UK Men Try (and Fail) to Name Men-Only Items to Feebly Defend the “Tampon Tax”

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Yesterday, the members of the UK Parliament voted 305 to 287 against removing a VAT on women’s sanitary items, because they’re deemed—and I’m going to try not to burst out laughing as I type this—”non-essential, luxury items.” BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. OK, I couldn’t do it.

What’s hilarious, is that this vote was carried primarily by people who can’t even say the word tampon. Labour MP Stella Creasy (one of 191 female MPs, out of a total 650 members of parliament), who’s been an opponent of this “tampon tax,” did manage to get one of her male colleagues to say the word “tampon,” which was a victory in and of itself during a debate where things like tampons and maxi pads are referred to exclusively as “products.”

However, she made her displeasure with the result of the vote known, as did Labour MP Paula Sherriff, who said, “Frankly, VAT on tampons is the vagina added tax.”

Needless to say, women in the UK were not pleased. Although, many were really funny about it:

The problem with all this, of course, is that there’s no equivalent “men-only” item that is taxed in this way. That hasn’t kept people from trying to come up with them:

Now, a lot of these guys were clearly joking, knowing that there’s no equivalent, and so taxing the one thing women need on a monthly basis and need to change several times a day that is not “non-essential” or “luxurious” is clearly gender discrimination. Other men, however…

Oh, Gustavo. Playing the “more of us died in World War II” card. (Is that even a card? ‘Cause I didn’t realize that was a card. And if it is, let’s count up the civilian women on all sides who were killed/raped/otherwise abused during WWII and compare numbers then.)

In any case, The “tampon tax” will next be brought up the European Commission, according to a UK Treasury minister. Hopefully things will change there. Otherwise, period-having people will have no alternative than to show how “essential” tampons and maxi pads are…by bleeding on people’s shoes. That’ll teach ’em.

(via Buzzfeed, image via Catherine Bebbington)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.