Two women stood outside the Houses of Parliament ‘free bleeding’ while wearing white trousers in protest over VAT on tampons.
Charlie Edge, from Berkshire, organised the graphic campaign against the five per cent tax that is included on all sanitary products, which are considered ‘luxury’ items.
Miss Edge said she and Ruth Howarth were showing just how ‘luxury’ tampons are by forgoing them during the protest, for which she received abuse outside of Whitehall.
Charlie Edge, left, and Ruth Howarth protested against the tax on sanitary products by ‘free bleeding’ outside the Houses of Parliament while holding placards, such as ‘No uterus, no opinion’
Miss Edge, who was also raising money for women’s shelters, wrote on Facebook: ‘Today, I am forgoing tampons and pads outside the houses of parliament to show how “luxury” tampons really are.
‘We are also raising money to buy tampons for homeless shelters, women’s shelters and the refugee crisis.
‘We’re getting lots of dirty looks and someone just shouted at us to get a job.
‘But everyone keeps saying “haha OMG, how quickly would we get free tampons if everyone stopped wearing them?!”
‘So, I’m giving it a go. Taxes are necessary, I get it. So are tampons and pads.’
Miss Edge said it was contradictory that non-essential items that are deemed luxury items – such as Jaffa Cakes, edible cake decorations, exotic meats – are not taxed – and also that maternity pads are taxed while incontinence pads are not.
She wrote on Facebook: ‘We’ve had enough. Maybe bleeding on their doorstep will get the Tories to do something about this?’
Her status has been liked more than 22,000 times while it was shared 15,000 times.
Miss Edge held up a sign which read: ‘Periods are not a “luxury”‘ and another which read ‘No uterus, no opinion,’ a quote from character Rachel Green from US sitcom Friends.
Research suggests that some women fork out up to £18,450 across their lifetime to purchase products used for periods.
Miss Edge had many supporters commenting on the Facebook status, one wrote: ‘You continue to be one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, this is incredibly brave and I’m proud of you.’
Another posted: ‘You are saying something so important.’
One man posted it was ‘slightly gross but totally understand why, they are absolutely not a luxury.’
But one man criticised Miss Edge, he wrote it was ‘minging’ and asked why she couldn’t have a ‘normal protest.’
But Miss Edge fired back at those who said it was unhygienic, she posted: ‘I’ve got baby wipes, tampons and clean clothes in my bag.
One man posted on her status that Charlie was ‘one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met’ and was very supportive of her cause
Another man posted that although the protest was ‘slightly gross’ he completely understood the point being made and agreed they ween’t a luxury
One Facebook user posted that Charlie was doing something ‘so important’ and hoped the protest would make a difference
‘I will clean myself up before I get my train home.
‘If people find this disgusting and uncomfortable, good. That’s why tampons aren’t luxury items.’
She later published another status in response to criticism of the protest from those calling it gross
But Charlie responded to those who tried to say it was not hygienic by pointing out she would get changed and use baby wipes before getting the train home
She wrote on Facebook: ‘That was the point. I wouldn’t exactly say I felt sexy in my doc martins, trackie bottoms and XXL Wasps hoodie.
‘Periods are gross. ‘They can cause you so much pain that you physically can’t move from the foetal position on the floor.
‘They can make your head hurt, your stomach hurt, make you throw up, mess up your bowels.
‘They make you feel consistently uncomfortable for a week.
‘And if you aren’t lucky enough to be 100 per cent regular, they can surprise you at the worst of times and you end up looking like me, but not as part of a protest, but in the middle of a restaurant or class or supermarket.’
She pointed out that the issue with her protest is that ‘as a “lady,” I should look pretty and not let the world know I’m bleeding from the vagina.
‘If I posted a picture of my arm with a bloodstain that big the reaction would be entirely different.’