Divorce litigator on the “tampon tax” controversy

President Obama is against states taxing tampons (TIME):

“I have to tell you, I have no idea why states would tax these as luxury items,” Obama said Friday. “I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.”

[Planned Parenthood is using some of the tax dollars that they receive to argue against tampon purchases generating tax dollars.]

Leaving aside the question of whether or not paying a state’s ordinary sales tax rate on a purchase makes that purchase a “luxury,” I asked a divorce litigator what she thought of the tampon tax controversy:

“A smart woman who is the right age for purchasing tampons would spend her time looking for the right man to get pregnant with, not lobbying against sales tax. She won’t be using tampons during her pregnancy and, following the birth, she’ll have 18 years of child support to buy all the tampons and pretty much everything else that she could ever want.”

[Note that the cashflow duration varies by state; it would be 21 years in New York, 23 years in Massachusetts, potentially longer in tampon-tax-free Canada, etc.]


  1. ianf

    February 15, 2016 @ 9:52 pm


    If that your divorce litigator’s mentality is anywhere near typical for and acceptable in the US society at large (i.e. not solely among direct benefactors-lawyers), that any fertile woman’s primary objective ought to be “looking for THE RIGHT MAN to get pregnant with, ergo preplanned exploitation of child and child-support + alimony legislation (or gold-digging), then it’s a wonder that there are Americans getting married at all, not to mention begetting children. It’s good news for immigrants though, esp. such from countries with traditionally large broods, as it will be their descendants who will dominate the demography of the USA in near future (“somebody has to buy retail” ;-))

    Aside from that, worth noting is that, far as I’m aware, no American feminist, all the way from Betty Friedan in the ’60s (who saw household chores as enslavement of housewives, though not of their hired help), to present-day lipstick ditto, ever[*] raised a voice against monetization of wombs by women and their lawyers as “road maps” to, and kosher means of “redistribution of riches”. It seems all methods to achieve nominal wealth parity, even at the risk of damaging the children, never mind the Judeo-Christian immorality, are acceptable; doubly so because they are abetted by the law and an army of Justitia’s little helpers; quadruply so because any voice of protest can be, and usually is, dismissed as a whine in defense of male patriarchy and privilege.

    The following is anecdotal, but telling. I once presented an idea for a play along the lines of “an anonymous man [underlined by his back to the audience] kidnaps 4 vocal feminists of various ages, chains them one by one in a secluded industrial dudgeon/ cellar. First he lets them vent their anxiety and fear [in darkness, to prep-scare the audience], then enters quietly from the side, and starts questioning them sotto voce by citing from their own texts, essays, asking them to explain contradictions and inconsistencies. A kind of semi-public inquest on the kidnapper’s exclusive terms. No verbal or other violence is used, though of course the subtext of them being his captives is clear to all. The women are shit-scared at first, but, as the interrogation proceeds, realize that their wellbeing, if not life, hangs on (perhaps) their ability to admit their hitherto unwritten agendas, mendacity and backbiting in academia against better judgement. A couple of known rhetorical abuse cases are woven into the conversation. The women try various tactics to probe the extent of danger, ingratiate themselves with their captor, only to have it refuted as futile. Gradually they realize they’ve tied themselves in ever more illogical knots, which makes them bicker violently among themselves. One is led away in handcuffs to an offstage toilet; comes back after a while with padlock keys, tells the others “he lets us go, we’re free.” “We’re free?” Fade to black & curtain.

    The person I told this to was a long-term librarian pen pal in NYC with whom I discussed literary matters, novelistic storytelling treatments, theatre plays, etc. She’s a sharp mind, and she knows that I appreciate her for that. Here she said the audience would spot that they’re being primed to dislike the captives, or the critics would spell that out to them. Also unpredictably scary. Sadly, after that our contact gradually became less frequent, down to current 0.

    [^*] never say never: both Cathy Young and Caitlin Flanagan have taken up these issues, then been dismissed by hardcore [women=eternal victims of all men] heralds as traitors to their sex.

  2. Andrew

    February 16, 2016 @ 2:31 am


    @ianf: Ugh, that’s repulsive. So much imagery, so much referenced horror. All to make a point that the world is unfair to po’ po’ little ol’ me? This communication style is toxic. I hope your smart librarian was smart enough to say “nfw, you deal with your demons your way, but your lack of respect for other peoples’ demons disqualifies you from respectful discourse”.

  3. ianf

    February 16, 2016 @ 4:36 am


    ?What? horror? Debating feminist thought on stage, albeit in a unusual, synthetic setting, is repulsive? Do you even understand what theatre is for… look at modern drama around you, every second (non comedy) instance is about some social taboo or other… incest, euthanasia, pedophilia, estrangement in family, murder. How else can people discuss such in educated impromptu ways than on stage (“airing the dirt”). Or is theatre all supposed to be only costume frolics and Oklahoma! to entertain the masses?

    BTW. tell me how that “lack of respect for other peoples’ demons” manifested itself, ’cause that’s unusually hazy and obtuse.

  4. jdhzzz

    February 16, 2016 @ 7:57 am


    @ianf Among my first thoughts was “How theatrical”. Not my cup of tea, but it does seem to be in theater’s wheelhouse. I would like to see what you described as act 1 and the aftermath as act 2 wherein the women explore what happened and what comes next. At least one among them embracing the inconsistency of her views with a “me first” attitude and others taking a more nuanced approach (no playwright am I).

  5. Dave C

    February 16, 2016 @ 9:35 am


    You might also ask why you can’t use food stamps to buy toilet paper. It’s not like people who eat that food don’t need toilet paper. Actually, I would let them buy lottery tickets with food stamps if they wanted to. For the most part, it’s just returning money to the government. And the prize money just promotes inequality.

  6. ianf

    February 28, 2016 @ 7:05 pm


    @ jdhzzz #4 : this is not the forum for debating make-believe fiction staging, so I’ll keep it short. Who reads novels? Women do. Who watches plays? Women (theatre producers and book publishers have pretty detailed demographics). Meant to be contentious, the play that I outlined in my comment #1 (=4 feminists forcibly confronted with their own rhetoric) could but be staged in one act, otherwise the audience would “thin out” during intermission. It’s not theatre’s function to deliver answers, mainly to ask questions.

    Because of the glut of dramas for (modern default) small, 2-4 principals, theatre cooperatives, the play would need to be adaptable for 2 actresses, or even for just one woman aggregating multiple characters (also suitable for only the interrogator talking to 4 pre-recorded time-coordinated TV feeds of his captives, as were they held in different, remote hi-tech wired cellars). A tall order made taller still by the need to universalize the scope, i.e. raise only such arguments that resonate equally well (bad) in all countries affected by the same academic feminism malaise.

    ADMINISTRIVIA: I am getting an error of “this form not being secure” even though the page was delivered by HTTPS. Am submitting it anyway, no secrets here.

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