Women’s Products or Sexist Pricing

If you scroll through Target’s webpage, you’ll notice men’s body wash is in the four to seven dollar range. Women’s on the other hand, is the five to ten dollar range. Weird, right?

Boots is a UK originated retailer, similar to Target or Wal-Mart. Recently; the store has tried to resolve the issue of sexist pricing. It was brought to their attention by a petition that was written titled, Boots – Review the Sexist Pricing of Everyday Products. The description is very opinionated.

“An investigation by The Times found that women are being charged 36% more on average for products marketed as ‘women’s products’. The Fawcett Society describe this as a sexist surcharge for women – and I think that’s exactly what this is.”

While you may be thinking it only applies to women because feminine products are more expensive – think again. What about the men who purchase these items for their wife, mother, daughter, or sister? Or, to shake up your brain, what about the men who use these products? This applies to us all.

16 thoughts on “Women’s Products or Sexist Pricing

  1. Hey Sarah!

    I think this is a great topic to post about. This is an inequality that I think is not addressed enough. Just this winter I was at the Farmville Walmart looking for an “ugly” Christmas sweater. I was looking in the women’s clothing section and most of the sweaters were $18 and up. I decided just to go take a look at the men’s christmas sweaters. Their sweaters ranged from $8-$10 and were very similar to the women’s products that were almost twice their price. It is crazy to think about how much of a price gap there truly is. It made me think of the idea of appearance still matters because they know women have to care about how they look to be acceptable according to society’s standards so they know that they will probably still buy the item even though it is way over priced.

  2. I believe this to be one of those discussions that we sometimes do not know the answer to. It shocks us that something as small as price difference between men and women’s products, could play a role in gender norms. I think it is ridiculous that women’s product cost more than men’s products. I believe it is because women strive to have perfection in every way due to media’s influence. They want the best product with the best outcome. I am not saying that men would not view perfection the same way. However, men’s product are very singular. There is no real variety compared to women’s products. Something as basic as shampoo could cost more than a men’s bar of soap. You ask why? And I can only respond with an answer of “I have no clue.”

  3. Sarah,

    Thank you for posting about this issue. I’ve been noticing this phenomenon more and more as I’ve gotten older and as I’ve come to college, having to purchase my own basic products like shampoo, body wash, etc. I definitely agree with you that this doesn’t just affect women; it affects anyone and everyone having to purchase these products. It upsets me that the minute a product gets the word “women’s” or “feminine” slapped onto the packaging, it automatically increases the price of it. I’m glad you shared this post with us; I’m hoping bringing this to other people’s attention will act a kind of wake-up-call to those companies who up their prices for women’s products.

  4. Sarah,

    This was a short and sweet post, and I loved it! You never really think to compare men’s and women’s prices. I bet a lot of people just assume they are all around the same price because well, why wouldn’t they be?

    This is so interesting to me and I think that this topic should really be brought to more people’s attention! How can that be that the same products are being charged at different rates when in reality of it all, are the same things just different colors and scents. I think they should investigate this more to find out the root cause for such a difference! The statistic that you included about women being charged 36% more on their products is mind boggling. How is that remotely fair for these companies to do such a thing. I would bet that after reading this blog post, many people are going to if they have no already, investigate this issue themselves!

  5. Hey Sarah!

    I’m really glad you wrote about this because I think about this inequality all the time while out shopping. I also remember instances where I out loud made comments to my mom about how men’s clothing is much cheaper than what I am looking at buying in the women’s area. I have many times seen that women’s clothing and products are more expensive than mens, in more than one shopping center. I notice this more regarding clothing. A woman’s shirt can be close to $30, whereas it seems a man’s shirt is found to be roughly $10 cheaper. I often wonder why this has become a trend and why it is always enforced within retailers? Women also have to buy not only the common soaps and necessary hair products, but we have to buy feminine products as well, which only adds to the money we routinely spend.

  6. Sarah,

    This is so true and I honestly, I never paid any attention to it! Now thinking about it though, it seems like a woman has to pay at least 15 dollars just for her deodorant to actually work. Men’s deodorant is nowhere near that high and tends to work better than women’s deoderant anyway. It would be one thing to pay that much if the women’s product was made better or worked better, but that is not the case.

