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the pink tax

The Pink Tax

The pink tax is one that only about half of the population is subject to. And they probably aren’t even aware of it. Are you paying the 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. So not only do we make less but we pay more. Some bullshit. 

How much more?  About $1,351 more a year in extra costs. Where are we paying more? Below are the some of the biggest culprits.

Clothes

Old Navy got busted last year for charging more for women’s plus sized clothing but not for men’s. The plus sized women’s jeans were $12-15 more than the standard sized ones. But there was no such difference between the prices of men’s plus and regular sized jeans.

Gap, who owns Old Navy, released a statement that the additional cost was because “they are created by a team of designers who are experts in creating the most flattering and on-trend plus styles, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include.”

Fancy words for third world, sweat shop child labor. The words “flattering and on-trend” aren’t exactly the ones that spring to mind when I think of Old Navy. Crappy, cheaply made and ready for the rag bag after a couple of washes are what I think of. Old Navy getting uppity.

Dry cleaners are another place women will pay more for the same service. Men’s shirts cost an average of $2.86 to be cleaned and women’s cost $4.95. I hate this one because I am good at many domestic tasks but ironing has never been one of them. I could take a shirt out of the bottom of the laundry hamper and it would look better before my half assed attempt at ironing it than it does after. I just cannot get the hang of it.

It’s not even that cotton dress shirts need special laundering that requires a dry cleaners, it’s just that the cleaners will iron them for you. I avoid this by buying only Foxcroft no iron shirts. You can throw these in the laundry and they come out perfect. Life pro tip for you.

Self Care Products

These are the kinds of things you buy in a drug store, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, face cleanser. A news program compared those items from various stores in Atlanta. The women’s products cost $4 more than the comparable men’s products.

Here’s what you can do ladies, just buy the men’s stuff! Unless you buy the fancy razors with multiple blades and “moisture strips,” the only difference between generic old stick razors for men and women is that our’s are pink and their’s are blue. Surprisingly, color has little affect on the hair removal process.

And buy a big old can of Barbasol. The stuff has been around since 1919 for a reason. In fact, I think the can that is permanently rusted to the edge of my tub is of that vintage. Lasts forever, works great and whatever you’re shaving won’t smell like the inside of a raspberry pop tart. Women’s shaving creams really have the nastiest, synthetic smells.

the pink tax - woman pay more than men

You’re not out of the drug store yet. If you have internal rather than external plumbing, you are going spend about $3,000 over the course of your life on pads or tampons too. Jessica Valenti wrote a piece in the Guardian last year wondering why these products weren’t free or at least not taxed. The backlash was swift and vitriolic. You would have thought she had the nerve to say that Viagra shouldn’t be covered by insurance, the bitch.

Paying for tampons is generally a first world problem. In the first world. Not all women live in the first world and lack of access to menstrual (sorry, that word makes me cringe too) products is a very real problem for women in less developed countries. UNICEF estimates that 10% of African girls miss school during their period.

And it’s not because they are like some of those over dramatic women we all know and maybe some of us are, that use their period as an excuse to get out of doing stuff they’d rather not do. It’s because they have nothing to stem the blood exiting their bodies. Sorry to be gruesome but having to miss out on education because of your biology is a fucking gruesome problem.

Vehicle Repair

I think this one is an old cliche but it’s true. Northwestern did a study that had men and women call various repair shops asking about the cost of having a radiator replaced. Women who seemed clueless on the phone were quoted $406 for a job that should cost $365. Men who acted similarly uninformed, were quoted $383.

So it pays to do enough research before making these kinds of inquires to have a ball park figure of what you should be charged. And that goes for both sexes no matter what they are paying for. People will take advantage of dummies no matter what their gender.

What Can You Do?

We are making some progress on this issue. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer charge women more for identical services. Insurers must also cover birth control which is much more of a human right than fucking (ha!) Viagra which didn’t need a law passed to get it covered.

