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tampon tax protest
via Charlie Edge/Facebook

Women free bleed outside parliament to protest tampon tax

‘Maybe bleeding on their doorstep will get the Tories to do something about this?’

Women are lucky. Every month, after a killer onset of cramps, migraines and psycho hormones, we get a period. That's five to seven glorious days where we bleed uncontrollably out of our vaginas, and indulge in some sensuous tampon usage – which, in case you weren't aware, is a seriously indulgent experience.

Only it isn't. In reality, tampons are a very essential part of being a woman – though it's the former picture that's being painted by the UK government.  According to them, tampons and sanitary items are “luxuries”, which means women have to pay a five per cent levy on all the products (aka the “tampon tax”). 

It's a bizarre and backward policy, and one that was protested this weekend by Charlie Edge and Ruth Howarth. To coincide with the government's recent 305 to 287 vote to block a call removing the levy, the students stood outside the Houses of Parliament “forgoing tampons and pads” to prove how essential the items really are.

“They're not luxury items, anymore than jaffa cakes, edible cake decorations, exotic meats or any other number of things currently not taxed as luxury items”, Edge explained. “Maybe bleeding on their doorstep will get the tories to do something about this?”

The stunt was posted on both their social media pages, and quickly attracted a lot of attention – including over 11000 likes on Facebook.

“This isn’t just ‘three girls outside parliament with blood stains’,” she added. “This is three more people who are angry about something, encouraging the millions of other people who are also angry about the same thing, to talk about it”. 

“The tampon tax has been decided on almost entirely by cis men. Cis men don’t have uteruses. They don’t have periods. They should not get to dominate laws that do not affect them... Quite frankly, it’s none of your business what anyone else decides to put up their vagina”.

“People keep asking me to organise another one with more people,” she told Dazed. “I’m waiting to see the outcome of this one first. But I wish that people would do it themselves. I would love for it to become a trend for people to free-bleed and make a scene until we're listened to!”