The pink tax

A discussion of empty dispensers and expensive products

You go to the bathroom, but you didn’t realize it was that time of the month Yes, that time. You go to the machine to buy a tampon and discover that it’s empty. Now you’re down 50 cents and you have nothing to catch the blood flowing out of your vagina.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for many uterus owners. The machines in bathrooms that are supposed to provide convenience are left unstocked and empty. Those unprepared and without their own products are left with little choice but to put toilet paper in their underwear and hope for the best.  

“Just bring your own stuff”, some may say. While they do have a point, you can’t always predict when your period is going to arrive. Periods can be unpredictable and can come at the most inconvenient times. One mistake shouldn’t result in having to deal with blood staining your underwear and pants. 

Sienna Parmelee | Demo 64

I can understand not wanting to just “hand out” period products in every public place. That would be a cost to the owner that, depending on the place, might not be paid back. However, they should definitely be available at places where other items, such as condoms, are given for free. 

Condoms typically cost more than period products, but are handed out for free in many places, such as health clinics and college campuses. I appreciate that these places are encouraging safe sex, but I believe they should also be encouraging personal hygiene. 

Tampon accessibility is not the only thing I believe is negatively impacting people who purchase products that are traditionally marketed towards women. Pads, tampons and other products are often more expensive than products marketed towards men.  

According to an article from Listen Money Matters, women pay 48% more for shampoo and conditioner, 11% more for razors and lotion and 6% more for body wash when compared to how much men pay for similar products. While this may not seem like a lot, the difference adds up over time, resulting in lost money for those who consume these products. 

Why should women pay more for products that do the same thing? I understand that shampoos and conditioners could cost more because of expensive ingredients, however, the difference in price for razors makes little sense to me. They are almost identical products, so why is there such a difference in price? 

Tampon inaccessibility and the price difference in products are just two things that make life harder for the people who depend on these products. Problems like these should be addressed to make the world just a little fairer.