The fight to end the so-called "tampon tax" in the United States has dominated headlines over the past year, but we may have just witnessed a turning point: President Obama himself acknowledged on Friday that there's literally no reason why this tax should exist other than the fact the world is run by men.
In case you missed it, in a live YouTube interview, Ingrid Nilsen, one of three YouTube star interviewers, dropped the tampon tax question on POTUS, explaining, "Recently I was shocked to learn that pads, tampons, and other menstrual products are taxed as luxury goods in 40 states. I don't know anyone who has a period who thinks it's a luxury … I want to know why do these items continued to be taxed?" YASSSSSSSS!
This is where it got interesting. Obama straight up said there's no reason why menstrual products should be taxed, other than the fact that people without periods make the laws.
"I have to tell you, I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items. I suspect it's because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed. I think it's pretty sensible for women in those states that you just mentioned to work together to get those taxes removed."
Obama went on to address the broader issue, which is that women should not be penalized when it comes to healthcare simply because they are women, pointing out that the Affordable Care Act sought to end many of these issues:
"What we also focused on is making sure everybody who has insurance, from whatever source, can't be discriminated because they've got a preexisting condition. That women can't be charged more than men for insurance coverage. That pregnancy isn't treated as an illness. That contraception is part of a standard package of care that you receive because the basic idea is that women should not be at a disadvantage in the healthcare system."
He then added that the tampon tax is another example of this larger problem, though he didn't even know about the issue until today. "I confess I was not aware of it until you brought it to my attention," Obama told Nilsen.
Back in June, I revealed that 40 states still consider tampons and menstrual items luxury goods, rather than necessities, and thus they are subject to sales tax. Since our story published, writer and activist Jennifer Weiss-Wolf teamed up with Cosmopolitan to start a Change.org petition to end the tax. So far it's garnered more than 40,000 supporters. Not only that, but two states, California and New York, have since introduced legislation that, if passed, would end the tax on periods.
Perhaps now that POTUS has joined the cause other states will follow.
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.