It has always amazed me how much tampons (and other sanitary items) cost. Although I think the real shock happened when I had to start buying them myself. Involuntarily bleeding comes as a cost yo, and I think that’s what pisses me off the most. Having our period isn’t a choice and, even if I did have a choice, I would choose not to have one. No, really.
Three days of constant pain, one box of jumbo tampons, one box of v-strong painkillers, an uncontrollable urge to eat everything in sight (mostly chocolate) and snapping at the one I love isn’t exactly how I want to spend one whole week of every month, thanks very much. The pain I feel alone is enough to make me voluntarily give up my ovaries, like, yesterday.
I am surprised I have not ripped them out myself, to be honest. I threaten to do just that every. Single. Month. Ask Jeanne, no really, ask her.
But, when it comes to the price of sanitary items, my argument is pretty much the same as everyone else’s: women do not choose to have their period, it’s a natural part of being a woman, so sanitary pads should not be taxed and should fall under the category of ‘basic items considered a necessity’, a category the government does have (which includes the likes of brown bread and milk).
I spend, roughly, R60 – R100 a month on sanitary products, which probably doesn’t sound like a lot. But that R60 – R100 a month adds up to, roughly, R1200 a year, and I find that ridiculous. That, in our household, is two weeks of groceries (and R1200 worth of chocolate I don’t get to stuff in my face).
What’s even worse, and one of the reasons I am talking about this today, is the very sad and concerning fact that hundreds of thousands of millions of women and girls across South Africa do not have access to sanitary items because of the price, meaning they stay at home instead of going to school one week of every month – which is a lot and contributes negatively to their schooling/future. That is just not acceptable.
Do you know what else isn’t acceptable? Giving out free condoms but expecting women to pay for sanitary items.
Surely if we can give out condoms for free, we can hand out sanitary items for free? Or at least categorise them as a ‘basic’ item when it comes to tax?
I grew up in Botswana, where condoms are given out for free almost everywhere. Think restaurant bathrooms, border posts, pubs and bars, schools – you get the point. In SA, you can find them here and there, still for free. However, walk into a bathroom in Botswana or South Africa (and lots of other places around the world, don’t get me wrong) and you will find a tampon/sanitary towel dispenser machine thing that asks you to cough up your cash. Come on, guys, sex is very much a choice.
I understand why condoms are given out for free, I really do, and I am not saying that they shouldn’t be free, simply because the threat of contracting both STIs and HIV is rife and I am so pro-safe sex that I give everyone who will listen to me all the information I have about it stored in my brain – thanks mom, you’re the best!
However, sex still a choice.
Sign Cosmo’s #TamponTaxMustFall petition
Okay, let’s just get down to it and I will stop ranting…
The whole point of this rant article is to ask you all to sign this amazing petition put forward by Cosmopolitan SA to The Parliment of South Africa.
The numbers are so close, and it can be done! Common, let’s make a difference when it comes to Tampon Tax. For our pocket’s sake and for the girls and women who don’t attend work and school because they simply cannot afford to sacrifice that money buying sanitary items.
We, as women, deserve some relief when it comes to paying up for tampons and other sanitary items. We really, really do.
Sign below, please and thank you: