There are many women in our country who don’t have the means to buy their own menstrual hygiene products, simply because of their gender. In certain states, menstrual hygiene products and other products targeted towards women are highly taxed; called the “pink” or “tampon tax,” these items are priced this way because they are meant for women. However, there is a difference between the two — the “pink tax” is actually hiring the price of items meant for women, while the “tampon tax” is a tax on menstrual hygiene products. This pricing displays the blatant sexism within our state governments which must be rectified.
The so called “pink tax” dates back to the early 1990s, and since then, women have been forced to over pay for basic hygiene products. There are several reasons behind the existence of the “pink tax”, the main one being product discrimination. Many companies use this marketing strategy to target a certain group of people and make an increased profit off of them. In the case of the “pink tax”, they are solely targeting women. While manufacturing companies argue that pink products are more useful, there is no evidence that this is the case. Companies also use the product differentiation strategy to distinguish their products. They charge extra for feminine hygiene products, claiming that pink products are more costly to manufacture while overpricing products targetted towards women. For instance, men pay $5.49 for body wash, while women pay $7.49 for the same body wash, just as they must do for countless other items. Additionally, because menstrual hygiene products are taxed, menstruators of other genders are also affected.
As seen from several companies’ marketing strategies, the “pink tax” is riddled with sexism, stemming from the stereotype of pink as a womans’ color. In fact, companies will use the “shrink it and pink it” method, providing lower quality items for women in pink to jack up the price, charging female consumers at least $82,000 just in the added expense of the tax. Luckily, an increasing number of states across the country are realizing how injudicious a tax on items meant for women is.
However, in states where the “pink tax” is still prevalent, there are some steps women can take to be smart consumers. Buying products marketed towards men, like razors and shaving cream, or unisex products can significantly help lower the overall cost of living. Additionally, all people can advocate for equality, even if just by talking about this issue and some possible solutions with others. There are many small ways to advocate for change, which can often carry huge impacts. Tackling the “pink tax” isn’t just fixing flawed state laws — it’s lightening the load of injustices women face every day.