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Gender Bender: The Pink Tax Doesn't Just Affect Women

Haley Mullins

Posted on March 24, 2021 13:08

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If the American people truly want to bridge the gap between women and men, we first have to change the treatment and expectations of women, men, and everyone beyond or in between.

Recently, I had an appointment for a haircut at a salon I had never used before. Though I normally opt for saving a buck and getting my fiancée to cut my hair, this time I chose to splurge on a professional cut.

When I looked at the prices for various services, I noticed a significant difference between what they call a "Women's Haircut" and a "Men's Haircut." As a masculine-presenting individual assigned female at birth, I wondered for which service I’d be charged. Would they look at the way I dress and my already short hairstyle and decide I'm "man enough" for a $26 cut, or would they be obliged to tack on an additional $9 because of my anatomy?

Studies have shown that women are often charged more than men for comparable goods, particularly within the category of personal care products. This, however, is widely known, and discourse for how to minimize the "pink tax" has been circulating for quite some time. Beyond the unethicality of gender-based price discrimination, the practice of gendered marketing poses another problem — it is a major obstacle in shifting public opinion to becoming more accepting to other gender identification options beyond the traditional binary.

As of December 2019, the Pew Research Center had determined that 42% of Americans believe that there should be more than just the male/female identification options on forms and profiles. With a plurality of Americans affirming more gender identification options, why are products and services still marketed almost exclusively towards identities within the binary?

Gendered marketing and gender-based price discrimination are a disservice to everyone because they reinforce traditional gender roles and embed the rules of our unequitable social hierarchy into things as small and everyday as our bath products. Studies are showing that this approach to reaching consumers is also becoming less effective, particularly with younger generations who tend to demand more visibility to identities beyond the binary.

The problem is that products and services are both informed by and help inform our culture. If the American people truly want to bridge the gap between women and men, we first have to change the treatment and expectations of women, men, and everyone beyond or in between. 

Haley Mullins

Posted on March 24, 2021 13:08

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Source: Phys.org

The wage gap between men and women is no secret, but another form of gender discrimination directly and disproportionately...

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