Products of all shapes, sizes and colors line the shelves of supermarkets and convenience stores. But, on the shelves overwhelmed with pink, the prices sky rocket, as feminine products systematically cost more than their masculine counterparts.
The pink tax is a phenomenon in which items marketed as feminine — or, in many cases, pink — tend to cost more than gender-neutral or masculine products. Personal care products, toys and other commodities marketed towards females cost up to thirteen percent more than similar products marketed towards males.
In the United States, consumers looking to purchase feminine products face a noticeable increase in price. These small price differences systematically cost these consumers more than if they were to buy similar masculine products, and cost-conscious consumers should take steps to notice and avoid these extra prices.
Clothes labeled for women cost on average eight percent more than clothes labeled for men. Though women’s clothes have different cuts and fashion styles, these changes do not equate to the price difference. Women sometimes pay anywhere between 30 to 50 percent more for clothes because businesses can get away with charging more.
This tactic is not exclusive to clothing. The term “shrink it and pink it” is used to describe the mantra of making a myriad of products smaller in size and more feminine in color to make them more attractive to women, and this is usually partnered by hiking up the price. Hygiene products are a prime example of products that undergo this process.
One might assume this difference in price is simply a result of female hygiene products traditionally costing more due to the inclusion of ingredients or scents specifically tailored for women. Even though feminine and masculine hygiene products are not made of the exact same ingredients, the majority of cost — after production and labor — comes from the research that goes into the development of said product. Statistics show the burden of this extra research price tends to be more absorbed by consumers looking for feminine products.
Furthermore, in the majority of cases, products being marketed to men and women separately are not notably different from one another aside from the packaging design. In fact, many products are gendered unnecessarily as a justification for increasing the price despite having little to no difference in use.
In the UK — after an investigation into sex-segregated prices in Britain stores—Tesco recently eliminated price inequalities between men’s and women’s razors. This illustrates it is possible for many feminine and masculine products to be produced at equal prices. So why aren’t they more equal in the United States?
The inequality of basic products is a real issue facing consumers looking for feminine products in the United States. Not only do they systematically cost more, but they get away with it because people are willing to pay the higher prices for something that is marketed specifically to them. Ultimately, no one is forced to buy the more expensive feminine products, and there are steps people can take to avoid the pink tax.
Boycotting overpriced, over-feminized products is one way to eliminate this inequality. One of the reasons why the pink tax has lasted so long is because it has proven itself to be economically viable. Many women choose to pay higher prices because they want products marketed to them even if there are cheaper, masculine products available.
If one buys products traditionally marketed towards men, one can save roughly $1,000 per year or more. By choosing not to pay more for feminine products, people can show businesses practicing extreme market segmentation that their methods will no longer be effective. Furthermore, the more women who refuse to purchase products that uphold the pink tax, the less control it will have on the current societal economy. With time, socially conscious consumerism could help put an end to the unjust pricing difference.
Things like the pink tax are counterproductive to a more equalized marketplace.
Products of similar, physical value should not cost more due to gender marketing. Basic items like personal care products, toys and clothes should not cost women more than they cost men.
In order for there to be an end to unnecessarily higher-priced feminine products, it must be proven these products, compared to their masculine counterparts, will not be purchased and that market segmentation based on gender is not fair or effective as a business strategy.