Razors, Insurance, Pillows: the Irritating 'Women's Tax' Still Exists

Illustration for article titled Razors, Insurance, Pillows: the Irritating 'Women's Tax' Still Exists

The pink handle on your razor is costing women extra. So is the hair on your head, your drugstore lotion, and the fact that you live longer, statistically, than the men around you. The “women’s tax” still exists and it’s still unbelievably irritating, gratingly unfair, and, in most places, perfectly legal.


That “women’s tax”—the higher prices women pay for all kinds of products and services—was nicely demonstrated today with a video put together by HLN’s Daily Share:

That’s right: razors are more expensive, as are identical face lotions, haircuts, dry-cleaning on identical shirts, and even long-term care insurance, even though Obamacare technically banned gender-based pricing discrimination in insurance coverage. (Insurance companies say women are charged more because, statistically, they live longer, and because they use health services more. It’s the same logic that allows them to charge smokers more and, according to the New York Times, adds up to a difference of “several hundred dollars” per year.)

We’ve known for a long, long time about gender-based pricing disparities, although California is, so far, the only state that’s actually made it illegal. California’s Department of Consumer affairs banned it in 1996, after a survey of haircuts and laundry services found that women were paying significantly more. As Yahoo points out, New York City has laws against the practice, as does Florida’s Miami-Dade County. The outcry against New York City’s law was fierce: please read this delightfully dated 1998 Times story, where a representative from a dry cleaning trade group justifies the price disparities in shirt-cleaning: ‘’There are blouses that have beads and blouses that have trimmings and blouses that have lace and all kinds of very exciting and inventive ideas to make Mrs. Consumer or Miss Consumer more beautiful but are difficult to clean and press.”

In 2010, Consumer Reports found the disparities were still true for many common drugstore items, recommending that women ignore “gendered packaging” and reach for the cheaper option. That’s fine for a razor, but it’s a little trickier when it comes to something like insurance, or mortgages and insurance rates. But hey, good thing women earn as much as their male counterparts, right? Right? What? Christ.

Image via Shutterstock

Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.

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Oh God, the trolls are going to be out in full force on this article.

One thing our governments could do, but won’t (because OMG MOOCHERS EVERYWHERE BUYING SUSHI ON FOOD STAMPS, AMIRITE?) is make things like feminine hygiene products (which should really be called feminine dignity/survival products) tax free and subsidized. It’s insane that items like tampons and pads are still taxed and often sooo expensive, which makes it harder for poor (and practically impossible for homeless) women to get them. I know that 40,000 MRAs will now threaten to rape me for saying this, but if men had to bleed out of their genital areas for 3-7 days per month you know all that shit would be basically free.