As vocal as many of us – men and women – have been about the ridiculous nature of the 5 per cent tampon tax, not many of us have taken the visual approach to get our points across.
Well over the weekend two women did just that by holding back on the so-called “luxury” items and going tampon free outside the Houses of Parliament.
Charlie Edge and several of her friends headed down to the political hub on Saturday, with their period blood clearly leaking through their stark white trousers.
She posted the following pictures on Facebook, which has since been shared over 14,500 times (1000 of those were in the first 12 hours) and has received over 19,000 times.
“Today I am forgoing tampons and pads outside the houses of parliament to show how 'luxury' tampons really are," wrote Edge.
“Everyone keeps saying "haha omg how quickly would we get free tampons if everyone stopped wearing them?!" So, I'm giving it a go."
“We've had enough. Maybe bleeding on their doorstep will get the tories to do something about this?”
The campaigner also brings light to the many items that are, surprisingly, not taxed such as jaffa cakes, cake decorations and exotic meats such as ostrich and crocodile.
Meanwhile, near to half the population spends approximately a quarter of their fertile life bleeding involuntary, are expected to pay 5% tax on their sanitary items.
Unsurprisingly the team of women holding banners reading “’No uterus, no opinion’ – Rachel Green” and “Does your tax make you feel awkward?” gained a lot of attention from onlookers, and Charlie later posted some of the comments she received on Facebook.
The top four were:
1. "Three girls outside parliament with blood stains isn’t gonna make parliament do anything."
2. “It’s gross.”
3. “I’m sure there are better ways to get your point across…”
4. “Your protest is offensive to women who can’t have periods. You should be grateful.”
And of course, Charlie had the perfect response to each remark:
“The tampon tax has been decided on almost entirely by cis men. Cis men don’t have uteruses. They don’t have periods. They should not get to dominate laws that do not affect them. The reason you’re all so grossed out by my period is because women’s bodies have been sexualised and vilified inherently throughout history.
"We’ve ALL tried to get this point across with polite debate and it hasn’t worked. This may not have solved the problem, but it’s definitely got people all over the world speaking out about something that they’re passionate about."
We're happy to say not all the response to the provocative campaign has been negative and close-minded.
One woman commenting on her post, said: "Don't lose heart though girls, the suffragette movement started with a woman and her two daughters, someone has to start it, YOU ARE BLOODY BRILLIANT! Ignore those saying you're disgusting."
Another wrote in admiration:
"You're an inspiration Charlie! And your wonderful friends who did it too! So glad it's getting noticed. Thank you for doing what I would never have the courage to do myself."
"This is a very informative post. Not only does it highlight some of the negative and bluntly, illogical comments in regards to your demonstration and more broadly the "tampon tax" but its really effective that you took time to counter these comments as well. Very well written indeed! Good on you Charlie."
And we couldn't agree more.