Were you born with traditional female genitals? Are you over the age of 13? Do you house a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Core ice cream once a month? Convinced you’ve ‘never been so horny in my life!’ about 12 times a year?
Congratulations! You now have a lifetime, nonrefundable (with a whole lot of hidden fees) membership to the Pink Tax.
The Pink Tax
Pink tax refers to the gender-based price discrimination on sanitary products such as tampons, pads, and razors.
Most of us are familiar with the open secret that Gillette razors, among most brands, work just as well, if not better when bought in the men’s aisle of your local pharmacy. They’re a hell of a lot cheaper and even if its psychological, I swear they last longer. Pink Tax is not a tax. It’s an upcharge.
Women are making 81.6 cents to every dollar a man, yet women pay significantly more every day on necessities.
The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection conducted a study and found that personal-care products aimed at women cost 13% more than similar goods for men. Price differentials trickle down to the purchases we make for our children too. The same study shows children’s shirts for girls cost an average of 13% more than for boys.
I don’t know about you, but pink packaging and an overwhelmingly ‘feminine’ font don’t tickle me where I think corporate America is hoping it does.
The Cost Of Being Female
According to Ax The Pink Tax, the pink tax has cost an average 30-year-old woman more than $40,000. A woman in her 60s will shimmy out nearly $82,000 in upcharges that men aren’t forced to pay.
That’s a whole lot of mollah.
The pink tax goes far beyond just tampons and pads. If you’re like most Americans, a car and a mortgage are either already on your list of bills, or you hope to have them there someday. If your car insurance seems to be a bit more draining than that of your male peers, It probably is. There are currently only seven states that have nixed the practice of gender-based risk ratings for car insurance, says the Consumer Federation of America.
Just in case you didn’t feel like the societal norm of owning a home was unattainable enough, women are more often denied a mortgage. According to a report by the Urban Institute, women perform much better than men when paying their mortgages. With this, why are women so likely to be denied even when credit scores and other relative measures of risk align?
States With Some Sense
Although there is no federal law that prohibits companies from charging different prices for identical items based on gender, there are a handful of level headed states trying to give change a chance.
Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had previously legislated on their own to remove sales tax from female personal hygiene products.
Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, and Oregon don’t have sales tax on tampons and pads. Sounds like some reform in the works, right? Don’t get too excited. All five of these states have a 0% sales tax.
The government has always been a big fan of controlling the lady parts they don’t have, but is it just that our legislators don’t bleed? Their wives, daughters, and mothers do. Where is the empathy?
How To Avoid Paying Pink
The pink tax isn’t going anywhere.
In 2018, Jackie Speier, Democratic Representative, introduced the Pink Tax Repeal Act. The act was intended to ban the pink tax as we know it and shed some light on gender equality. In 2019, the bill failed.
My advice is to take control where you can. Shop the men’s aisle for items like razors, shaving gel, unscented body wash, and deodorants. When it comes to period products, shop around, and compare prices whenever available.
If you’re looking into big purchases like cars or a home, know your power in negotiation. Understand there is a strong chance you are being pink taxed and fight for fairness.
When you feel down, and your wallet feels lighter than it should, remember your strength and remember your voice. Join initiatives to fight the pink tax and support women-owned products.