For my Intersectionality Paper, I propose that I will explore how and why living life as a woman is more expensive than living life as a man. The two intersectionalities this topic covers are classism and gender.
In my experience, women’s products are more expensive than the male counterpart products. The New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a study comparing similar men’s and women’s products, targeted towards several different age groups, and found that products targeted towards women are more expensive 42% of the time. It also stated that those products are on average 7% more expensive. As well, a study conducted in California concluded that it can cost women up to $2280 a year to purchase the products.
In this part, I will discuss what inspired me to research more about gender-based price inequalities called “The Pink Tax”. I was at my boyfriend’s house, and I noticed he recently purchased a 15-pack of his razor heads. I know how expensive female razors are, so I asked him how much he paid for them. He made a face and he said, “they were pretty expensive… they were thirty dollars”. This information blew me away because I have always paid thirty dollars for a four or five pack of my razors. The fact that he thought thirty dollars was expensive for fifteen razor heads made me want to know more about just how many products are more expensive for women than for men. In many cultures, women are seen as a lower class just for being a woman. For many women, this could mean un-employability and dependability on a male in their lives. As well, the value of a woman’s opinion and voice are seen as lesser than those of a man. Because of traditionally female jobs such as a secretary or teacher, there are dress code expectations such as wearing pantyhose, and not wearing the same outfit twice in a week even in “non-traditional” female jobs such as working in a law firm or being a business professional. This leads to an increased clothing budget for women, not including the cost of items that are used to enhance beauty. For a woman to be taken seriously in a work-force, many times they would need to be dressed to the nines; meaning they look to be a part of a higher class. In my final paper, I will discuss this more in detail about how this relates to classism.
A study conducted by Megan Duesterhaus, Liz Grauerholz, Rebecca Weichsel, and Nicholas A. Guittar entitled The Cost of Doing Femininity: Gendered Disparities in Pricing of Personal Care Products and Services analyses potential price inequalities for certain products and services between men and women. The researchers noticed an interesting fact: according to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, in order to receive the same pay as a man for the same job, the work does not need to be equal, but it can be “substantially equal”. Even after this, women’s wages still tend to be lower. Placing women on a lower pay scale, just because they are women is sexist and discriminatory. My final paper will explore in more depth examples and further instances of many price increases, as well as the judgment and discrimination women face based on their class or social ranking. As well I will use the study Consumer Protection: Gender-Related Price Differences for Goods and Services to further explore how and why there are gender based pricings. PART C: An example of these inequalities of pricing is in hair salons and dry cleaning facilities.
In the study The Cost of Doing Femininity: Gendered Disparities in Pricing of Personal Care Products and Services, they surveyed hair salons and dry cleaners in New York City. They found that 48% of hair salons had a higher charge for a women’s cut than a man’s, as well as a price increase of nearly 300% to dry clean a women’s shirt instead of a man’s. For haircuts, on average, women paid $35.02, and men paid $22.78 for basic cuts. In the unisex hair establishments surveyed, the justification for their higher prices for women’s cute were because women “are more fussy”, “are more difficult” and they “expect more”.
My experience with such gender based pricing follows this trend as well. For my on-campus haircuts, I tend to pay $40, while my boyfriend pays $20. My gender non-binary friend who got their hair cut on campus was charged the price of a woman’s haircut, when their hair style is similar if not the same to that of a man.