    I think this issue may have gone unnoticed, but because of men sometimes having to buy women’s products, as you pointed out, they too get to see how it is not reasonable to be charged an insane amount for a women’s product. I think the reason why this sexist pricing happens however, is because companies are aware that women are more likely to pay more for something that smells good or looks pretty than men are. The companies see a marketing oppurtunity to increase their profit, so why not charge more if it will sell? I think that companies think that women buy products that appeal to them in color, shape, size, over quality or price because of the gender norm of women being feminine and caring about those aspects more than men do.

  7. Hey Sarah!

    Nice post! I think you make several good points about a daily issue that we never pay attention to. Not only are women more likely to be charged more for products targeted for women, but also the products are sometimes made cheaper than male products. For example, when I was growing up I loved to tie-dye t-shirts. Whenever my friends and I went to get supplies we knew to pick up a pack of men’s t-shirts because they were made with better quality and you could get more for your money. For whatever reason, the t-shirts targeted for women were often see-through and cut formfitting, which was not what we were looking for.

    Not to mention male-targeted products tend to last longer. I used to buy Dove deodorant and went through it at what I believed was an average pace. When a friend of mine suggested Old Spice men’s deodorant because it “worked better than women’s deodorant” she not only right about that, but also my Old Spice deodorant lasted longer than my Dove deodorant. Both products were around the same price. It would be different, I think, if women’s product had a reputation for having better quality than men’s. If the women’s t-shirts were thicker and the Dove deodorant lasted longer and worked better, then I wouldn’t mind spending a little more. Unfortunately, this is not the case and I think your post did a great job bringing attention to that.

  8. Hey Sarah!
    What made me pick your blog post to read was because I’ve been reading articles about women’s products being priced higher than men’s products. I’ve been seeing this controversy for the past few years actually! A lot of my friends talk about how they buy men’s razors because they are cheaper than women’s and they also work better. Which annoys me if we are paying more for a lower quality product. I found it really interesting that you brought in how this is not just a problem for women, but also a problem for men who buy the products for the women in their lives or even for themselves.

  9. Sarah, thank you for posting this and bringing this to everyone’s attention. I have been infuriated about this very issue for a long time now and I am glad that it’s starting to surface. I did not hear about the petition, but it’s about time!
    I personally have switched to using male shampoo, deodorant, etc. because it’s so much cheaper. I thankfully did that many years ago, but this also brings me to think about how expensive feminine hygiene products are such as pads and tampons. I really hope that one day it’s understood as a human rights violation to tax a person/make a person pay more for something they biologically cannot control.
    Thank you again!

  10. Hey Sarah!
    I think this post is very interesting because I never really noticed the difference in prices between men’s shampoo and women’s shampoo. I know a lot of men that actually use women’s shampoo, so why not just make it all the same price? Also, women have many different brands and types of shampoo and conditioner they can choose from where men only have a limited option. Getting rid of sexist pricing would cause individuals not question whether to buy something or not. I know i sometimes use men’s shaving cream because, I personally think it works better than women’s. Products will always be different and competing with each other but having a different price just because it is a feminine product isn’t fair. In my personal opinion women tend to have more hygiene products than men and having different pricing for them is not helping society escape gender norms.

  11. I found this to be a very interesting post. I never knew that sexism even expanded so extensively into the typical consumer market. This is very insightful to know, and good for you for calling this point out.
    The initial construct that comes to mind is that of standpoint theory that states that societies are composed of various groups that wield various levels of power and privilege. This theory works well in this context because men, unfortunately, have always been in major positions of power in our conventional society. Furthermore, it is perhaps due to this fact, that men have always been able to literally get away with more than their female counterparts. In this particular context, standpoint theory is epitomized through the simple fact that women’s products tend to cost more than men’s products. As subtle as this may seem to some, it exemplifies the level of privilege that our society have historically deemed to men. It’s not fair at all and something sure does need to change.

