UK Women Protest “Tampon Tax” By Bleeding Outside Parliament
Members of the UK Parliment voted against removing a VAT on women’s sanitary items a couple weeks ago, calling them “non-essential, luxury items.” Many women have reacted to the “tampon tax” in mixtures of outrage and humor, because if we don’t laugh about a bunch of men who are too squeamish to even say the word “tampon” calling them “luxurious,” well, we’d have to cry.
Charlie Edge, a 22-year-old woman, decided to go to Westminister with two friends last Friday and free-bled outside Parliament as a form of nonviolent protest. She shared photos and a statement of Facebook:
CONTENT WARNING: BLOOD.
Today i am forgoing tampons and pads outside the houses of parliament to show how ‘luxury’ tampons really are.
We are also raising money to buy tampons for homeless shelters, womens shelters and the refugee crisis.
We’re getting lots of dirty looks and someone just shouted at us to get a job.
But everyone keeps saying “haha omg how quickly would we get free tampons if everyone stopped wearing them?!”
So, I’m giving it a go.
Taxes are necessary, i get it.
So are tampons/ pads.
They’re not luxury items, anymore than jaffa cakes, edible cake decorations, exotic meats or any other number of things currently not taxed as luxury items.
Maternity pads are taxed, but incontinence pads arent.
We’ve had enough. Maybe bleeding on their doorstep will get the tories to do something about this?
She encouraged people to share the post, and said she wanted it to reach Buzzfeed (which it did!). Edge has gotten a ton of positive feedback, as well as negative, but mentions that her post doesn’t go against Facebook community guidelines and will stay online (COUGH Instagram).
She’s also written various posts responding to criticisms on her Facebook, where she addresses dismissive comments like “ew gross” and expands on her protest with points like “not all women have periods and not all people with periods are woman.”
I like this protest, not only because I want to steal “I will bleed on your capitalism” as the title of my memoir, but also because it’s talking about the realities of menstruation, not the abstract concept of it (or commercial blue liquid). It’s time to get over the squeamishness when we talk about periods because the reaction so many people have towards a natural bodily process just feels like an older version of icky cooties.
Menstruation isn’t shameful, it’s not a dirty secret, and it’s not a luxury to deal with them. Now hand over the sanitary items or we’ll bleed on everything you love.
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—