Is Free Bleeding Gross Or Necessary?

Meet’s new heroes: Charlie Edge, 22, and her crew of free bleeding protesters.

Wondering what’s going on in this photo? Edge and her friends were fighting against what is being deemed the “tampon tax.” Here’s some brief background information: In the United Kingdom, there’s a luxury tax on feminine hygiene products–think pads, tampons, etc. Basically, the government sees these products as non-essential items–i.e. a luxury–so a tax is slapped on them, making those products more expensive. In late October, politicians voted to uphold their luxury-tax status, leading to understandable outrage for anyone with a vagina and a brain.

This is literally a vagina tax.

Every one of us who has a period knows that the products we use to contain our flow are, in fact, essential. We’re talking about tampons here, not the Urban Decay Naked Palette. But not everyone let this BS go unnoticed. Edge and two of her friends didn’t just show up at Parliament with a sign and chants. Nope, they also decided to wear light colored pants and ditch their tampons, free bleeding the day away.

According to Buzzfeed News, most of the response toward Edge at the protest were positive. But, of course, the internet peanut gallery is, perhaps, a little more vicious. Just today, as I read about the free bleeding protest, I stumbled upon a ton of comments that dismissed these young women’s actions as gross antics, unhygienic, and disgusting. But, as Edge told Buzzfeed, “If people are grossed out by me not wearing a tampon then I think that emphasizes my point…They’re not ‘luxury items’.”

People’s disgust comes across as so mind blowingly ridiculous. As Edge said, the point of this protest was to emphasize the fact that menstrual care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity that makes navigating through the world during that time of the month a lot more manageable and a lot less messy.

Also, it’s distressing to see the loaded language getting thrown around in response to just seeing menstrual blood: Aren’t people with vaginas socialized enough to feel shame towards their flow? Hell, some cultures used to–and still–banned menstruating women from everyday activities like cooking, praying, or going to school. They’re physically segregated them from the rest of the population for a week just because of some damn blood coming out of their vag. A similar mentality can be seen in the people who are acting as if free bleeding is the most despicable thing they’ve ever seen. I get that nobody wants to get into contact with a stranger’s bodily fluids, and that’s fair, but many of the people slamming the protest have vaginas themselves and are acting as if they’ve never seen a period stain before. As if. Time to grow up.

At the end of the day, your personal feelings about whether or not you would free bleed don’t effing matter. Would free bleed in protest against this absurd luxury tax? No, probably not, and you don’t have to either. But do I absolutely support the free bleeding of the people who are protesting? Hell yeah I do, and it’s awesome to know that there are people out there willing to prove an important point in a bold way.

What do you think of the free bleeding protest? Do you think that feminine hygiene should even be considered a luxury? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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