Post-pubescent and pre-menopausal women get their periods once a month. This is a fact. Another fact? Menstrual products in Canada, including pads and tampons, have GST placed on them — something that isn't true for, say, wedding cakes or human sperm.
In the hilarious video above by Canadian Menstruators, a group currently pushing to change the law that sees a five per cent tax included on every menstrual hygiene product, they run through a variety of grocery store items that don't get taxed, vs. the tampons they're trying to buy that do. (Alright, we've never seen sperm in a supermarket either. But how did it even make it on the list in the first place?)
Considering almost half the population gets their period once a month, this seems like a massive oversight on the part of lawmakers. But it's not just in matters of money that menstruation is a topic of concern. Last week, Toronto-based artist Rupi Kaur posted a picture of photography series based on periods on Instagram, only to have it removed twice. Though it was eventually permitted to stay on the site, Kaur saw this as indicative of a larger problem. As she wrote in The Huffington Post Canada:
"This photo was supposed to make you feel uncomfortable. It was intended to disrupt and open dialogues which venture beyond our simplistic notions of how comfortable we feel and reach into spaces where the impact of our silence results in actual, real world problems for marginalized female populations. Why are we so terrified of a natural process that allows for life to be brought into this world? Why do we scramble to hide our tampons when we pull them out of our purses? Why do we whisper "period," but shout "bitch," "slut," and "hoe"? What is more damaging? What is it about the ways our bodies work that makes us so ashamed?"
While the tax on the menstruation hygiene products isn't directly related to shame, it does indicate a lack of awareness of what is deemed an essential item for half the population. Check out the petition Canadian Menstruators have started to change that.