Home / Fall 2016 / Periods not a luxury and tampons are essential

Periods not a luxury and tampons are essential

Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/SPECTATOR

Written by Hunter Terrell, Staff Writer

On July 21st, New York became the 11th state to terminate the luxury tax placed on the most common feminine product, tampons.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commented to multiple news sources “This is a regressive tax on essential products that women have had to pay for far too long and lifting it is a matter of social and economic justice.”

The other 10 states are as follows: Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Alaska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

Also, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the only two in the country that specifically exempt toilet paper.

The Pennsylvania tax code exempts “disposable diapers, incontinence products, [and] toilet paper” right alongside feminine hygiene products.

Among other products, New Jersey exempts toilet paper, facial acne cream, and even certain lip balm from its sales tax.

Furthermore, sanitary products in the remaining 40 states’ tax laws can fall under the “luxury tax,” which applies to products or services deemed nonessential.

To make things more awkward, this tax is also sometimes referred to as the “sin tax.”

This tax has been imposed on women since 1965.

Viagra, birth control, medicated condoms, and other gender-based products are exempt from sales tax.

Senior Marissa Gray says that it’s unfair, “why should we have to pay a tax that others don’t.  It’s not that it’s taking a large amount of money, it only adds up to around $60 a year, but I just think it’s seriously unfair.”

Even President Obama acknowledged this unfair treatment, telling YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen back in January, “I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items. I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.”

Many feminists, politicians, and other parties have created petitions and performed protests with hope to bring attention to this sexist tariff.

On average, women pay about $7 per month for 40 years of tampons and sanitary napkins. “I shouldn’t have to add more money on top of that. Nothing about having a period is luxurious” said Gray.

Online petitions, statistics, general information, and protest information can be found on various state websites, the Huffington Post, Time magazine, and YouTube.


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