The Pink Tax

For my sociology class I had to research the cost differences between products advertised toward men and toward women. I went to Target, and found that women pay more for personal health and hygiene products than men do. For some shampoos, the cost is about the same for a brand. But, for example, Suave 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner is less than just Suave shampoo. For a single bar of soap, the same product, but with a more feminine design, is $3.00 more than the bar of soap with a “masculine” design. The average cost difference is $7.92, showing that women pay more on average. I think the explanation for the gendered cost difference is marketing that takes advantage of sexism within our society. Women are held to a higher standard than men when it comes to hygiene. This is just simply a fact. With this being said, I believe that companies believe they can price up women’s products more than men’s because there’s more demand. Women’s products are typically more “feminine” looking with pink, flowers, and cutesy scent names like “perfect petals,” “fresh daisies,” or something of the sort. Men’s products on the other time are typically decorated in cooler toned blues and blacks with names like “slate,” “wolfman,” “iceberg,” or scent names that sounds “masculine.” Marketing teams most definitely base their sales strategies on gender roles when they come up with product designs, and it works. A very stereotypical man who takes pride in his stereotypical masculinity wouldn’t purchase pink shampoo because it’s marketed to be feminine. So, as a response, companies will entice men through products labeled “for men.” I don’t know if there’s a way to significantly change gendered products at this point, since it’s so ingrained in our society, but there are plenty of brands that use more gender-neutral product designs now. Shoutout to Head and Shoulders shampoo. I also think that the millennial generation cares less about gender than those before them, and it’s more common to find women buying men’s products now because of the price differences. I prefer to buy men’s razors because they’re typically less expensive, and the blades shave much more efficiently than women’s on top of it. The refills are also cheaper by about $2.00 compared to women’s razor heads. In conclusion, it sucks to be a woman and the pink tax is making women pay $1,000s of dollars more than men every year, simply for the same hygiene products that they buy as well. 

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2 Comments

  1. This semester I too have encountered a class that covered the topic of the pink tax. I was totally unaware. I think that it is ridiculous that it costs more to be a woman! I always knew that women’s necessities cost more, but I was under the impression that it was because it costs more to make. It took the research and information provided of the class that I was in to realize that some products that are catered to both men and women cost differently simply because of the labeling. I want to know how to change this issue. Some things are uncontrollable. Feminine hygiene products are a necessity. The women who may choose to not use these products are usually looked down upon but what about the women who would like to use them but cannot afford it?

  2. In high school, I remember having to write about the effects of pink tax for different states. Overall, products that are needed to achieve proper hygiene only get more expensive because of marketing. There are also products that women need on a regular basis but still considered a luxury item and therefore taxed more. It’s such an outdated concept that has been ingrained into our society. It would be great to buy a product knowing it will help with specific female issues, not because it has flowers or girly colors. I’m glad that more companies are becoming gender neutral with their products, but there is still the issue of having to pay more for a needed hygiene product specifically for women.

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