The Business Of Our Periods: Why Are Feminine Products So Darn Expensive?

July 17, 2012  |  

 

I have to say, I really have some very keen friends within my Facebook network. For instance, Modupe Liston, a Milwaukee activist, posted a very poignant thought on her wall, “How come there is not an organized women’s movement against the absurdity of high prices for feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads?”

Excellent observation.

Always Ultra Thin Overnights with Flexi-wings has been my staple product since they were invented. I’ve never been a tampon girl as I have developed an abnormal fear of Toxic Shock Syndrome, thanks in part to my reading of the insert from a pack of tampons as a child (long story). Yet over the last couple of years, I too have noticed that my beloved sanitary napkins has begun to slowly creep up in price.  It’s not like an item that I can go without – unless I plan on taking up residency inside a menstruating hut, like the Dogon women of West Mali, for one week out of a month. Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad idea if the hut came with cable television and dark chocolate chip cookies. But alas, I don’t own a hut but I do have bills, which means that my hemorrhaging A$$ has to get up and go to work.

Anyway, the average cost for my necessity ranges between $7 to $9, depending upon the size of the package I get. Since I tend to flow on the heavy side, I go through about four to five of those suckers a day, which means that I use about a pack of around 36 in a month’s span.  Based upon my rough estimations, my Aunt Flow costs me about $84 dollars a year, which means that I have paid thus far around $1260 since I was 15. And by the time I’m relieved of my womanly duty (i.e. menopause), I will have spent over $3000, just on sanitary napkins. Of course, this cost does not include inflation. Nor does it include the cost of party-liners, PMS relief, chocolate chip cookies and Victoria’s Secret panties that my aunt ruined.  If we factor in these additional expenditures, we are probably looking at an additional $5000 over a lifetime. That is almost $10,000 of my hard earned money, which I have no say-son in.

The fact is that owning a vagina is pretty costly; from the pap smears, to infections, to the birth control, to actually giving birth, to menopause, woman must absorb certain costs that are exclusively spent on maintaining our natural, biological function. And who get’s rich off of this? Well since it is the elite that runs things and majority of the 1 percent are not women, let’s just say it’s men.  And in a lot of ways, they have us by the…ahem…lady parts.

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