California passed a gender discrimination pricing law in 1996. Businesses found to be charging women more are subject to a minimum fine of $1000. It doesn’t seem like the law is enforced much though.

The best way to avoid this is to simply buy the men’s version of certain products and to do some home work and shop around for the best prices on things like dry cleaning. Or do what one women’s rights groups in France has done. They started a site and uploaded photos of products that had unequal pricing.

the pink tax - even more on life insurance, wtf

Public shaming companies sometimes has a positive impact. Putting them on blast through something like Twitter will often garner faster results that writing letters and signing petitions.

So, sorry to deliver more bad news to the ladies among us but if you are aware of stuff like these, you can avoid it. Tax day is only a few weeks away and unavoidable (unless you’re in the 1%) but you can avoid the Pink Tax if you know to look for it.

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  • Allison

    That is damn annoying that the same product would cost more just because it is for females.

    • jb1907

      My wife uses the same razors I do. The dry cleaning thing is a bit if BS. They could invent a better piece of equipment that does both genders. Women pay more for haircuts because they are more concered. My wife pays $85 to have her hair cut, I pay $10. That isn’t just $5 more for the same service. I have paid up to $35 for a cut, but would never pay more than $50. Women with short hair and no style shouldn’t pay more than $25.

      • Kristian Cat

        there are many places that price for hair length rather than gender. but why is it gender based to begin with? It’s because women often expect more service, they often want their hair washed which would usually mean they will use more shampoo for more hair. ofcourse not all women have long hair so why is it gender based? women also tend to expect more service and more detailed haircuts even if they have shorter hair. Women also tend to want a sort of liquid in their hair to soften it or something among those lines. Unlike women, men also don’t think the difference in price would make such a big difference from salon to salon which drives the price for male haircuts down.

    • Kristian Cat

      it is not just because they are females, there are several reasons why products are priced differently. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HEr8zmVEZQ

  • ah

    I switched to silicon menstrual cups – a $39 cup can last for years, replaces hundreds of tampons and doesn’t cause toxic shock. I have a Diva cup but I’ve heard good things about Lunette and Intimina too. My local stores don’t carry menstrual cups but there is a wide selection available on Amazon. I wish I had discovered these years ago.

    • snsbdb

      Can comfirm, the softcups and Luna cups are awesome for the price. $6 lasts 2-3 months.

    • katt_gyrl

      I have a Yuuki cup & love it!

    • Natasha K

      Same here. It is way too expensive to use tampons and pads. With menstucup periods are cheap and you can barely have any discomfort. They also do last more then a 1,5 years.

    • Ashley

      I just use pads, a 48 pack which costs around $20 would last me a little over 9 months and it’s more expensive, but there’ more luxury in it, I get to just chuck it away and you have to clean and keep yours.

      • Anna K

        If you think pads are luxurious, you are not living life to the fullest, sister! ;)

        Cleaning a cup is no biggie, and I’ve never actually had to change mine in public.
        I find it more hygienic overall since you just flush the old blood away instead of having a trash can full of used pads in your bathroom.

        I just don’t see much validity in an argument that pads are luxurious or somehow less messy. They’re like blood-catching diapers, which isn’t cute. Cups just do the same job in a different way. They are also not cute (or luxurious), but are much more cost effective and better for the environment.

  • Tom Brady

    Why play the victim? Women are charged more because they are willing to pay more. They think they are getting a better product when it is really the same. In a free market, sellers charge what they think buyers will pay. It’s fine to highlight these differences but don’t call it a tax when really it’s the result of ignorance. By calling it a tax and suggesting government get involved you are interfering in a simple sales transaction which causes everything to be more expensive. The creation of new rules and enforcement mechanisms cost everyone money.

    Sellers would charge men more if they could get away with it. I know many women who will continue to pay more for the pink razors than the blue razors because blue isn’t a feminine color. Ridiculous I know!

    • disqus_v6b9KneizK

      Why is it when women point out an obvious discrepancy and unfair situation, men are so quick to say “we are playing toe victim”? Do you spend time in the grocery store checking prices between men and women’s stuff? You think women have time to do so? If more women knew this, I’m sure more women would buy more men’s items.

