Feminine Products: Should They Be Taxed?

The high pricing and taxation of feminine products has been a perpetual argument in which women are on one side of the battle and the states who tax them are on the other. Most of those on the latter side are old white men who cringe at the thought of a woman bleeding from her vagina. Those men have never woken up one night as a 13 year old girl to see a mini horror story in her pajamas or felt the humiliation of getting up from their desk in 7th grade English only to hear the whole class gasp as they come face to face with the large red spot that formed on their behind. For many women feminine products are easy to come by- just a quick trip the the store with $10 in hand and you’re set for that month, but what about those homeless women? Or the Mom who has to decide between pads or feeding her kid? Women like them are the reason that the prices of tampons, pads and the like should not only be tax free, but also dramatically reduced (or how about totally free?!)

It is the state's choice to decide whether they find feminine products to be a necessity and if they are of enough importance to be exempt from taxes. So far there are only 13 states that do not tax feminine products and only 7 of those states recognize feminine products as something essential to women.  Many experts argue that exempting feminine products from sales tax will ultimately result in less revenue for the state which in turn will lead to higher overall rates. However, Gov. Rick Scott disagrees as he approved a bill in May of 2017 that would make feminine hygiene products tax-exempt starting this month! Although this is a huge step forward for Floridian women, there are still 36 states that continue to pose up to a 13.3% tax on feminine products. Feminine products can rise as high as $25 depending on the size, amount and purchase location so to tax such a product makes it impossible for many women to buy them. No access to tampons or pads means missing work, school and having to suffer in solitude because of the stigma associated with periods.

Currently, 26 states fully exempt taxes on groceries, while around 10 more exempt state taxes, but allow local areas to levy a small tax. If food isn’t taxed because, scientifically speaking, our bodies need food to survive then why are feminine products taxed when, scientifically speaking, women's bodies need to release their dead uterine wall monthly? Human biology is not a choice. A woman does not decide whether she wants to have her period or not, it just happens. Taxing feminine products is sexist and puts a payment on being a women. In a world where others are more knowledgeable and understanding of a woman's menstrual cycle, feminine hygiene products would be free. For now however, removing taxes is a sizable leap forward in women's rights.