We women face our hygiene in liberated splendour
Our mothers had not foreseen such victory to a gender!
Let us freely menstruate for all posterity,
For we have won our rebate on tampon GST.
Helen Razer, 2018
Please. Permit me this one joyous stanza! I am, after all, a feminist, thereby a poet. This is particularly true on particularly feminist days, such as that in which Lisa Wilkinson so bravely resisted the gender pay gap. Unfortunately, I was then unable to locate a true rhyme for the phrase, “just one point eight million dollars” or for the name of Stefanovic. I was forced to commemorate that day in free verse. But not today. No sirree. This is what I say to the misogynists.
Yesterday, treasurers of all Australian states and territories agreed to exempt unmentionables from GST. Today, all of Feminist Twitter celebrates. Or, so I will suppose. I refuse to risk any contact with any sort of Van Badham thing. All that empowerment is likely to bring on my menopause, which is unlikely to bring on my Best Self. I will become the anti-Oprah. I will tell all the bleating ladies to do a thing or three about this regressive tax.
Before I get there, I will visit the very general topic of cleanliness downstairs. Should toilet paper be spared the GST? Should we women, who are surely among bog roll’s most ardent users, be forced to pay this misogynistic-istic anti-woman tax? One of them will tell me that this is quite beside the point. I will ask them to give me very precise directions to the point, and they will offer me a sentence pregnant with nothing but chaos. They will use the words “systemic” and “symbolic” interchangeably before telling me, and not without reason, to go and fuck myself. I will then let them know that I resent the imposition of a GST on most items that could help me achieve this goal.
I will then let them know once more how cross I remain about toilet paper. I will then let them know that I have calculated the total savings a woman of reproductive age and average flow can hope to achieve in a year. It’s about five dollars, and probably less if you shop at Chemist Warehouse.
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I am not a pleasant feminist. I am of the stubborn sort. I am so stubbornly feminist, that I will refuse to concede any point unlikely to be so stubbornly made. Like the one about “poor women” and how this is a moment to be commemorated for them. This is one very flammable hooey and I will burn it to the ground with stubborn feminist fire. At which point, my social media access will be revoked, and I will be forced to wait for stubborn days before making the point beside which there is nothing. And that is: the fight that’s won for tampons and co was never really worth having.
The stubborn feminist or even the mildly stubborn fan of greater wealth equality knows that the GST should only be paid by those who drive their children to the finest schools in the very finest cars. All other persons and purchases are exempt. If our path truly is to a greater equality, we truly oppose the GST. Those without wealth spend the greatest proportion on it. Those with wealth barely even notice that it’s there. Further: loo roll.
To oppose the GST on very particular, very symbolically feminine items is, I would say, to actively endorse the GST. A minor negation of its part is an affirmation of the whole. It is hardly a progressive tax ad you, little Miss, are hardly progressive. A tampon without GST? Why bother. You might as well aim for feminism without feminism at all.
I do go on. But I am stubborn. And I find that as I age beyond my GST-free feminine years, I am even more stubborn and I just won’t settle for the ambition of five bucks a year.
I won’t settle until this false currency of equality is entirely debauched. I won’t settle until everything is feminist.