A visible protest is a successful protest
Over her entire life, a woman spends about $18,000 on average to manage her period.
Is that really necessary though? The British Parliament didn't think so, and in 1973 passed an unbelievable regulation: tampons and maxi pads would be considered "luxury products" and thus be subjected to a 17.5% tax. Following a massive lobbying effort from a female Member of Parliament, this rate was reduced to 5% in 2000, the lowest rate then allowed under the European Union's value-added-tax law.
— Ally Katte (@AllyKatte) October 28, 2015
Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Edge and some friends took that... literally. They decided to show the decision-makers at Westminster what it looks like when tampons are a non-essential, luxury item.
It's such a smart demonstration of the point: if women can't afford this "luxury" once a month, then here's what'll happen. Red stains on your pants, a lot of discomfort, and, quite possibly, alarmed people around you.
They succeeded in taking a subject that's often taboo or embarrassing and making it serious, important, and very funny all at the same time!
Passers-by reacted overwhelmingly positively, albeit with the occasional disgusted or freaked out pedestrian. But no doubt, these women made their point.
Their brave protest was designed to produce a certain shock and outrage, but of course most of all to show that women don't choose to have their periods. We don't buy sanitary products the way we buy fabulous shoes. We LOVE the shoes, of course, but we NEED the tampons (or pads or cups).
It's great that they figured out how to get people's attention: most of us can't follow every last law that's passed, so someone's got to stand up and disagree when our lawmakers make (very dumb) mistakes.
Protests against the tax have been successful too. A petition was launched to "Stop Taxing Periods. Period." and now Charlie and her fellow British women are counting down the days until the tax is abolished!