Taxing Tampons: A Call to Feminists?

Maybe the next wave of feminists will be found fighting taxes on tampons.

Young women today have grown up with many of the major battles of the movement won by their fore-sisters. Title IX, access to birth control and abortion, and workplace and political equality are taken for granted.

Yet tampons, (and other related products) are subject to sales taxes in many states and other countries. The sales tax, already regressive in that everyone is taxed regardless of income, often exempts items considered necessary, like food. Policies vary state-by-state and nation-by-nation.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and the representative for Florida’s 23rd District, when asked about a perceived generational divide in an interview in the New York Times, responded: “….Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided…”

But despite the accomplishments, prejudice against women continues.   From the interview: “ …Do you think that people expect a different style of leadership from women? Wasserman Schultz said: “The politically safe thing to say would be: ‘‘No. Of course not.’’ I don’t usually see sexism around every corner, but the criticism I’ve noticed of me over the past couple of years has absolutely zeroed in on qualities that, for a man, wouldn’t even be considered fodder for criticism.”

Settling onto the couch last night for a bit of television, we caught a tennis match in New Zealand. The contestants, two young women, played hard, rallying long for each point, running each other to every corner of the court. When the score reached break point, the broadcaster, a woman, noted that one of the players was in an “emotionally vulnerable” state that would no doubt affect her performance. I commented to my husband that no one would ever say that about a male athlete.

And I admit that I succumb sometimes to gender preferences.  I bought a couple pink-hued outfits for my newborn granddaughter. Every new baby deserves some new things, not just hand-me-downs from her brothers and sister. I found a fluffy purple turtle for her older sister. The other grands, recovering from a medley of maladies, walk around barefoot on a  cold floor. Though I try not to interfere too much with my children’s parenting, I purchased slippers. Not finding the slipper socks I loved as a child, I bought Star Wars for my grandson and Elsa from Frozen for my granddaughter. As much as I detest commercial merchandise, they love them. (and their feet are warm too.)

I’m reading Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road. On vacation a couple weeks ago, my daughter, 25, read  Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.

Perhaps there’s common ground after all.





This entry was posted in Books, commentary, daughters, Family, Grandchildren, History, parenting, Reading, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Taxing Tampons: A Call to Feminists?

  1. YES! Their kind of feminism will be different from ours, but they will carry the flame. Look at Amy Schumer!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post! I have one coming up on the same topic. AND ADORABLE BABY!!!!


  3. Hi Lisa,
    That would be a very regressive tax that would burden women unfairly. It’s terribly regressive in Washington State–no income tax, but high sales taxes, but it seems to be impossible to get folks to come up with a tax that would be more progressive.
    Thanks for speaking out.


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