Picking Apart Pink Pricing: Why Women Pay More for Basic Necessities and How to Avoid It

Despite hopes for socio-economic and cultural progress with the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, women in Canada have a long way to go before they reach de facto equality with men. Canadian women are paid an average of 72 cents for every dollar earned by men, but there is another sinister way in which society is systematically undermining women’s attempts to gain economic independence and equality.

It’s called Pink Pricing.

Pink Pricing is the commercial practice of dressing products up to look like they’re made to suit women’s needs so that companies can charge more for them.

The practice is brutally common, and it’s bullshit.

Don’t believe me?

Go shopping.

Unless we’re talking bras, dresses, and makeup (not saying that men don’t wear makeup, just saying it’s usually worn by women), and clothing items specifically designed to fit a woman’s shape, there is NO reason to pay more for items we all use regardless of gender identity.

Take deodorant.

Ingredient for ingredient, there is little difference between men and women’s deodorants. In spite of this, men will get about 85 grams of deodorant for the price of a woman’s deodorant containing half that amount of product.

What’s even sadder is that studies have shown that while only nine chemicals cover up the scent of male BO, there are twenty five chemicals that cover up the scent of female sweat. Theoretically it would make more sense for companies to charge men more for deodorant not less, but they don’t. Instead, they court female consumers with baby powder and gardenia scents and pretty packaging so they can charge more for less.

Save your money and buy men’s deodorant. Nobody will sniff your armpits long enough to notice the difference.

Razors are another great example. Women are charged more for razors that do the exact same thing as a man’s razor. The price difference is covered up by pretty colours and the lure of fancy moisturizing ingredients on or around the blades.

Here’s a wakeup call: men use razors on their FACES. If they’re safe to use on the sensitive skin of a man’s face, they’re safe to use on a woman’s body, and chances are that most women own enough moisturizers they can use to make up for the missing moisture strip.

T-shirts, jogging pants, and hoodies are another way companies steal from women’s already meager salaries.

Unless you have a model’s body, most women’s athletic wear isn’t going to fit comfortably, no matter the size. Men’s items are cheaper, come in more accommodating sizes, and do double duty as they’re comfortable to nap or work out in. All you need to do is buy smaller sizes.

Love women’s tees? Take a small or extra small man’s T-shirt and a pair of scissors and go on Youtube. There are TONS of tutorials on how to make men’s T-shirts fit a woman’s body.

Face Cream is probably the biggest gendered price gouge of them all. Despite dermatologist after dermatologist denouncing the beauty industry for false promises regarding anti-aging products, women still spend hundreds of dollars on creams and serums that promise to fight the signs of aging.

A random search on Amazon.ca revealed anti-aging creams that range in price from nine dollars to upwards of two hundred forty dollars an ounce! For those of you who think these things actually work, please accept the pity of all of us looking younger for cheap.

The only things that are going to affect how you age are genetics and proper skin care and nutrition.

What counts as proper skin care?

Soap, moisturizer, and sunscreen, that’s all. Wash your face, moisturize it, and protect it from the sun. You don’t need fancy soap or cream to pull this off. You can get a bar of Dove brand soap for as little as three dollars and twenty five cents and a bottle or jar of face cream with SPF that will last at least a month and cost you only ten or fifteen bucks.

If you have sensitive skin fear not, the cheaper brands also carry hypoallergenic variations. People with acne should speak to a dermatologist before blowing their paycheck on products that may do more harm than good.

Want a cheap makeup remover? Throw out your micellar waters and cleansing oils – or use them up so the money isn’t wasted and never buy them again. A tub of Vaseline costs a fraction of the price and does the job just fine.

Then there’s sleepwear.

Unless you’re looking to get laid on a given night you don’t need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on something you’re going to sleep in. Lingerie is one thing, comfortable functional sleepwear is another.

You could always sleep in the nude but if you don’t feel comfortable doing that feel free to invest in a pair of men’s pajamas or a man’s T-shirt and boxers for about five bucks each. While prices vary, women will still pay at least two bucks more for a pajama set coloured and cut to suit their alleged tastes. Don’t waste your money.

Companies have been aiding and abetting attempts to undermine women’s financial independence. They do this by telling us a product is really for us when it’s really the same thing they sell to men with different packaging. This chips away at our hard-earned unequal pay, thus tipping the scales against us.

On this International Women’s Day pledge to make companies accountable for pink pricing by refusing to buy into it.

A boycott when done right sends a powerful message.

On this International Women’s Day let this be the message: UNTIL YOU PAY US RIGHT, WE WON’T PAY MORE FOR LESS!

* Featured image kropekk_pl via Pixabay Creative Commons

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