Tampon Tax bleeds students’ wallets, demands university support

Lanthorn Editorial Board, Editorial Board

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Periods. You either deal with them or you hear about them. They suck, they are painful, they cause serious mood swings, and don’t even get us started on the blood. But you want to know what makes the whole situation even worse? The fact that the available menstrual products cost a whole arm and a leg. 

The general sales tax rate in Michigan is six percent. On average, a box of 36 regular tampons costs seven dollars. This may not sound like a lot, but if you’re purchasing one box every month, that’s a total of $84 per year. On average, periods occur between the ages of 13 and 51, which means more than $3,000 is spent on menstrual products in a lifetime. 

Ultimately, menstruation is a natural function which usually isn’t a choice. Because of this, people have long wondered why the prices for menstrual products are so high. Why should a necessity be taxed? 

Currently, a total of 18 states in the U.S. do not impose a tampon tax. Unfortunately, Michigan is not one of these states. And while the high prices of these products can have harsh effects on anyone who menstruates, those in college communities may be hit even harder. 

Between tuition, rent and groceries, a hefty portion of the college population doesn’t have much money to spare. And when students have to choose between food and health, there’s a big problem. 

This is why the recent collaboration between GVSU’s Student Senate and the Center for Women and Gender Equity is so important. Their new initiative is aimed at providing free menstrual products on campus. Currently, female and gender neutral bathrooms in Mackinac Hall, the Kirkhof Center, Holton Hooker Living and Learning Center, the Marketplace and Mary Idema Pew Library have been equipped with menstrual products from GVSU’s food pantry, Replenish.

However, this initiative spans beyond people who menstruate, beyond Student Senate and beyond any one facility. It is imperative that student organizations, facilities and administrators acknowledge their responsibility to not only student inclusion, but value accessibility to health resources for anyone who menstruates. 

If you are a leader on campus, you can reach out to Student Senate or the Center for Women and Gender Equity to find out how you can help. If you are a student who utilizes the resources, you can provide feedback that will help the initiative grow. 

Menstruation impacts more people than meets the eye. If you are a Laker, you have a responsibility to project your voice and support an initiative that supports the Laker community.