Expectant parents know the gender of their child early on. Great for figuring what colors to get for clothing and furniture. Blue for boys. Pink for girls. As they grow to teen years, the spread goes beyond color. Pink seems to be a premium. In this post-feminist generation, is there a pink tax?
Being pretty in pink usually refers to a female. Women are leading consumers. Yet, many are unaware of a nearly invisible discrimination. It is called a Pink Tax. The pink tax refers to the extra amount women are charged for certain products or services. Things like dry cleaning, personal care products, and vehicle maintenance.
Watching new westerns, female heroines wear form-fitting jeans as if they were custom made. Haute couture in the feminine wild west? Reality was women wore men’s jeans. Then came the 20th century and women became alluring females. Modern feminine fashion was born and generated billions of dollars toward the economy. All variables changed. Feminism changed the political and economic outlooks. In the debates of life, death, and taxes, women encounter one divisible invisible – a special tax for women – a Pink Tax. According to the New York Times, in 2014 that “women’s” products with the same ingredients and/or materials were often far more expensive than “men’s” products. The pink tax refers to the extra amount women are charged for certain products or services. Things like dry cleaning, personal care products, and vehicle maintenance.
In this modern day and age, the pink tax not only affects women but has also been observed by the transgender population. You need to be rich to compete as a woman among women. Men pay less.
According to a study from NYC Consumer Affair, Products for women or girls cost 7% more than comparable products for men and boys. The Consumer Federation of America indicates A 2015 study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, one of CFA’s members, documented that gender price discrimination exists in a wide variety of consumer goods, from clothing to personal care products. This is essentially a gender tax levied on women that adds up to thousands of dollars over the course of their lives. The department compared nearly 800 products with clear male and female versions from more than 90 brands. They found that in all but 5 of the 35 product categories analyzed, items for female consumers were priced higher than the same items for male consumers.
7% more for toys and accessories
4% more for children’s clothing
8% more for adult clothing
13% more for personal care products
8% more for senior/home health care products
Pink tax refers to this invisible cost that women have to pay for products designed and marketed specifically to them, while the generic or male equivalent of the same products are available for less. It is not just big corporations in the retail space that push women to spend on their appearance. Social scientists and retail experts say that this stems from the fact that society in general, typically, holds women to a higher standard when it comes to their appearance.
According to Healthline, “Gender-based pricing, also known as “pink tax,” is an upcharge on products traditionally intended for women which have only cosmetic differences from comparable products traditionally intended for men.” Scents and packaging are obvious differences. A cologne for men has leather and wood fragrances while women get floral scents. Packaging is black or blue for men. Pastels are used for women.
For example, a five-pack of Schick Hydro cartridges in purple packaging cost $18.49, while the same count of Schick Hydro refills in blue packaging cost $14.99. Again, other than their packaging color, the products look exactly the same.
Is it nature or nurture?
A recent discovery is that women actually have more rods and cones in their eyes than men. This allows women to see more detail, which partially explains why men sometimes see an ordinary room, while women see complete filth. Men simply aren’t able to see dust and finer particles as easily as women, and therefore are unaware of its presence. However, there are other scientific reasons why female perception differs from that of their male counterparts. Many studies cite evidence that there are gender differences among male and female brains. Do these justify pink tax rates?
One of the more curious things about the pink tax is that feminine hygiene products mostly have no sales tax. Contraceptives catering to females do carry a tax.
A typical men’s haircut may be around $30. A typical haircut for a woman might start at %50. While men do get manicures, men are charged around $10. A woman….$15 and up. The discrepancies are staggering!
So while the US Congress was preparing impeachment proceedings on President Trump, the H.R. 2048: Pink Tax Repeal Act was introduced on April 3 2019.
While this act hasn’t been processed by the US Senate, Canada also has a pink tax. The “pink tax” refers to the phenomenon of gender-based price discrimination, where items whose ads target women are often priced higher than similar products advertised towards men. For example, a 2016 study found that women in Canada pay over 40 per cent more than what men pay when it comes to personal care products.
Good Housekeeping Magazine indicates:
“Women are consistently paid less than men for the same work. Currently, women make 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns, a gender wage gap of 20 percent. For women of color, the gap is even wider. Women are also often charged a higher interest rate for mortgage loans, despite their consistently higher credit ratings.”
Feminism changed women’s lives and created new worlds of possibility for education, empowerment, working women, feminist art and feminist theory. The US Congress and US Senate elected more women in 2018 as a historic landmark. Yet, when it comes to cosmetics and fashion women spend considerably more than men. And, worse, are often evaluated critically by other women.
While it is valid that women’s fashion menus are wider than men’s, data was not collected. Conceivably most high fashion designer dresses cost more than 3 men’s suits.
Tailoring clothes are usually higher for women than men for off-the-rack clothing. Many women choose haute-couture limited editions that are custom made at prices that only the rich can afford. A haute couture garment is always made for an individual client, tailored specifically for the wearer’s measurements and body stance. Women wear them to award shows. Designer couture gowns typically start at $30,000. Men suits are usually off the rack. Hemming pants and sleeves are usually $50.
We aren’t even talking shoes and accessories!!
When it comes to appearance, women may dress bolder but far more expensive. Good thing is that one of the women at Golden Globe 2020 is auctioning her dress for charity. I believe more do the same.
The pink tax may be unfair and I hope the repeal passes the US Senate. Yet, it is a tiny step for feminism. Let’s see how future generations fare.