I find shopping difficult. Seriously, the traipsing around shops looking at over priced, block colours of essentially nothing, is something I find exhausting. (Unless of course, we are in Hobbycraft or a children’s toy shop. Then, bring it.). It seems like women’s shopping is made purposefully difficult; you will be a different size in every shop, then you have to figure out do you want bootleg, straight, flare, skinny, ultra skinny…I don’t know if I am in a shop selling clothing or trying to sell me a coffee. I just want a pair of jeans and a cup of tea. Whilst writing this I realise, that I come across as a grumpy old women. shaking her fist at the evolution of life going on around her. I’m ok with that.But I had a shopping trip that was a little different. I went out shopping to investigate the subconscious phenomenon of the Pink Tax. It’s something I’ve been aware of but given I would like to wash and smell acceptable have quietly condoned by continuing to purchase products which discriminate me for identifying as a woman. I have a choice; don’t wash, don’t smell acceptable, potentially lose friends, or maybe highlight it and start using men’s products which do exactly the same thing but are cheaper. (I wouldn’t go as far as using Lynx though, apparently half naked angels with designer hair will fall from the sky, so it seems like that might be a health and safety hazard).
So what happened when I went shopping? Here it is:
Nivea Deodorant Sensitive (250ml) Men – £2 Nivea Deodorant Sensitive (250ml) Women – £3.29
Sure Men Roll on (50ml) Men – £1 Sure Roll on (50ml) Women – £1.75
Disposable razors (10 pack) men – £4.25 Disposable razors (10 pack) women – £4.69
Gillette Sensitive Shaving Gel Men (75ml) – £1.30 Gillette Sensitive Shaving Gel Women (75ml) – £1.50
Veet Hair removal cream (100ml) Men – £3.68 Veet hair removal cream (100ml) women – £3.88
There is of course another aspect to this that the work on Pink Tax over looks. We are compelled and manipulated into not only spending more, but purchasing a wider range of products. Take a look on a shopping website, or next time you are out. There will be aisles of purchasing for women, all convincing you that you need to do something about your cellulite, your hair growth, your tired looking skin, the bags under your eyes, the wrinkles, the acne, the oily skin tone, the grey hairs, the frizzy hair, the hairs between your brows. Advertisers telling you, you look awful, telling you purchasing these things will enhance your self esteem. The average women will buy significantly more products to do more things than a man and on top of that you will on average pay more for the few comparable items. When you put it into those terms, you have to wonder; how have they got away with it? (please know, I don’t think less of you for buying these things, I left the shop with a 3 for 2 offer on things that will apparently tighten my skin…)
There has been a beautiful attempt at discrediting this as a feminist conspiracy theory, though I am not sure a giant red price tag leaves much to conspire. Apparently there is a difference because us women, don’t understand that there will be “inactive ingredients” that have not been taken into account and those ingredients may be in different quantities resulting in different pricing (despite it being the same brand, same size and same purpose)…I mean, this argument is just a disrespect to faux science. I also finding it amusing that the different “active ingredients” are necessary in shaving gel, I skipped the biology class where we learnt how men and women have such different skin and the need for a layer of scented masking under their arms could be worth £1.29 extra.
So how much is it costing us to be women? We lose on average around £800 in being priced out by the pink tax. Add on that the estimated average earning loss of the pay gap is around £5000 per annum. Add on that the majority of zero hour contracts are worked by women, they are more likely to be in lower paid careers, more likely to work part time and more likely to bare the brunt of household costs and childcare cost and the costs of inequality begins to dawn on you. It is a cost to the individual woman, potentially to a household unit and most certainly a cost to the economy.
But that’s ok, because we’re all equal and feminism is outdated.