Facts about the Pink Tax and What You Can Do About It
Did you know we pay more for our period products than other hygiene necessities because they are deemed a “luxury item”???
I am not sure there is anything luxurious about bleeding, cramping, feeling like an emotional wreck, and having awful acne once a month… but if you say so (cue my eye roll here). On average we pay $1351 extra a year for our feminine goods. Although there is no specific “tampon tax”, 38 states have added a tax to tampons, because they can be deemed a luxury item for women. Although tampons/pads/period products are considered a first world problem, meaning that we have access to them (while many girls in Africa will miss up to a week of school because there is no access to menstrual care products), it is rightfully argued that it should not be included in luxury items, but rather a necessity.
What is worse, is the American College of OB/GYN just released the statistic that 64% of low-income women living in USA could not afford the needed menstrual hygiene supplies in 2018. While there is no male equivalent to compare the increase in cost on these items, the closest would be condoms, which are often widely available at doctor offices, college campus, pharmacies, etc. for free; while tampons/pads are not.
There are many ways to get involved and end the #pinktax such as writing your representative on the state and national level. To learn more about this issue you can always check out #axthepinktax by visiting their website. One way I decided to stop supporting this tax is to buy a menstrual cup.
What is a menstrual cup? Is this some Hippy Dippy contraption?
I cannot say who was the first to use the menstrual cup, because they were invented in 1884! (haha!) but I can say that for a long time these would have been primarily used by women who preferred to not shave their legs, wear deodorant, and may or may not have worn long, flowy skirts (but I am seriously just taking a guess here). However, these little silicone cups have become super mainstream in the past couple years. So mainstream that there are tons of manufactures that offer these at different price points. This little cup is exactly what it sounds like, a small flexible cup that is fitted into your vagina (of vajayjay if you would rather) to catch your flow.
These are reusable! They can be worn up to 12 hours, drained/rinsed and reinserted for another 12 hours. The chance of getting toxic-shock syndrome with cups is much lower, but they do need to be cleaned between each use and thoroughly cleaned in between each period— either by boiling them for 5 minutes or washing with dye and fragrance free soap.
When deciding to take the plunge on one of these bad boys, I did a lot of research (shocking, i know! haha( on the different brands & cost points and decided to purchase one from dot cup. There were a couple reasons behind this purchase. (1) I spoke with some of my gal pals that also use cups and said that they wanted to replace theres because they had become stained (due to the cup’s light color). Dot Cup comes in black. (2) It comes with a really adorable sack to store it in-between uses and (3) they do the whole BOGO thing when you buy one. Meaning they give one to a girl in a developing country, so that she can continue to attend school and gain the education necessary to fight the cycle of poverty. They partner with World Vision to ensure that their donations go to communities that can support the use of these cups— these communities have access to potable water so that the young girls/women do not get ill from bacteria in the water source while cleaning the cups. Honestly, it felt really cool that I was helping the planet by purchasing a reusable period item, keeping a girl in school, and solving my own period problems all at the same time.
Pros and Cons of using the menstrual cup
I really like the menstrual cup. Its discreet and easy to store. When I do have it in, I really don’t even feel it. I will say that it does take some practice figuring out how to insert it correctly so that there is a seal and removing it without freaking out that its stuck up there or making a mess. Unfortunately, I didn’t have it sealed correctly the first few days and had some leakage, but once I learned how to align it, I haven’t had any issues. I honestly do not think I will ever go back to pads/tampons/period discs. It is just so easy! I wish I hadn’t drug my feet on buying one.
You do need to feel comfortable inserting and removing it, which could be a con in some people’s books. Do not freak out if it is difficult to remove the first couple of times — this will only make you tense up more and make it harder to remove. Take a deep breath, and bear down like you need to poop; that should push it forward enough to pull it out. Dot Cup list the following ways on how to insert it, which I found very helpful. But other than getting a little friendly with yourself, I really don’t have many bad things to say!
I do believe its a great way to fight the pink tax and help save our planet. I hope you found this post informative and useful! What questions do you have about anything I mentioned here? Any Concerns? Any thoughts on how we can #axthepinktax? I’d love to know in the comments! #livejoyful