Many people are oblivious to this, but being a woman is expensive. The Pink Tax, so named because of the color of products directly marketed to girls and women, refers to the price difference for female-specific products compared with the gender-neutral goods or those marketed to men. Research stated that women were paying more than men 42% of the time. How much? About 92,239.53 rupees more a year. So the next time you complain about your girlfriend being ‘high maintenance’, remember its not her fault; apparently it’s just the cost of being a girl today. Now it may sound like one of those moments when you read about a flood in a far away state and you feel sad for those people but then you sip your coffee and carry on with your lives because it doesn’t affect you directly, right? We are a ‘busy’ generation, full of ignorance and with too little time for anything that isn’t urgently important for us directly. Well, good thing that the victims here are all of us and not just a few thousand people in a land far away and we need to do something about it.
Danielle Kurtzleben, a journalist said, “Think about it this way: you’re paying extra to play a made-up role that society pays you less for inhabiting.” And it is true, our patriarchal society does whatever it can to make the lives of women miserable, be it the glass-ceiling in work spaces or pink tax economically. “Price discrimination adds another layer to the wage inequality women face, making it harder sometimes for women to make ends meet,” said Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California. The society expects the women to look a particular way and the idea that using these expensive products is the way to achieve it is reinforced again and again. It is legal and very much in practice.
If you don’t believe it, go to any online store right now and search for razors, for men ‘Laser Sport’ 3 Razor Set of 3 (15 Razor, 15 Cartridges) is for 280, so one that comes around 18.8 per razor, now for girls ‘Laser’ Petals 3 Triple Blade Disposable Razor for Women (Pack of 16 Razors) is for 450, that is 28.2 per razor. Let’s talk about how women’s shampoos have the same basic ingredient as of men’s shampoos but costs 48% more on average. These pricing disparities start from a young age but continue for a lifetime. How? Google again: ‘My Baby Excel Spiderman Homecoming 2 Wheels Scooter’ costs 1500 rupees and ‘Disney Princess Two Wheeler Scooter Disney Princess with Lighting’ is for 2200 rupees.
It definitely not fair. So what do we do now?
Fun Fact: There is a ‘wikiHow’ on “How to Beat the Pink Tax: 13 Steps (with Pictures)”
But on a serious note, sexism in any form must not be excused or ignored. While women are the most common victims of gender pricing, for certain kinds of services, men typically pay more – like manicures and facials, for instance. If its the same product and same person using same skills, how does it matter if its a man or woman? Consumers have a big role in holding the companies accountable and while that kind of reform will take time, just start buying the basic things from the men’s section in supermarkets or you can always choose to buy from companies that make gender-neutral products. Just to start small, don’t buy products labelled ‘for women’ when a Unisex product is available. Further, remember to appreciate and publicise stores that don’t charge men and women differently. Women have gigantic power with regards to the commercial sector. Women make an expected 75-85 per cent of all purchases, which implies that organizations have to react to their requests and satisfy their demands, so write emails to these sexist companies criticising the sexism they are meting out.
If the guy in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ can build a library with just persistently sending letters and Emma Watson as a child could change words in commercials by sending mails to the women in power, then so can we. Nothing will change unless all of us work together, be more vocal about the issue and make that change happen.
Picture Credits: YouTube