The Pink Tax: Just another form of discrimination

Kaviena Spencer; A junior broadcast journalism student

People since the dawn of time have always said “it’s expensive to date a woman,” but do they understand it’s even more expensive to be a woman? I know what you’re thinking, men use almost the exact same type of hygiene products as women, which is mainly true, so why are women paying more?

This common practice has been dubbed as The Pink Tax. The Pink Tax is in regard to the extra amount of money that women are paying for everyday items like dry cleaning, personal care products, and vehicle maintenance. 

According to, women were paying more than men 42% of the time. Which equates to women paying more than over $1,000 every year for the same products. 

The Pink Tax has been around for a long time but has recently made the news because Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got a haircut. The Washington Times reported that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez paid almost $300 for a haircut and lowlights along with a tip. Conservatives called out AOC saying she could have saved over $100 if she went to a barbershop. 

Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tweeted out a picture of him getting a haircut to mock AOC. 

He said in the tweet, “Getting my $26 (with tip) haircut.” 

After the tweet, women took to twitter to defend AOC’s actions. Some stating that if it was a man who had spent this much money on a haircut, it wouldn’t even be news. Another woman called out that this was a standard price for women at hair salons. AOC responded to the criticism with her own tweet. 

“Won’t you look at that: Mike Pence used *taxpayer funds* -not personal ones- to spend several thousand haircuts’ worth of public money to visit Trump golf courses. I wonder if Republicans care about corruption as much as they care about a woman’s cut and color,” she wrote. 

This is not the first-time women have called out the pink tax. In October 2012, Ellen DeGeneres called out Bic for marketing a new pen called Bic for Her. The pack includes two pens, one purple, the other pink and they both write in black ink. The only difference between Bic for Her and regular Bic pens is the color of the pen. And I’m not talking about the ink, I mean the actual color of the pen. 

Now if you go to and search Bic for Her, the pens will cost almost $30, which does not include tax or a delivery fee. But if you look up the exact same pen with the only difference being the color of the actual pen, you can get two packs of 32 pens along with a notepad for $28. 

I know what you’re thinking, why not just switch over to men products if they cost less? The answer to that is why should I have to? Why should I have to find men products that work well with my skin because companies have deemed that my gender is more expensive?

This becomes a larger situation when you imagine the products that men don’t have like tampons and pads. Tampons and pads are charged sales tax because they are considered “luxury” items. While condoms are not tax at all. 

Sex is not a luxury, but a period is. Intriguing, isn’t it?

Women are tired of this form of discrimination and decided to fight back. In 2018, Rep. Jackie Speier introduced the Pink Tax Repeal Act. The Pink Tax Repeal Act would mandate that any comparable products that are marketed toward men and women must be priced equally. The bill unfortunately died in the previous congress. 

If men or women are looking for a way to steer away from expensive shaving products, companies like Harry and Dollar Shave Club are gender-neutral shaving companies that have cheap, high quality shaving items. 

Personal care products aren’t the only thing women are paying more for. You can ask any woman with a car about their experience with getting an oil change. Most women will tell you that they are charged a lot more money if they are not with their boyfriend or dads. 

I mean if you really think about it, this is such a backwards concept. Women are paid less than men but are expected to pay more.

So instead of worrying about why AOC is spending $300 on a haircut, wonder why it cost $300 for a haircut.