Set aside ten minutes. Right now. I want you here, listening, and I hope you’re ready. This is important. It affects the people in your life. It’s up to you to help keep this movement moving and to make a change.
This morning I woke up to a message from a friend who’s living in England. She had sent me a link to a news article of three girls who had protested against the taxes of sanitary items in front of Parliament across the pond by bleeding freely in white trousers. Peaceful protest. Making a huge statement.
Now there have been similar movements lately, with M.I.A’s drummer, Kiran Gandhi running the London Marathon without a tampon and bleeding freely. Sikh poetess, Rupi Kaur shared one out of a series of photos about monthly bleeding on Instagram. It was taken down. Twice. She protested, and posted it again, and finally it was allowed. A group of Sydney girls (and Tony Abbott’s sister) rapping to Drop It Like It’s Hot with lyrics about the ‘tampon tax’. They proved how outdated our mindsets are of periods, which is proven by there being a tax on items to assist us for when we bleed.
|Rupi Kaur's 'Period' photo series.|
It’s not just about taxing something natural, or just about the taboo surrounding something that happens to half the world. Something that happens to every single person who brought you into the world. If you were to shame the blood that runs from my body, from your sister’s body, from your girlfriend’s body, you are shaming your mother – your own existence. Without it, you would not be here. And if you had something negative to say about this blood, about this unbelievable, high-strength magic that women hold between their legs – I wouldn’t be complaining if you weren’t around.
With PM’s saying that sanitary items are a ‘luxury’ and ‘non-essential’, saying that taking the tax off these items isn’t a priority, and new research coming out saying that we spend around $39,000 in our lives INDIVIDUALLY on sanitary items, it’s hard to believe that these people are allowed to… I don’t know… Have a say… At all… About anything.
This tax, this taboo, this 'anything negative to do with periods' is done. It's outdated. We – as a society – should've left that one behind a long, long time ago. I shouldn’t be talking about this. I shouldn’t know what it’s like to be cringed at, to be laughed at, to feel ashamed and apologetic for this red river that runs through me, wild and strong.
This tax, this taboo, this ‘anything negative to do with periods’ is not done. It’s not just about blood that doesn’t warrant an injury to flow, or about paying something extra, it’s inequality. It’s still fear of women and our bodies, and about what they can do.
|Poem by Rupi Kaur.|
Pads and tampons are not a luxury item – let me tell you, it is essential. Those three women who bled through their white pants did what some women who are homeless do each month. Often they have to weigh up food or pads. What would you choose?
Free sanitary items should be the reality, but how about taking the tax off for a start? And while you’re at it, free contraceptives. To suit all genders. Not just the most convenient. God KNOWS men get enough for free.
Sure, periods can be a true pain in the ass, and I’m not dismissing the pain that some go through (sometimes you vomit, you can’t walk, you think your uterus is going to fall out your ass – don’t tell me this is a choice), but over the last year I’ve realised what a blessing it is to bleed.
Take a stand in whatever way possible. Sign a petition. Talk about your blood, write about it. Learn to love and accept this part of your lives – men, this means you too. Accept this part of your life, for it affects you too. You wouldn’t be here without it, remember?
Now. Watch this.