What is Pink Tax? Why is it problematic?

Women pay extra for pink and it is not a problem. Right? well, IT IS! Read how and why!

You must have generally seen personal care products for women to be extra pink. Products like razors, soaps, wax strips, perfumes, lotions, creams, and other products that are specifically made for women are generally found in a pink-colored pack. Basically, something that is fitting the whole idea of satisfying gender-specific color selection. Maybe it is just to the supposition that women like pink (or lighter shades or with feminine characteristics on the cover) color. But, here, the gender stereotype is not the only problem. It is certainly bigger than that.

If compared to consciously, women and men both use personal care products and there are a few things that both of them have in their essentials kit like razors, lotion, face washes, talcum, etc. There is no big difference between the male version and the female version of that product but the prices for both vary greatly.

Below is the search result of the most commonly used product, a razor for women and men. The nature of both the razors are same, simple, they have just a simple blade and are not any fancy razor. And you can see for yourself, the differences in the prices.


And trust me, these are just a few bucks extra on a very cheap product like a razor, if we go on to check other products, the cost very greatly.

What exactly is the pink tax?

In simple terms, the pink tax can be seen as the extra amount of money, a woman is supposed to pay for a specific product or service that a man gets at a cheaper price than that of women. This is what occurs because of gender stereotyping and further leading to gender pricing.

Well, this is not exclusive to India only. The bigger the economy, the greater is the difference. According to a report by financial express, the study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, personal care products states that women’s products were 48% more expensive than that for men.

Read more: Why do we get the news which is not news? How 24 Hours News Format Affects News Production

Differences between what men and women pay as per a report by Hindu Businessline

Now, why do women have to pay more?

There are several arguments to it.

The one claiming the differences in the manufacturing cost state that the making charge of women-specific products is higher than that of men. It takes for higher R&D, a higher amount in packaging and designing.

The other argument is women are price – elastic

The makers subjugate that men are rational buyers while women’s buying behavior is supported by values and value-based criteria. Women are selective of their purchase for the vibe and feel they get from it. And, women are more conscious about how they look, how they dress, and what they wear, hence, the marketing strategy and commodification with so-called feminine colors make them more attracted towards a product. As stated, what becomes exclusive for women is the color of the product; this is the case for many identical products for both men and women. The color makes women emotional is what the marketers think.

So, basically there can be several arguments that justify and normalize pink tax for women but if questioned, it is only unethical but not illegal. It is evident but not given significance.

The pink tax is subtle, not overt, unethical but not illegal, not evident, but significant. Taming it legally could be challenging but if marketers choose to do so, it could be reduced, though it cannot be removed. This gender-specific coloring of products and services is not making women pay more but promoting the gender stereotyping to elicit his own marketing good. The real issue is to make women aware of this price discrimination. Considering the pay gap between men and women, this question becomes even more relevant. Women need to question why they would pay more for a product that is similar for both men and women. Every time they dress, redress, they must ask how much extra have they paid for this pink.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.
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