By Subha Ali
The Social Pariah Of Being Pink
As a woman growing up, it is easy to ignore the inequalities around you, but as you get older, they become more apparent. Navigating as a woman can be difficult, and the way the system is set up does not make things easier to be a woman in the United States; sexism, discrimination, inequalities, and misogyny exist.
What Is The Pink Tax?
The pink tax refers to when products that are advertised or marketed toward women are more expensive than the same product that is sold to men. For example, a woman’s razor versus a man’s razor is more expensive than the men’s version of the same product because the razor is marketed towards women. The name pink tax is based on the fact that many of the more expensive products are pink in color and based on gender-based discrimination.
The pink tax doesn’t only apply to personal items; it affects toys, accessories, and clothes and applies to the tampon tax. The tampon tax is taxation on period products such as tampons and pads, unlike the tax exception granted to other products considered necessities.
What States Have Gotten Rid Of The Tax?
Twenty states have eliminated the tampon tax; however, the Pink Tax Repeal Act has yet to pass through Congress. A few states have enacted a bill to remove the Pink Tax, and a few are in the progress of introducing the bill.
Only two states have made it illegal to price products differently based on gender; New York and California.
How The Pink Tax Affects Women
The pink tax is another form of inequality women face in the U.S. Women have been fighting for equal rights since the Women’s Rights Movement. The pink tax is just a tiny part of the discrimination women face. Women face unequal pay, access to equal opportunity, lack of respect, misogyny, workplace sexual harassment, legal protections, inequality in sports, and the list goes on.
What Is Sexism & What Does It Looks Like
Sexism has existed for centuries, it is the concept of discrimination based on a person’s gender or sex, and it usually affects women and girls. It is the root of the inequalities women face.
Sexism occurs in all the forms listed earlier, as well as demeaning comments, jokes, remarks, lack of respect, excluding women, and favoring men.
For example, in the fashion industry, misogynistic advertising, objectification, and gender stereotyping occur. The most prominent example is how women in the fashion industry are mostly models while other positions like designers, managers, and directors are men. This is also a pattern in most industries, most higher positions are taken by men while women are given lower positions. This shows how women are evaluated less positively than men which is a direct form of sexism.
Another example of sexism that can occur daily for women is unsolicited comments on their bodies. The sight of a woman walking in public makes men feel it is okay to comment on their appearance, for example, catcalling, yelling, making comments, staring, following, and harassing. Usually, men justify these actions by saying they’re “compliments”, which is not the case; it makes women feel uncomfortable and uneasy, and it is not wanted. Another aspect of this is when women wear a revealing outfit, and then men justify their actions by saying the woman was looking for attention because of what she was wearing.
Changes That Need To Be Made
The problem is within the system. The system is set up for women to suffer inequalities. Although changing the system can sound impossible, taking small steps to diminish one inequality at a time is the way to change the system as a whole.
“What Is the Impact of Sexism at Work?” European Institute for Gender Equality, eige.europa.eu/publications/sexism-at-work-handbook/part-1-understand/what-impact-sexism-work#:~:text=derogatory%20comments%2C%20objectification%2C%20sexist%20humour.
Tyko, Kelly. “Momentum Builds to Ban “Period Taxes.”” Axios.com, 8 Mar. 2023, www.axios.com/2023/03/08/period-tax-women-taxes-gender-equality#.