      Don’t be the problem, be the solution. Geez.

      • Tom Brady

        Why play the gender card? Your initial note suggests that corporations charge women more because they hate women. Why would a corporation intentionally alienate half of its customer base? Have you asked yourself why they do this? They do this because they can. If they could charge men more they would. Corporations (run by men and women) know that if they take a blue razor and make it pink and then put a picture of a flower on it and call it a “Daisy” then they can charge more and will make more money than if they don’t. Women don’t want blue razors. If women only bought blue razors then the pink razors would fail. It’s called marketing. It has nothing to do with gender discrimination.

        I think it’s great that you provide this info and I’m sure some women will benefit but don’t assume evil intentions when they don’t exist. Geez.

        • saymwah

          You’re being naive in saying that it’s simple supply and demand. The differential pricing is reprehensible because they’re capitalizing on deep gender stereotypes that women need to prioritize appearance and hygiene. Imagine if Midol–which is very effective for migraines–put out a nearly identical “men’s migraines” product and charged twice as much for it to exploit the fact that most men wouldn’t be caught dead buying a bottle of Midol.

          • Tom Brady

            What you call “capitalizing on stereotypes” is nothing more than the market filling a need. Women want pink razors and are willing to pay a premium for them. Who are you to say they can’t and shouldn’t? Consumers make decisions all the time. Some buy generic and some don’t. Some buy organic and some don’t. Some buy local and some don’t care. The great thing about this country is that we have a choice. Go in to your local Walgreens or Walmart and see what I mean. What I find upsetting is your need to label every difference as some sort of evil discrimination. If you would just dig a little deeper you might find that there are almost always good reasons for these price discrepancies. It is just plain lazy and judgmental to attach your favorite condemnation without proof!

          • Prisstine

            Real question is if it were reversed, where the women’s pink razors were cheaper would men naturally figure this out by checking prices and then buy the pink razors? Point being men by men stuff women buy women’s. I always buy the cheapest of any product but tbh I would never have thought about going straight to the men’s section to look at price and I am pretty sure a lot of men wouldn’t go directly to women’s section to check price either.As far as the companies being able to do I have one question. So we are basically not going to hold companies accountable for having crap morals?

          • Ashley

            Yes! Yes! They would! Why? Because most men are not idiots! And maybe they would still sell because it’s women who do the shopping and I think it’s quite obvious that women are stupid shoppers and I say this as a woman who is frankly shamed to be part of such a stupid sex who cares more about their appearance than how much costs. There’s nothing immoral about charging stupid people more to make a buck, their stupidity is their own fault, stop being stupid, that’s all you need to do and then they can’t make their buck.

          • joebee78

            Insurance companies typically charge men more for auto insurance and life insurance. I didn’t see that mentioned in Candice’s “article”. Under the new healthcare law, men are forced to purchase a health insurance plan that includes maternity care. That’s right, a 55 year old man that’s self-employed must buy a health care plan that includes maternity care. When men in the United States turn 18, they must fill out their selective service card, making themselves eligible to be drafted for war should that need arise. If they don’t, they face fines and/or imprisonment; and are ineligible for financial aid, federal job training and employment with the federal government.

            Are those forms of a “blue tax”? Are men discriminated against? Should there be equal treatment in these areas too? I guess in Candice’s rush to claim victim status and didn’t consider all of the facts. Big surprise, given her track record of spouting off talking points from the Huffington Post . . .

          • dslodge

            Actually if half the price I sure would buy a product made for a woman instead of the one made for the man. As long as it will do the same thing I could care a less.

          • Ashley

            couldn’t* care less, you made it sound like you actually gave a fuck there mate.

          • Ashley

            It is…sure it’s gender stereotype and they’re capitalizing on it, but they’re not wrong for doing something that makes them profit, you can only blame yourself for being a sucker. You can suck your pride up and by the gender neutral thing, and it is the gender neutral product which is the cheapest, not the male one. I know I always look for the cheapest item and it’s always incredibly gender neutral.