  12. Hi Sarah!

    This post made me think about how some clothing lines and retailers, such as Target, have made the decision to produce gender neutral clothing lines. These decisions have been seen as controversial for many who believe there should be a strict difference between males and females. However, I think these gender neutral lines may be a solution for this product price gap. If there isn’t a label on which gender a shirt is “meant for,” retailers may not price products differently. How companies have gotten away with charging more for women’s clothing for so long is beyond me, but perhaps gender neutral clothing will make it so they can’t get away with it any longer.

    Great post!

  13. Sarah,

    Like most of us, I have also noticed this price difference when being things such as shampoo or deodorant. I typically purchase deodorant out of the men’s section because I have noticed that not only is it cheaper, but there is more product included as well. This also applies to other products such a shampoo in some circumstances.

    This price gap is unfair because often times, the products being purchased do the same thing. I think that the price becomes inflated for female products because the packaging is “prettier”, and the advertisements put into media make women feel like the product is a necessity. Overall, this price gap needs to be bridged so that one gender is not paying a higher amount of money for the same product as the opposite gender.

  14. Sarah,

    I’m really happy that you addressed this issue. I am the oldest of three with two little sisters, so I have been surrounded by feminine products my entire life (whether I wanted to be or not). When my sisters tell me about what they got when they shopping and then I asked them how much they spent, the numbers do not add up for me. For example, my sisters, Tatum and Tara, went shopping together and came back and started complaining about how much money they spent. When I asked them what they got, I was shocked as to how little they got compared to how much they spent. If I need to go clothes shopping I can get about 3 pretty shirts for about $60. However, when I look at the prices for the women’s shirts they cost about $60 for only one shirt! I find it ridiculous.

    After thinking about this for a while I think that our society and gender norms are to blame. When taking a traditional approach to this situation, the man is supposed to be the provider and take care of his woman. Another point that is important to take into consideration is how glamorized society makes women. I feel like women are far more concerned about the brand of items, where men could really care less. With this in mind, marketers for these companies jack up the prices for their women’s clothing because they know that when a woman is shopping the more expensive item will be more appealing to them even if it looks the same as an item that is exponentially cheaper. Also, when men are shopping for their girlfriend or wife, they do not want to get them the cheapest item out of fear of being seen as cheap. On the other hand, when men are purchasing a gift for another man, they almost always go for the cheaper item even if there is an identical product that costs more.

    Great post!

  15. Hey Sarah! I definitely agree with your post because I also have noticed that men’s products are always less expensive compared to women’s. I think it is extremely unfair that just because we are girls, we have to pay more for our products that guys will use for themselves, just a tad bit different when it comes to the smell or look of the bottle. Being a girl in my opinion is already pricey to begin with. We have to pay each month for feminine products for that one annoying week we all experience, make up, and plenty of other items men don’t need to worry about. The fact that we get charged higher for products that men use but in “men” form is absurd.

    I liked that you pointed out that men may also be interested in buying these products for themselves or for their significant other, which then causes them to pay for these products at a higher price. Though I rarely see this happening, I’m sure it happens, which is an annoyance to their wallets to. I know that when I go grocery shopping, I honestly look at the guy products and will sometimes buy from their section due to the cheaper price. The pricing between men and women products is not fair and I definitely think their needs to be some reevaluating. Great post, loved your argument!

  16. I worked 4 years at Harmon’s Beauty Supply store, which is like a CVS or Walgreens. I was in charge of restocking the shelves with all different products including hygiene products for both men and women. I did always notice a difference in price, and I actually ended up using men deodorant because it cost less and is actually more effective. Many of my friends use certain men products because it cost less and is actually more effective and lasts longer. This is an issue because now we are not only involving price, but quality of product is changed depending on your sex.
    In recent news, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/08/the-tampon-tax-explained/ some states are considering placing a tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons. Which is interesting because I don’t see anyone trying to pass legislation to put a tax on condoms since men use them just as women use tampons just as often. This is a conversation that not only affects women, but affects the general public. Families who have households with mostly girls, and a low income or single mothers, or single fathers, students, children without parents, grandparents. Overall, if certain companies decide to raise prices on women products, I would also like to see men products be raised as well.

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