LET'S FIND A LOOPHOLE
‘I have no idea why states would tax tampons as luxury items… I suspect it is because men were making the laws’.
While this may sound like a feminist quote (and it is!), it’s in fact Obama talking about the tampon tax, an unnecessary luxury tax for necessary sanitary products such as tampons. This isn’t just an issue in the USA, as similar discriminatory laws are still intact worldwide. Germany is one of those unfortunate countries, but rest assured that some social vigilantes are on the rise to break these sexist rules. Meet ‘The Tampon Book’.
Selling books might not seem like an obvious protesting too, but it actually makes all the sense in the world! In Germany, the tax rate for tampons, as well as other “luxury” goods, is 19%, compared to the 7% tax on books. The Female Company found a loophole to circumvent this unfairness. By selling the book and “hiding” tampons in there, they were able to sell them at a reduced price.
The Tampon Book is not just a loophole to sell tampons at a reduced price, it is also an actual book book. It consists of 46 pages of stories on the historical, as well as modern day perspective on menstruation. Illustrated by Alicia Läuger and Ana Curbelo, the pages are filled with simplistic figures, women of different shapes and sizes, shaved, or not. The illustrations are suggestive, playful, with a raw and uncompromising feel to them, they are the embodiment of the new aesthetic.
When looking back at the history of menstruation, it was, and still is, a taboo topic which is discussed in silence. However, through these illustrations they want to show that this is not something to be shy about, in fact it is something universal for most women, as well as some men.
The protest is far from over though, even after collecting over 175.000 signatures for a petition to reduce the tax rate on feminine hygiene products, the German financial minister just shrugged it off, not wanting to lower the rate. However, strides are being made regarding the tampon tax, countries such as Canada and Kenya have completely abolished the tax. Even in the US, 11 states have already gotten rid of the tax. Hopefully the other 40 states will follow suit, as well as the other countries that are lagging.
The Tampon Book is more than just a story, it’s a movement.