Family

The 'tampon tax' is real: These are the 40 states taxing periods.

Maybe cramps are the uterus' way of eye-rolling?

The 'tampon tax' is real: These are the 40 states taxing periods.

When I think of luxury items, I think of video games, cars, maybe even Cheetos. Something I (and most people) would never put on that list? Tampons.

But apparently I should start.


Currently 40 states in the United States impose a tax — either a regular sales or gross receipts tax or a luxury tax — on tampons and other menstrual products.

Is your state one of them? Map via Fusion and this great article by Taryn Hillin, used with permission.

People with uteruses are paying a monthly toll, getting taxed extra for something they can't control: their periods.

Sanitary products in the varying states' tax laws sometimes fall under the "luxury tax," which applies to products or services deemed unnecessary or nonessential. To make things more uncomfortable, the tax is also sometimes referred to as the "sin tax."

In what world is dealing with a period nonessential and luxurious? Not ours.

As anyone who menstruates knows to be true, sanitary products are an essential and expected part of life. At work, at school, or pretty much anywhere, it's not an option to go without caring for your health and hygiene. And making sure you're covered every month really adds up: If tampons are your go-to, you could be spending almost $2,000 on those alone in your lifetime. Putting an extra tax on them only adds to that financial burden.

Taxes can be confusing, sure, especially since they're all state-level. But certain conditions do make you wonder. For example, most states don't tax on essential items like groceries, which often includes candy and sugary drinks.

No matter your sweet tooth, it's hard to argue that candy is essential. But you'd be hard pressed to find someone who could say that it's not essential to deal with a non-optional part of life every month.

One of them is taxed and the other sometimes isn't. Image via Brad Cerenzia/Flickr.

Activist Jennifer Weiss-Wolf and Cosmopolitan have teamed up to demand legislators in 40 states drop the tampon tax.

Their petition has already garnered over 30,000 signatures.

As the first to really shine a light on the tampon tax in the United States, they're hoping that states will follow the lead of the those that have said "no" to it: Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The tampon tax is not just happening in the United States. Canada eliminated its tampon tax earlier this year.

A demonstration in Paris on Nov. 11, 2015. Photo by Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images

In the summer of 2015, a successful public campaign helped convince the Canadian Parliament to vote unanimously on eliminating the national tampon tax in Canada. A big victory!

Other campaigns can be found from Australia to parts of Europe, with women protesting the tampon tax on social media and even free-bleeding (which is exactly what you think it is) to make a point in public spaces. Women from all over are demanding that their governments eliminate this unnecessary tax.

If we want to live in a more equal world, this is a good start.

The menstruation taboo still stands strong today, whether a girl's period becomes the butt of a joke in a movie or it forces a girl to actually drop out of school in a developing country. This stigmatization especially affects disadvantaged communities, where resources and education aren't as readily available to start conversations and shift perceptions.

A topic like menstruation should be accessible everywhere. Image via Scott Forster/Flickr.

Access to sanitary products is a right, not a luxury.

When our periods are used against us, it sends a message that we are being punished just for existing. That's not the world we want to live in. As Canadians can attest, this tax can be defeated. We might as well try.

You can start by signing the petition here.

You can tax me for my Cheetos, but leave my already-expensive tampons alone, please. I'm trying to kick ass in this world and that's one more thing that unfairly gets in the way.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."