Your Local Pharmacy's Gender Division: The "Pink Tax"

As a woman, you have probably at least complained once about all the money you spend on beauty and hygiene products. Sure, a trip to Sephora is known to break your bank, but what about all the products that women and men both buy? Why are women always complaining about how expensive their products are?

It’s because women’s products are routinely priced higher than men. This phenomenon is called the “pink tax.” The pink tax is the phrase coined for how stores are pricing products or services for women at a higher rate than men. This ranges from things like toiletries to purchasing a car.

It’s not a small pricing difference either, even though it may not seem significant during your routine Target trips. Back in 1995, a study by California lawmakers looked into gender pricing, and their results concluded that women pay $1,351 extra a year than men do. Sadly, women have to deal with this financial sexism along with all the other discrimination they face. It is even more unjust to note how the wage gap is paying women less than men, while they have to spend more on products than men. This logic does not seem to make any sense.

Another study was done by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs in 2015 on this matter. The study took about 800 products that had female and male counterparts, ranging from over 90 brands sold in New York. It tracked online and in-store purchases and found that 42 percent of the time women paid more.

This gender pricing isn’t only apparent in cosmetic and apparel purchases. Northwestern University did a study on vehicle repair charges for men and women in which both sexes called up repair shops and asked how much it would cost to replace a radiator. The women and men who both acted the same level of oblivious were quoted very differently for a service averaging $365.

The uninformed males were quoted at $383, while the women who were equally as unknowledgeable were quoted at $406.

While it’s unfair that companies are taking this approach, the best way to combat it is to be informed. Know what products are charging differences and if the female and male versions are actually different.

For example, just because a razor is pink doesn’t mean it’s doing anything different than the one that’s “for males.” We don’t need a social construction to amp up the price on a product that’s literally doing the same thing: shaving.

Speaking of razors, a great company to check out is Dollar Shave Club. They advertise their razors as gender-neutral and ship you five blades a month for $1-9 (depending on what level of razor you want) a month. That sounds a lot better than paying a couple extra dollars every time you pick up new razors just because they are pink.

Women already have to pay so much on products like bras and tampons that it’s not fair to price them higher on products both genders use. Next time you see a bright pink label in Target, take a few laps around the aisle before selecting an over-priced, gender-targeting rip-off. Don’t tell Elle Woods, but we heard that gender-neutral is the new pink.

Images/GIFs: 1, 2, 3, 4

Sources: 1, 2, 3,