It has been at least a week since I leapt up and down in a frothing rage about something that is utterly unjust and frankly lunatic, so I feel the time is right for me to get on my high horse and do a bit of angry dressage once more.
Let’s talk about periods again shall we?
You know, those things that you’re not supposed to mention in case the 50% of the population that doesn’t have them swoons like a Victorian consumptive in the vicinity of a handy chaise longue?
I don’t know if you know this, but periods are a luxury.
Yes. Along with the Alexa Bag, jeroboams of Cristal Champagne, Lear Jets and having a personal chef, bleeding for seven days every month is a luxury. I believe even the Kardashians have periods. Which is enough to make me excited about them, frankly.
If, after reading this you are feeling left out because you haven’t got a period and you want one, you can have a hand embroidered one by Tracey Emin, available exclusively in Harrods. They come in several colour ways. I recommend the one that says: ‘Fuck the Patriarchy.’ If you prefer, for an extra £18,000 you can have them monogrammed in thread soaked in the menstrual blood of Vestal Virgins.
Us women do not get our luxuries cheap, of course, because otherwise how would we know we were indulging in such decadent practices? Apart from the fact that we are bleeding like a stuck pig? Well, we have to buy sanitary towels and tampons and pay VAT on them, because they are classified as luxury items. That’s how we know.
This is making the news today, because campaigner, Laura Coryton has started a petition to challenge the government’s ruling on this and East Anglia and Sussex University Student Unions are taking the PM to task to ask why this is so.
Apparently he has said that it is a tricky issue. Mainly it is because when anyone mentions the word ‘period’ he bursts into tears and has to be revived with a burned feather from his fan, but also because it is about hard sums. He is not really very good at those, which is why he is happy to blame immigration on our economic situation rather than admit that it might also have something to do with the 25 billion quid in uncollected tax he lets big businesses get away with year on year.
Previous campaigns to reclassify sanitary products have seen the VAT rate lowered from 17.5% to just 5%, but that is the lowest rate at which VAT can be charged, without falling foul of the EU, and heaven forfend we should do that.
My question would be, why not simply reclassify sanitary towels and tampons as necessary items, thus relieving the need to charge VAT at all?
That seems to be beyond the wit of man, although painfully simple for most women to grasp.
Apparently, we cannot do that because Brussels still won’t like it.
As far as I am aware, Brussels does not like our chocolate, our refusal to embrace the euro, our weak bridges and the fact that we are funny about our bananas, but we still resolutely refuse to cave on those points, so why are we being so mealy mouthed about Tampax?
Obviously, us women will be a bit sad that we are not able to luxuriate for seven days a month, but I’m sure that the next season’s must have haemorrhoids will prove to be fairly costly once we’ve had the face of the Botticelli Venus painted on them in Farrow and Ball ‘Mouse Dung’, and this will more than make up for the disappointment.
I already knew that tampons and sanitary towels were classified as a luxury item by the way. How? I hear you ask. Because twenty four years ago when I was at university it was something that our Student Union was campaigning on too. It has taken TWENTY FOUR YEARS for the government to knock 12.5% off of the VAT on sanitary products, which Mr. Cameron would say, just goes to prove how tricky it is.
Even though there is no VAT on incontinence pads, which are basically the same thing.
Lest I be accused of being sexist here, let me bring the subject round to men for a moment. After all, if women might be in the offing for some special treatment in terms of getting VAT quashed on sanitary products, what can we do for men to make things more equal?
Well we could make shaving foam exempt from VAT. Oh? No, sorry, we can’t do that, because apparently shaving foam is an essential item for men, so there is no VAT on it.
Men NEED to be able to get rid of beards. Women do not NEED to be able to find a hygienic way to stop filling their shoes with blood once a month.
The shaving foam news might be good for women actually, given that the Daily Mail ran an article today saying that women should now shave their faces every day to stop the signs of ageing. We NEED to do that, of course. God forbid that there might be old looking women out there as well as women running around luxuriating once a month.
No wonder the world is going to hell in a hand cart.