        • Saint Kickolas YT

          Yeah I know. Also sometimes like with skin creams and deodorisers, women seem to want more than just smells nice and does the job.

      • snsbdb

        You can literally just use your eyes to compare items. Not rocket science. I am a woman and have never bothered buying female specific things like razors or shaving cream because I can read and compare prices. They make male specific hair and face products now too and charge an arm and a leg for them(same stuff as in ladies products). So it is starting to go both ways. I am so sick of the oppression game.

        • Ashley

          Oh no but it takes up too much time for them! /s So glad I’m not the only one who’s a woman and sees the ridiculousness in these people’s claims.

      • Ashley

        What women doesn’t know this? Are all the women in the world living under a rock, it takes a few seconds to look at other prices, price is the first thing I look at and I generally go for the cheapest thing (which means gender neutral not male-oriented) I can find. For crying out loud, if you’re distracted by the sparkly I think it’s time we take you back to pre school because you’re clearly not fit to be an adult. I think if people want better finances, they should make it so that the females in their lives are not allowed to enter stores because they don’t know how to shop.

      • Minerverse

        “Why is it when women point out an obvious discrepancy and unfair situation, men are so quick to say “we are playing toe victim”?”

        Because it’s precisely what you’re doing. There is no pink tax. Buy the generic item and you won’t pay a premium for boutique items. YOU choose to buy pink items. Stop buying them *POOF* no more “pink tax”. Men will wash their hair with soap if it means it’s cheaper, unless you’re a gay man and then you end up paying the “pink tax” because you’re concerned with the best quality.

        There is no pay gap, only an earnings gap. Which is caused by the fact women tend to work fewer hours or more flexible hours, and they tend to choose professions that don’t pay as much. If you do a gender studies degree and end up writing for Buzzfeed or Salon, you’re simple not going to earn the same money as a mechanical engineer or someone working in a dangerous environment like a mine or an oil rig. If you want to get paid more, stop doing basket weaving degrees.

        The gap is an expression of women’s choices. Stop blaming men for your own choices (aka playing the victim). When you stop playing the victim, maybe men will stop saying you are.

    • Brian Middleton

      Tom, I agree and disagree. Part of the reason for an article like this is because by informing women (and men) there can be more people who understand and refuse to give their money to such organizations. Of course the market will charge what it can, but what is wrong with being informed?
      As for no taxes on feminine hygiene products? Why not no tax on all hygiene & health products? Being clean and healthy is a good thing. I am all for everyone having easier access to it.
      Moving on. The sad part about Viagra is the erectile dysfunction is a sign of heart problems. Rather than treating the issue, it is covered up because apparently men are perceived as sex crazed animals that must have nucky to survive. Stupid insurance companies & drug companies.
      So what am I rambling on about? Well, I agree with the author that increasing the price on similar products is just stupid. Mostly. Men between the ages of 15 and 25 pay more for auto insurance. This is for good reason. They use it more (because of more accidents, or as I call them, stupidents). This is fair in this case, and if some products or services are priced according to this model, I can’t really oppose that. But the change 20% extra or more for the same product is stupid. Thanks for informing us.

      • george999

        It’s not stupid to charge more for the same product. It’s stupid to pay it.

        It’s not stupid at all for this article to point out that women should
        consider buying blue razors. However, it would be stupid not to
        continue to offer pink ones if some people would still rather buy them.

        Women were charged more for health insurance because insurers don’t have to worry about male pregnancy. In other words women used more health care so for good reason they were charged more for insurance. So, why do you think men being charged more for auto insurance is different and fair? It’s the exact same issue.

        Out of curiosity, I asked a hairdresser once why she charged more for women’s cuts. She said because women were a bigger pain in the ass for her to cut. They were pickier about the work and it took more time. Basically, women had more complex styles and were more concerned about their appearance.

