For years tampons have been taxed as a luxury product in countries around the world. In Germany, the tax on tampons is an outrageous 19%, making it increasingly hard for women to get the hygiene products they need.
Now, after more than a year of fighting to raise awareness of, and put an end to the unprecedented tax, German startup, The Female Company, has come up with a way to get around them. Noting that books are taxed at only 7%, the companies founders, Ann-Sophie Claus, and Sinja Stadelmaier decided to publish one of their own. What could possibly be inside a book published by a tampon company, though, you might ask. You guessed it: tampons.
“We’ve been actively fighting against the discriminating tax regulations since we started our organic tampon company,” Claus expressed to Vogue. “At first, we supported two female activists and their online petition which has gained 170,000 signatures to date. Still, nothing happened,” she continued. Thus came the idea for a The Tampon Book. Containing 15 organic tampons between its covers, the book is Priced at just €3.11 ($3.49), providing women access to safe and affordable hygiene they need.
To the surprise of none, the book is flying off the shelves. The first print run of The Tampon Book sold out in just two days and has further sold nearly 10,000 copies to date. And while these books are raising awareness on the shelves alone, the company has also made sure to send 100 copies to important politicians from the German Bundestag.
In a further attempt to end the taboos that surround menstruation, the book is also full of light-hearted illustrations regarding period pain and menstruation in general. In regards to the illustrations, artist Ana Curbelo expressed to The Guardian, “My characters are not only proud, confident women, unashamed of periods, but they are also posed in our relaxed natural state. I want people to laugh at the characters’ uninhibited attitude and see themselves in the illustration.”
While The Female Company continues to fight for the rights of women and put an end to menstrual taboos, cannabis advocates have been showing their support as well. As cannabis and CBD continue to prove its benefits for pain relief, many companies are creating products specifically geared towards menstruation pain. Whoopi Goldberg, for instance, has introduced a specific line of cannabis-infused products that harness the plant’s therapeutic powers to provide relief for physical discomfort related to menstruation.
In a time when access to menstrual products continues to be unjustly restricted, whether that be in terms of hygiene products, or pain relief, women like Ann-Sophie Claus and Whoopi Goldberg give us hope for a brighter future.