Monday 3 April 2017

Outsmart the Tampon Tax - your 'how to' guide


Fanny, admittedly, is not a level headed person at the best of times. People walking at an unacceptably slow pace or not having their Oyster card ready are likely to make Fanny almost purple with frustration.

But when Fanny found out that the Tampon Tax would be funding Life, an anti-choice organisation that campaigns against abortion, Fanny really lost her Cool.

Whilst Life does appear to do some positive work supporting pregnant homeless women, as Labour MP, Paula Sherriff, neatly puts it: "It will seem bitterly ironic to many women if we are taxed for our biology, only for the government to hand over that money to organisations that don't even believe we should have control over our own bodies, especially when so many are left without basic sanitary protection."

Indeed, in a furious debate on Radio 4's Today Programme the excellent Ann Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) pointed out that "In terms of rape, they say that abortion is a death penalty on an unborn child". Unsurprisingly, Life have now removed this information from their website, although there is still plenty of objectionable content still available to view.

Email this man!
But what can we do?! We can campaign, of course. This goes without saying. Let's not take this poop lying down. BPAS are valiantly leading the drive and suggest pressing Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, on the matter. You can use their template here. And we can continue to press for the end of the Tampon Tax, as championed by the incredible Laura Coryton. But what are other options? Be held to ransom? Free bleed?

Well, here's another really blimmin neat idea to add to the armoury: just stop paying the Tampon Tax. Say no, put your purse down and just walk away.

OK, so Fanny is being a little glib - but there IS an option - an option that is beneficial for women, our vaginas, our purses, our environment, and a monumental way of saying a massive UP YER BUM to those who exploit our periods, and then channel the proceeds into organisations dedicated to limiting our choices.

And all the money you save you could donate to the women's charities of your choosing.

The solution? Make your own reusable sanitary towel. STOP! WAIT! BEFORE YOU CLOSE THE PAGE! Just take a sneaky peek below before you make up your mind.

Now Fanny does appreciate that reusables have somewhat of an ewww reputation but these fears are easily assuaged (see Fanny's fannytastic Myth Busters). Nor is Fanny 'at one' with crafts. In fact, Fanny is entirely mal-coordinated and really not inclined to make anything other than the occasional chocolate brownie. Fanny started knitting a scarf, got bored halfway through and left it so long she forgot how to knit. Fanny is a bonafide crafting calamity.

However, Fanny was sufficiently enraged to look for alternatives to paying for sanitary products direct, and after a bit of a cheeky Goog, discovered that all you need is:
  • A simple cotton for the top layer (Fanny likes 100% cotton on her vag)
  • Some absorbent padding for the middle (Fanny bought this)
  • Some waterproof fleece for the back like this
  • A needle and thread (or borrow a sewing machine - ask an elderly relative)
  • A smidge of Velcro, buttons, or poppers for the wings
After a half hour tutorial with Fanny's 'long-suffering-but-handy-with-crafts' boyfriend on Mamma Cool's dusty sewing machine, Fanny followed this extremely simple set of instructions on Sunday afternoon, courtesy of Luna Wolf. And hey presto - here are some 'sannie pads a la Fanny'.*

Home Made Fanny pads
Sure, they're little wonky on the wings (Fanny warned you she was shit at crafts)…. But are they freakin' awesome? YES! Will they nicely accessorize Fanny's fanny? YES! And did Fanny pay Tampon Tax on them? NO! Will Fanny donate her monthly savings to a women's charity of her choice? YES! And does Fanny have enough material left to make a load more of these bastards? Why, yes she does. And Fanny shall. Fanny is due her period yesterday and can't wait to road test these bad boys.

Check out the full list of charities funded by the Tampon Tax for some ideas about where to send your savings. There are loads of other brilliant charities not receiving funding too. Leave comments below with ideas about great causes deserving donations!

So, angry about paying VAT on san pro? Angry that money raised by the Tampon Tax is being diverted to an anti-choice organisation? Time to take action and vote with your fanny!

Fanny, over and out.

*Here are some extra tips to enhance the making experience:
  • Buddy up with a fellow fanny-mate to reduce the costs of materials and make them together for added fun
  • Check out local Makerspace organisations to get access to a sewing machine
  • Experiment with different materials to find out which you like best - some like cotton tops, some like fluffy tops. Some prefer natural fibres for hygiene, some prefer man made fibres that keep you drier. Your fanny, your choice

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