The Pink Tax

Kylea M. Tackett, Multi-Media Editor

It is not uncommon for women and men to be treated differently in society. This is seen in pay gaps, underrepresentation, and women being taken less seriously in professional settings. But a difference that is often overlooked is that many products targeted to women are way more expensive than the same products targeted towards men. This is often referred to as “The Pink Tax.” 

  “The Pink Tax is just another form of misogyny that we have normalized so much that it is overlooked. It’s not serious enough for anyone besides those affected by it, therefore advocating for change is difficult,” Ankeny Sophomore Aryana Lewis said. 

Many products suffer from this tax. They are all products targeted specifically towards women, usually in pink or more feminine packaging. This could include deodorant, razors, shaving cream, clothing, conditioner, etc. 

“I noticed a wide variety of products including period products like pads, tampons, and hair products that are directed towards any type of woman, as well as anything pink like razors, shampoos, and more. You can walk into any store and buy a comb that is pink and buy a comb that is black or blue and the pink comb will be taxed higher,” Ankeny Centennial Sophomore Kylie Lerberg said. 

It’s not only products on store shelves. Many women recall being overcharged for services done by male-dominated professions. An example of this is vehicle repairs. Since many mechanics are male, many tend to talk women who are alone into paying for other services or paying more for something not worth that much money. 

“Women being overcharged for male dominated things is completely true. Women are expected to be unknowledgeable in “male” topics, making them more vulnerable to being taken advantage of. This happens often, and in more situations than imaginable,” Lewis said. 

Many times, even the most basic products carry a higher price when targeted towards women. There is usually little to no difference in these products but because they are more feminine, they are overpriced. 

“I believe that male products, which are typically cheaper, are often better. I’ve seen this with razors and deodorants the most. I believe that the companies are able to sell women’s items for more based on their demand and “feminine” packaging,” Lewis said. 

It is not only hygiene products that are overpriced for women. It can also be seen in clothing and even girls’ toys. Many times, women’s clothing is very costly compared to men’s for no specific reason. 

“I personally buy sweaters and t-shirts from the men’s section and yet they are cheaper compared to the womens’ lot of people say to just buy the men’s products but it’s ridiculous that is something we should do to avoid the pink tax. Why do I have to pay more for something my body needs just because I am a woman?” DMACC Freshman Fabiana Centeno said. 

Many women feel as if society is made against them, often called “a man’s world.” Which can, at times, be frustrating. It is considerably harder for women to get a leg up in the world, as there is a gender pay gap and at the same time, women must pay more for basic products. 

“I see a correlation between it (gender pay gap), but not a logical one. The average woman is still paid less than the average man, yet they want us to buy ourselves even more, expensive products, it’s almost a loophole,” Lewis said. 

The biggest argument of all, which is even sometimes split for women, is whether or not feminine hygiene products such as pads and tampons should be free for all women. As periods are a natural occurrence that cannot be controlled. Some women don’t think they should be free, but do believe in easier access. 

“This is a difficult question because they aren’t free to make, and someone has to earn something for the materials and time. I definitely think they should be way cheaper and easier for more people to access,” Lewis said. 

Some women have views that are different and believe that all period products should be free. 

“I think of this in a similar way to the way libraries function. Granted, you return books back to a library, and I assume no one wants to have a hygiene product returned to them used. However, libraries are government run using federal and state taxes to provide people with education whenever they want, which is considered a right in America. Why should women be denied free products to manage a cycle they can’t control?” Lerberg said. 

It’s become clear that many women living in “a man’s world” struggle with undercover misogyny. The Pink Tax is not widely talked about enough. It is important to raise awareness so that we can change things that are unfair in our society.