Emma B. Michigan

Luxury Tax on Feminine Hygiene Products

Why taxing women for their necessary hygiene products as a "luxury" is counterproductive, unprogressive, and frankly unfair.

To Whomever the Next President of the United States May Be,

First I would like to welcome you to the seat of the conductor. This will be a long, bumpy, and hopefully thrilling ride. Please keep in consideration all of whom you are representing; we are composed of every possible difference that may be entailed. We are holding our breaths for you.

I recently met an individual whom deemed female bodily functions as disgraceful. They viewed the process of menstruation with clear discomfort; period blood was more acid water than an indication of femininity. As if a period was nothing more than a sign of a woman’s freedom, all white males seem to approach the idea with a ten or twenty foot-long sword, shielding themselves from the inevitable attack of female bodily fluids. Menstruation, of course, is a process that women can not control-other than through pregnancy or menopause, and even sometimes these have ambiguous timing. A woman’s functions should not be shielded from the world or acknowledged with revulsion.

I can understand why this might be, but if the human condition were to be taught the beauty of anatomy at a young age the beauty of anatomy maybe this would not be a problem. A menstrual cycle is not something that should be met with disgust or disdain, it is a natural process occurring among almost half of the population; The process of menstruation is nothing more than a sign of freedom and independence for women. President, I am not urging you to meticulously banish prejudice, but to see it as this: menstruation should not be anymore of a burden than it already is. Once a month, women universally will bleed out of their vaginas, a place that human beings will come out of, consecutively for several days at a time. Women do not receive enough credit. Instead we pay. The problem lies in that a woman’s necessary hygiene products are considered a “luxury.” A flower does not grow because it wants to grow. A woman does not menstruate because she wants to menstruate. If items such as lip balm and dandruff shampoo fall under the category of medical necessities and are tax-exemptions, shouldn’t feminine hygiene products be of even superior importance? Other luxury tax items, somehow grouped in the same category as tampons and pads, include snack items and any item considered non-essential. Not to mention the fact that with health services being so significant, why shouldn't tampons and pads be exempt from the sales tax? Clearly bodily fluids are evident in the process of menstruation, and without proper care, sanitation is at a major risk.

The tax, though seemingly insignificant, adds up quickly. According to statistics, on average, women in the state of California pay about $7 per month for sanitary products, adding up to over $20 million annually in taxes. Taxing women for their hygiene products is essentially taxing the sky for rain damage. Women have consistently been on the lower end of the deal in economics, with the continuous issue of the gender wage gap, as well as feminine health products having a track record of being significantly more expensive than men’s products. Shampoo for a woman is no different than shampoo for men, just as razors for women serve the same purpose as for men, however these products are generally more expensive when given the label “for women.” According to a study in New York City, in general products marketed to women cost more than those marketed to men 42% of the time. In most cases, it is a common trend for women to retaliate by purchasing products marketed for men, however in the case of hygiene products, this is not possible. While I’m not suggesting, President, that women be exempt from paying for our necessary products, the least we could receive is recognition that our bodily functions are not at all a luxury. If this happens to entail exempting pads and tampons from the sales tax, then so it should be.

President, thank you and best of luck.


Emma B

Clarkston Community Schools

Eisele IB ELA 12


All letters from this group →