The United Kingdom is home to so many incredible things, like the Royal Family, the Spice Girls, David Beckham. But it’s also the home of some very confusing things, like the “u” in colour, flip-flopped roads, and the Value Added Tax, also known as VAT. VAT is a consumption tax, sometimes referred to as, “luxury tax,” and is not charged on “essential items” like food and water. Here’s the problem, though: currently, there is a VAT on all women’s sanitary products, and it’s earned the nickname “tampon tax.”
In 2001, women successfully petitioned the British government to lower the VAT on lady sanitary products down to 5%, pointing out that pads and tampons are pretty much “essential items” in a society that doesn’t want to know women are hemorrhaging in their pants once a month. Recently, though, British ladies have rekindled the heated debate, calling to abolish the VAT on sanitary products altogether.
One comedy duo reached out to George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (which is the fancy British position equivalent to our Secretary of the Treasury), speaking a language we can all understand: Taylor Swift. Geniuses Jenny Bede and Cariad Lloyd rewrote the lyrics to “Bad Blood” as an open letter to the Chancellor, calling for an end of the tampon VAT. “Because now we’ve got bad blood./Our Super-Plusses are adding up./Why do you keep bloody taxing us?” the women sing in the chorus. “So, ladies, here’s to your Bad Blood.”
Jenny and Cariad expertly parodied the “Bad Blood” video – it looks so much like the original, it’s bonkers – starring as Heavy Flow and Applic Hater.
Just like Taylor’s version, this “Bad Blood” spoof includes tons of cameos, from characters with whom women are very familiar: Madame Ovary, Jenn Da Bias, Oestro Jen and Aunti Flo all join the party.
Hands down the most hilarious part of the song is when the fabulous crew starts suggesting other “essential,” non-VAT items to use instead of tampons and pads. “Band-Aids might work as sanitary towels./So might teabags, flags or owls.” One woman tries to stuff a heavy winter coat down her pants, while two others try meatloaf.
Over 250,000 women have signed a petition to get tampons and pads recognized as “essential items.” Laura Coryton, who created the petition, writes, “Periods are no luxury. You can ‘opt-in’ to extravagance. You cannot choose to menstruate. Despite this, a whole heap of disadvantages have been created for those who do.” Um, yes, girl we are with you on this one.
The “Bad Blood” parody ends on a serious note, putting the ridiculous tampon tax in perspective. “There is no VAT in the UK on crocodile meat, pitta bread or men’s razors,” says a message that shows up after the video’s credits. Earth to the Chancellor of the Exchequer — sanitary products are less of a luxury than a steaming crocodile meat, pitta sandwich. If a man’s smooth face is considered “essential,” then products that enable women to survive massive amounts of bleeding every four weeks should definitely get added to that no-VAT list. Just sayin’.
It’s awesome to see such powerful (and clearly comically-gifted) ladies standing up for women’s health. Cheers to you!
Watch the full video here, and revel in it’s brilliance.