Did you know that in most states, tampons and pads are taxed because they’re not considered “necessities?” Let’s start with a pretty basic fact: women menstruate. That’s something Democrats and Republicans can probably agree on. But while most states tax all "tangible personal property," the products they refer to as "necessities" are tax-exempt. For some reason, in a majority of states, sanitary products are not included in that list of necessities, while other “necessities” like Viagra and Rogaine are.
So wait, who decided to make the tax code this way? President Obama summed it up pretty well in an interview with Youtuber Ingrid Nilsen last year. “I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items,” he explained. “I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.” He’s right.
Of course, not everyone thinks the state shouldn’t profit off our periods.
A notable gaffe came from Utah in 2015 when a committee composed entirely of white men voted to uphold the tampon tax. While they insisted that women should be taxed for getting their period, they pleasantly cut taxes for wealthy corporations and extended tax cuts to oil and gas companies who do fracking.
Thankfully, female lawmakers are taking on the sexist tax code, bipartisan style. Nothing brings women together like our combined hatred of periods and taxes.
For instance, in California, a state where women this tax costs women $20 million a year, Christina Garcia, a Democrat and Ling Ling Chang, a Republican, co-authored a bill that would replace the tax on tampons with a tax on hard liquor, which is not taxed at all. Their proposal includes colorful feminist bill language like: “there is no happy hour for menstruation” and “It’s basics before booze and ladies over liquor.”
Regardless of political ideology, it seems like one thing women can all agree on is that the government probably shouldn’t be profiting off our periods.