Period. Not a nice word, is it? Does it make you feel embarrassed, or even worse, disgusted? The majority of people probably shudder at the mere thought of this monthly gift in demonic form. However, two girls that had simply had enough of the ridiculous stigma over a perfectly normal and involuntary process were Ruth Howarth and Charlie Edge.
Both girls took to the outside of the houses of parliament, clutching inspirational billboards emblazoned with the logos ‘I will bleed on your capitalism’, ‘periods are not a luxury’ and ‘no uterus, no opinion.’ The most striking and also relevant element of their protest? Both girls donned white trousers and freely allowed themselves to bleed, thus showing the public, and also the government, the harsh reality of just how essential these ‘luxury’ items are. Ruth Howarth, a Sexual Health student at the University of Central Lancashire, boldly described the experience as ‘pretty nerve racking’, and informing me that part of their inspiration came from several people voicing the view of ‘if everyone stopped using tampons and just bled, they’d [the government] would change their minds!’
The girls received a very mixed response. Astoundingly, infamous online blog ‘The Lad Bible’, notorious for their mockery of pretty much everything, described the stunt as a ‘powerful statement’, with the majority of comments left on the Facebook article also condoning the girls’ courage and apathy to the controversy they may cause. Shockingly, comments left on an equally positive article by Cosmopolitan were not so positive, with many girls complaining that the protest promotes ‘poor personal hygiene’ and ‘has nothing to do with feminism’.
Tampons are subject to EU taxation, despite most brands such as Tampax and Always being fairly expensive as it is, and therefore means women are charged a government fee when buying them. Recent studies have shown that the average woman will spend a horrifying £18, 450 on sanitary products in their lifetime, despite obviously as much control of their menstrual cycle as men have when they grow beards (to shave off with razors that are not taxed, by the way).
The vote to abolish the 5% taxation was lost 305 to 287 in the Houses of Parliament, bafflingly with Ministry for Women and Equalities members Caroline Dineage and Nicky Morgan in the midst of those wanting to keep it. I’m sure I speak for every womb- possessing human on the planet when I say that, with the help of more people like Charlie and Ruth performing the unexpected, we can keep fighting for the end of this ridiculous and outdated tax.