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If you look at the unit of currency used for this, you’ll realise it’s set in the UK, where we have free healthcare. Assuming you’re talking about the US healthcare system, that’s not the topic under discussion here. Where ┬ús are used, surgery and radiotherapy for cancer treatment are free, and tampons are taxed.

VAT on tampons is usually compared to other household items of a similar value, such as razors. I have just done a search to see whether razors are VAT-exempt, and it seems rather unclear. Anyway, women are under social pressure to shave their legs and armpits, and beards on men are socially acceptable and indeed popular, so razors are far from being something which a) men have to use, b) women don’t use.*

You can’t opt out of menstruating in the way that people growing a beard can, it’s not a simple cosmetic decision like that. Hormonal or surgical treatments that prevent menstruation are serious, often have profound side-effects, and you certainly don’t just go for them to save a bit of money on tampons. Especially if you’re not in a country with free healthcare, where you’d lose money instead. Interestingly, while prescriptions are still chargeable in some parts of the UK, contraceptive medication has long been excluded from prescription charges.

Menstrual products are a necessity for people who menstruate, they add up to a lot over time, and quite frankly they should be dirt-cheap and even free of charge, at least to those on low incomes Reusable menstrual products are becoming more popular, but are still little-known, a tiny amount of the market, and not suitable for everyone.

* The quotations in the comic replicate the usual transphobic assumption that everyone is cisgender, and that only men need to shave their faces while only women menstruate. It’s easier to say “women” than “people who menstruate” in some discussions, granted, and the general public tends to look a little blank when faced with sentences like “It’s a tax on people who menstruate, who are almost always women but sometimes trans men or non-binary folks, and come to that not all women menstruate either, for various reasons.” Not really slogan-sized, that sentence, but a far better way of putting it. I’m glad there are more and more spaces where we can talk with that level of nuance. There’s a menstrual cups forum on LiveJournal where they are very careful not to imply at any point that all menstruators are women.

Going back to the original comic: “trousers”. Love it.

I personally am a shortarse and have the dubious privilege of having to buy children’s socks, which are VAT-free.

Hi Sophie,
We at Manfeels Park are explicitly intersectional, and take the opportunities we get to be so (cf: Dolphin Vegan Soul, Handmaiden of the Patriachy), but likewise we work with the funny quotes we get, altering them as little as possible, so not everything in the comics is right on. Hopefully the overall impression is not too exclusive or alienating for folk – we know that we don’t speak for everyone all of the time.

Yep, I realised after I wrote it that I should have made it clearer that the lines you are quoting talk that way, not that you do! Sorry about that. The intersectionality is much appreciated. And I would hate to have to be writing slogans for that sort of campaign, because I don’t think I’d be able to come up with anything short enough to use without objecting to it.

*looks up “dolphin vegan soul”* Oh, that’s marvellous. And it just made me look up what dolphins eat (as suspected, they are not remotely vegan), so there we are, learning even more today.

Maybe a shorter slogan could be:
‘Stop Taxing The Uterus. For God’s Sake, Condoms Are Free In Clinics And Sex Is A Choice, But Menstrual Bleeding Isn’t, God Damn It.’

Shit. That isn’t short enough, either. Still, ‘Stop Taxing The Uterus’ has a nice ring to it.

In the UK, are condoms taxed? They’re a medical necessity, sometimes.

Also, what of statistical tax discrimination? Taxes on items usually used by one sex rather than another? Ties are usually worn by men, necklaces are usually worn by women, though of course there is variation; is taxation on these items sexually discriminatory on average?

Sexual politics are absurd; taxation is absurd; put them together and you get something doubly absurd.

Men don’t have to wear ties. Almost all women* menstruate and need menstrual products of one kind or another.

Agreed about ties not being necessary; but they are statistically favored by men. (Also they are forced by social pressure in certain male-dominated professions.) And not all women menstruate; so this too is a statistical preference. Stronger with the women; so what’s the correlation level needed to justify tax relief on anti-discrimination grounds?

And again I ask; is this cartoon about anti-discrimination or anti-taxation?

I want to see the slew of pics posted back at this guy, of women wearing trousers.

This isn’t about taxation; it’s about a really inane argument that holds no water, yet upholds the patriarchy. AND, he says that there are “plenty” of “man taxes,” so as to appear put-upon because of his gender, yet the only example he can give is not even remotely gender-specific.

Mansplaining: Laugh at it, or die crying.

It’s not that it’s unethical to make women pay taxes for tampons, it’s that in a world where it’s genuinely possible to get your condoms and Viagra covered by insurance, in no state or loophole can you get tampons “free.”

It’s extremely strange because tampons and birth control actually serve multiple purposes outside of sex and are entirely unavoidable for medical reasons by certain kinds of people (esp. thyroid disorders), whereas Viagra isn’t at all a necessity in that you won’t miss work and/or be hospitalized if you don’t have it.

But that’s what we decided should be covered. Go figure.

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