What Is the Pink Tax? The Hidden Cost of Being a Woman
‘It is expensive to be a girl.’ No this isn’t some teenage girl’s squabble about wanting more clothes, makeup, or Starbucks. You might be actually paying more for women targeted products. Don’t believe us? Check below.
What is the Pink Tax?
Pink tax is the gender price discrimination that gets imposed on female-centric products. Female products, particularly the personal care ones, that have similar variations for men are priced marginally higher. More often than not, this is simply due to the nature of the attached user base of these products. By distinctively identifying these products as ‘for female’, it is suddenly rationalized that these products’ heightened costs are justifiable, despite its uncanny similarities to its gender-neutral variations. In short, you’re probably paying more than your male counterparts for everyday personal care products simply because you’re a woman.
Unlike the other half of the human population, some personal care products are deemed necessary for women on a regular basis. Here’s an example: menstruation, a process that is biologically programmed yet requires the purchase of specific products on a monthly basis and that comes with an exorbitant fee.
Luxury taxes are those that are imposed on products that are deemed unnecessary or of a luxurious intent. Having to pay a mandatory surcharge for a naturally-occurring body behaviour sounds absurd enough, but to top everything off, a luxury tax – an implication that refers to these products as unnecessary – is just off the fringe.
On the contrary, products like condoms are not subjected to any luxury tax.
How Pink Tax is Prevalent in Our Everyday Lives
Ever wondered how painkillers could target specific pains in your body? Especially in the curious case of menstrual pains, how does a non-prescribed line of pills relief a specific pain like this? The short answer to this is, it doesn’t. The make-up of these painkiller pills is of exact same dosage (exact details online). These pills work exactly the same by blocking out enzymes that are causing the pain and they simply can’t target specific types of pain through that. While there are medications that aim at relieving menstrual pain, the slight price difference in these products remains dubious.
2. Kids’ Toys
Case in point, (Pink).
Though the price difference is negligible, how does one justify the discrepancy in costs between spraying a scooter in blue or pink? Price disparity starts even when girls are young. On average, girls (or their parents) pay up to 7% more for toys due to the gender preferred toys, according to a study by the NYC Department of Consumer Affair.
3. Personal Care products
As mentioned above, daily amenities are also victims of the Pink Tax. Same function, brand but because it was recoloured for a different target audience, extra costs were incurred.
While we only provide a couple of examples, the next time you’re in the supermarket, spot a comparison yourself and try to fathom the very logic behind this phenomenon.
Why the Pink Tax?
As much as we would like to discount the existence of the tax and it’s possibly grim rationale undertoning it, we can’t. It is widely observed and a commonplace in female products that this hidden tax is precharged, and there are no two ways to go about it.
There might be legitimate reasons behind the higher cost price of female products.
Why the possibly higher cost price?
For women-centric goods, we can consider that the production volume just isn’t as high as a gender-neutral product. We’re familiar with bulk-purchasing – the higher the volume of purchase, the cheaper it is. Thus when a product is built upon a lower volume of items, the product is priced at a higher retail price to cover the initial cost. Afterall, it only makes sense that by making products that cater to half of the human population, as compared to products that are generalized to the entire population, you’re reducing your targeted buyers by essentially half.
Comprising the main body of shoppers, products are logically marketed towards female consumers. The overheads that go into the development of a product that is appealing to women, studying trends, marketing efforts are all possible agents that result in the jacked up retail price of these goods.
Despite the sound explanation above, this article is built upon the fact that identical products with a pink variations cost higher than the non-pink version of the same product. While there is no clear explanation on this anomaly, the elephant in the room is that pricing biases do exist.
What You Can Do About It
Now that you are aware of this Pink Tax phenomenon, you will be able to make better decisions. Be a little more socially conscious the next time you shop for a product. Is all that pink really worth the extra 2 bucks if it serves the same value and purpose as the cheaper variation?
Shop for alternatives and companies that align with your values. Be an informed buyer and make sure you’ve identified all your options before you make your next purchase. Look through ShopBack for a list of merchants and their competitive price points including Qoo10 and Ezbuy! Shop and live the smarter way and earn Cashback while you’re at it.
Have more Pink Tax examples? Share them with us in the comments below!
*Featured Image Credit: Marco Verch | Flickr
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