        None of the articles referenced actually disputed the dry cleaners claim that it takes more manual work and more time to press women’s shirts because of tailoring. I have no idea if this is true or not but if it is not true why didn’t anyone provide evidence?

        I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the dry cleaning situation is that women are willing to pay more because they are more concerned with how their clothes are treated then men are. If that were not the case then why aren’t women refusing to pay more? Why aren’t women customers thronging to chains that do have equal pricing? Those stores should be booming and taking over the dry cleaning business.

        • Brian Middleton

          I didn’t make any point about health insurance actually. So I am confused as to why you thought I did.

      • Ashley

        Viagra was actually being designed to treat heart problems but it was a failure and the side effect was an erection.

        • Brian Middleton

          This is true. Also, taking Viagra superoxiginates your blood, so some people take it while hiking in extreme altitudes. That doesn’t change my initial point however.

      • Kristian Cat
    • Kristian Cat

      the razors costs more for several reasons and not just the colour. inventing a razor blade is literally rocket science. you know how many millions of dollars and years gilette has put into research just to invent 2 type of razor blades? i believe it was 750m and the last time a razor blade was invented by gilette was in 2005. why do you think there are so few companies that makes razor blades? because its fucking difficult. men shave their faces in front of the mirror, mens facial hair doesnt grow in all kinds of directions compared to womens body hair. women shave in places they cant see like the back of the leg and women shave faster and in more curved areas like the knees. these are the differences, the male and female razor blades are optimized for different areas, in different speed, in different ways so ofcourse they’re priced differently..

  • “And it’s not because they are like some of those over dramatic women we all know and maybe some of us are, that use their period as an excuse to get out of doing stuff they’d rather not do.”

    This is incredibly offensive to the 5-15% of women who suffer from incredibly painful period, for example due to conditions such as endometriosis. We are not overly dramatic or looking for excuses to get out of doing stuff we’d rather not do.

    • Katelyn Joell Perry

      She didn’t say that all women act over dramatic. She said that there are women who do. She never meant to offend anyone with an actual condition, or anyone who does have serious menstrual pains.

  • Becca Zarza

    Eh, this article went from informative to just angry and off topic (third world women can’t afford menstrual protection?). So I as a woman will spend $3000 in my life for menstrual products, and they are TAXED?! So maybe I spend $300 in my whole life to the government in “pink tax”? Let’s call that $3/year. I can’t bring myself to pull out a picket sign for that.

  • Lordoomer

    Men have to pay for other stuff women don’t need, like videogames, condom, klennex, expensive car to flirt, pay restaurent, and be the main provider in the house or be scorned and laughed at.

  • Ashley

    Women’s products do require more work and have more luxury in them than men’s do. Old navy does not have cheap clothes, Some of my best jeans come from there, they’re high quality material, far superior to any other outlet (at least any affordable one) and they’re relatively affordable and these are women’s jeans.

  • xarai

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoCQFJxeHr4

    this article is pure bullshit

  • Yezzir!

    There’s something called a supply and demand curve. If women care more about fashion, and buy t-shirts more frequently than men, demand rises. If supply does not rise, the price rises. If the price does not rise, inventory plummets and you get shortages.

    Also, I asked my wife why she doesn’t use my razors. She doesn’t like them because they leave her skin cut and raw. Do you ladies really want to start using Prell? I doubt it. I use my wife’s more expensive shampoo because it is better, even smells better.

  • lee

    So, you take all these polls, but you refuse to point out things that men pay more for, such as CAR INSURANCE, which averages to cost more in total compared to a radiator. Now Hair products, Hair cuts, Dry cleaning, insurance, etc. Those are simple. I’ll go in order. #1 Most women pay for shampoos and conditioners for “shiny curly locks” and claim that they’re paying for more when it has SPECIALIZED INGREDIENTS in it, making it cost more. Why can’t you just buy some random shampoo? It doesn’t matter as long as it gets your hair clean, as what shampoo is meant to do. #2 Same basis. Women tend to get more stylized haircuts, go to specific barbers, and so on, meaning that it would OBVIOUSLY cost more. I just go and get it cut by some cheap barber at greatclips. It’s easy. #3 It’s all the same. Dry cleaning usually costs more because women tend to wear more delicate fabrics, which means it takes extra care to CLEAN and WASH it. #4 that’s a complete and utter lie. It’s proven that men pay on average 38% more than women for Insurance, Life and Car both. Please factcheck your writers before you have random people pointing out your flaws within your “clever” articles.

