wary of the Tories) and we've no idea when it will come into play, if it does. But if it does, then that's great - a win for the public, for women, for those who menstruate: but not for all of us.

Just because there's no tax, doesn't mean tampons will be available to all. Homeless women, 11 year old girls with no mothers who are too scared to ask their dad to buy them some 'provisions' with the weekly shop - you get my drift, I hope. Tampons aren't luxuries, they're necessities: and as such, they should be available to everybody.

Contraception is, for the most part, free. As far as I know, schools/clinics/doctor's surgeries offer condoms for free; a visit to the nurse's office at lunch time was common when I was in secondary school, and the Brook had a bowl full on the front desk if it was the weekend. If you're on the pill, you don't have to pay for the prescription. To get the coil, implant or injection - it's free. And you know why I think that is? Because it affects men too: if a woman doesn't have/take/use any form of contraception, she can get pregnant and that affects the man who's sperm met with her egg to make that baby. Whether the baby is aborted, given up for adoption or kept as part of a happy family, a man is involved and has decisions to make.

Menstruation doesn't affect the majority of men; some people who identify as men do menstruate, no doubt about it, but for the most part they remain unaffected. And so women have to pay for products to protect their clothes, their dignity and their body when we menstruate. But not everybody can afford to, and not everybody has access to sanitary products and so they use what they can: there's been reports of women using old newspaper, socks, hankies - whatever they can find, because tampons and pads are a 'luxury' they can't stretch to. Even without the tampon tax, sanitary products will still be out of reach for people who go hungry at night so they can feed their kids, people who rely on food banks, people who find shelter in doorways.

So - why are sanitary products a luxury, while condoms and other forms of contraception are an essential? Why should we have to pay for what we need, and get for free what we (ultimately) want?

What are your thoughts on those bloody luxuries?

Wanna see my latest OOTD post?

1 comment:

  1. Another brilliant post! Whilst I'm against the tax, we really do need to stop and think about how privileged we are to have access to tampons. So many women across the world resort to old rags and are treated as filth for menstruating. It makes me furious!