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Why Should I Pay A ‘Luxury Tax’ For Bleeding?

Not 14% not 12%, not 5%... there should be no tax on being a woman.

12/07/2017 8:42 AM IST | Updated 13/07/2017 2:16 PM IST
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

So here's the thing. Periods suck. Menstruation. Aunt Flo. The Red Wedding. Inevitable pain and discomfort, whatever name you call it by, is still inevitable pain and discomfort. Guys, you need to read this. Carefully.

Periods are painful. Uncomfortable. And very messy. It's a wonder that 50% of the population is able to do stuff while having blood gushing out of their privates. Did that make you squeamish? Guess what, it's worse when it's happening to you.

Bleeding is not a "luxury". It's a regular bodily function for women who, like I keep saying again and again, are half of your damn population...

To add to that when you have cramps, bloated stomach, back pain, headache, and sometimes even nausea and dizziness, you'd think that nothing worse can happen to you. Well, if there's one thing life has taught me, it's that there's always room for something worse. And in this case it is having the government kick you in the stomach while you are down writhing in pain during your "time of the month". What am I talking about? A 12% tax on an item that all menstruating women absolutely need and depend on to function semi-normally. Sanitary napkins and cloths are what keep us from marking everything we sit on with our monthly shedding of uterine tissue.

Bleeding is not a "luxury". It's a regular bodily function for women who, like I keep saying again and again, are half of your damn population (talking to the government here). So it boggles my mind that some places put a "luxury tax" on something that is so vital for our well being and functioning.

In India we already have a huge percentage of women who don't have access to feminine hygiene products. Instead of making these more accessible, educating the populace on different ways in which they can tackle the pesky time of the month, and dispelling myths of what women can and can't do during the red tsunami, the government is punishing us for bleeding. Not 14% not 12%, not 5%... there should be no tax on being a woman.

We need to build a space where our physical and mental needs are not brushed under the rug in the name of culture or "sanskar".

But there is, and the worst part in all this is that accoutrements like sindoor, bindi, and bangles are not taxed. What message does that send to women? We don't care about you as an individual citizen but we will not let you get away from your role in the society, with respect to men?

Women, we need to start making a noise (if you aren't already). Even if it makes many people (men) extremely uncomfortable, we need talk about our bodies. These are OUR bodies we are talking about. Our beautiful, nurturing, kick-ass bodies. We have to tend to them with love. We need to build a space where our physical and mental needs are not brushed under the rug in the name of culture or "sanskar". We have to demand that our needs be catered to with empathy and understanding, instead of disgust and apathy. Let us start now.

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