  • Veronica Ashleigh Loucks

    how about go fuck yourself … make a tax for assholes, make a tax for people that work for the bastards we call government …. i am not agreeing with this .. its not women’s faults we get paid less on average ? UHH NOO … this is unfair and we cant help were female FUCK THE GOVERNMENT , FUCK TRUDEAU, FUCK ONTARIO IN THAT FACT WE PAY ENOUGH TAXES GTFO!

  • Sileriously

    I agree completely, help me spread the message by sharing my video. it explains how the Pink tax is so sexist it should be charged based on international law.

    https://youtu.be/riAoAFyy7y0

  • Minerverse

    The pink tax is bullsh*t. If you want razors that have a moisturizing strip of aloe and unicorn dust, and refuse to buy the cheaper generic brand, that’s your business. If you insist on buying shampoo that has a squeeze of clubbed baby seal foreskin in every bottle, you’re paying more for the luxury product. You can always buy the generic shampoo that men buy. No one is forcing you to buy the boutique product. There is no pink tax. The same products are available to men as they are to women. Stop buying pink razors with flowers, rainbows, and cutsie names like DoeTinkle™, and you will avoid the so called pink tax.

    The wage gap is bullsh*t. Women tend to work fewer hours and they also tend to favour work schedule flexibility over long full-time hours. Women aren’t paid less, they earn less. If you work 18 hours a work at $12 an hour, and I work 28 hours at $12 an hour, I’m going to earn more than you. And so I should, I worked longer than you. This ‘paid less for the SAME job’ isn’t remotely true. If you’re stupid enough to do 6th grade maths of finding the average of ALL women (no matter what job they do), and ALL men (ditto), then sure, you’re going to get a gap. But if you do a proper (like for like) statistical analysis, the gap all but disappears. In fact, in some demographics (never married singles without kids in their 30s), women out earn men. You can’t do 6th grade maths and expect to learn anything remotely pertinent about the difference in how men and women are paid. That is unless you’re an ideologue who has a preferred narrative to push. This has been debunked a million times and frankly it’s getting tiresome.

  • Ñu

    Where you referring to the lack of stuff for the menstruation that you said “sorry”
    or is the word “menstruate” really make you cringe?
    Bc if the second thing is the one you wanted to express, let me tell you that you are very pathetic. Do we all have to be embarrased of our bodies? Fuck off, can’t believe you are a woman. How can you write about this things and say sorry bc you wrote menstruate?

  • Saint Kickolas YT

    The thing is. Especially when it comes to skincare. Women say they need more. All these major shampoo brands talk about all these chemicals and ingredients used, the list of stuff they put is bigger than the men shampoo version. Men’s deodarent is normally just “smells like coffee, and has about ten ingerediesnt said in it. Also, keep away from fire.”
    Women’s deodarent will be something like “it protects your skin and smells nice, with our most advanced formula, pro care pro lift stimulift and loads more chemicals used, and gives you a fresh feeling.”
    Men also have tougher skin and different collagen bonds giving their skin a different texture.
    Women have softer skin so when they shave, they’re skin just naturally requires more care, same with their hair, so they need more protective razors and foam, otherwise they will bleed a lot easier.

    I can’t see how no one has thought of the fact that women have this thing where they pay that little bit more for that extra bit of comfort, or ease, I don’t blame women because with things like bikes the saddles are always softer on women’s bikes and the whole bike is easier to get onto and ride.

    So to wrap it up, women spend more on some stuff because of they have different and more specific “requirements”.