Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Aunt Flows salary paid in blood money

Students should rally against the pink tax on products and services like haircuts but also basic necessities like tampons. We already pay enough for tuition and those menstruating shouldn’t have to pay more for products in pink packaging with flowers on it.

In 1995, California was the first state to introduce and pass a bill banning gender pricing. The bill stated women paid an average gender tax of $1,351 annually.

According to the bill, women do not only pay extra for similar products as men in drugstores but also for services.

“A survey of Haircuts & Laundry Services in California found that women in California pay on the average $5 more for a haircut and $1.71 more to have a shirt laundered,” the bill stated.

A more recent study in 2010 by Consumer Reports Magazine found women are still paying more for drugstore items.

“We discovered that products directed at women—through packaging, description, or name—might cost up to 50 percent more than similar products for men,” the article stated.

Pain relievers are even priced differently based on what the packaging says they are for. The Consumer Reports article stated two pain relievers of the same brand, one being for menstrual pain, have the exact same ingredients but different price points.

“Each ‘express gel’ of Excedrin Extra Strength and Excedrin Complete Menstrual contains 250 milligrams of aspirin, 250 mg of acetaminophen, and 65 mg of caffeine,” the article stated. “But Excedrin Menstrual costs 50 cents more at Walgreens.”

Findings like this should entice women to read the labels and compare products that seem similar but are marketed toward a specific gender and gender-specific problems. This includes the monthly visit from Aunt Flo.

According to the drug facts on Midol Complete, each tablet contains 500 mg of acetaminophen. This is the same amount in each Tylenol Extra Strength tablet.

According to, a box a 100 Tylenol Extra Strength costs $8.95. A box of 40 Midol Complete is $6.34. That is a price difference of six cents per pill.

Besides the cramps and pain that comes with a female’s favorite week, they also have to deal with ounces of blood falling out of their vagina for days.

Women use tampons and napkins to contain the shedding of their uterine lining so they can keep some of their sanity. They’re dealing with one of the most frustrating parts of biology and they’re paying for it, literally.

President Barack Obama recently said in a Time interview he does not understand the pink tax.

“I have to tell you, I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items,” Obama said. “I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.”

Female lawmakers across the United States have been writing and introducing legislation to end the tampon tax.

California assembly member Cristina Garcia is championing the cause to end the pink tax in California, according to a press release from her office on Jan. 5.

“Garcia shares that feminine hygiene products are a basic necessity and should be free instead of taxed,” the press release stated.

According to Garcia, women have no choice when it comes to buying tampons and napkins because they can’t just ignore it.

“Basically we are being taxed for being women,” Garcia said when announcing the bill.

According to Today’s TMJ4 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is one of 40 states with a “luxury tax” on feminine hygiene products.

Democratic lawmaker Rep. Melissa Sargent of Madison introduced a bill that would require public buildings to offer free tampons and napkins in restrooms just like toilet paper and soap already are, according to a Capital Times article.

“[Sargent’s] bill would require restrooms in any building owned, leased or occupied by the state to dispense feminine hygiene products at no cost to those using the facilities,” the Capital Times article stated. “That would include public schools, independent charter schools and private schools participating in the state’s voucher program.”

Potentially, this could go beyond Sargent’s focus on public schools and expand to public universities.

In order for her bill to be passed, it has to get across a Republican-controlled Legislature that has worked to implement outrageous restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.

Students who believe that it is a woman’s right to products only needed because of biology should contact their state representatives. Let them know that women did not ask to pay $18,171 in their lifetimes because of their periods, according to the Huffington Post.

Women who end up spending almost $20,000 on their period do so because they can. There are also women and girls who cannot afford feminine hygiene products.

Women face a pay gap of 79 cents on the dollar, according to a report by the American Association of University Women.

According to Assembly member Garcia’s press release, women of color face an even bigger pay gap. Latinas make only 54 cents and African American women only make 63 cents. The pink tax makes purchasing feminine hygiene products more difficult for those more affected by economic gender inequality.

“Women have no choice but to buy these products, so the economic effect is only felt by women and women of color are particularly hard hit by this tax,” the press release stated.

According to Listen Money Matters’s pink tax article, women and girls in less developed countries miss school because of their period and having nothing to stop the blood from exiting their bodies.

“UNICEF estimates that 10 percent of African girls miss school during their period,” the article stated.

Missing part of your education is unacceptable because of something biology handed you without asking. Students here at UW Oshkosh are lucky enough to have a little extra money to pay for necessities like tampons.

Action to change the taxes and availability of feminine hygiene products starts with students educating themselves and others. Call your friends, contact the Women’s Center, talk to a women and gender studies professor and figure out what you can do to help.

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