Prices of Women’s Razors Slashed to End ‘Sexist Surcharge’ — But the Surcharge Doesn’t Exist
British retailer Tesco has cut the price of women’s razors following feminist outrage over “sexist pricing” of feminine products. The move is being lauded as a victory for the social justice movement in their war against perceived gender discrimination.
In a Guardian report last year, the newspaper described the price disparity as a “surcharge just for being a woman.” A five-pack of Tesco-branded razors cost 1 British pound ($1.23)—twice the cost of men’s razors.
Hard times, indeed—as if women are genetically predisposed to selecting pink-colored razors. As such, the price difference is sometimes called the “pink tax.”
Tesco executive Kari Daniels sent a letter to Paula Sherriff, a Labour MP who made it her mission to fix the prices, to explain how the price difference was not because of gender bias. Sherriff had urged retailers to review their pricing and debated the issue in Westminster Hall last February. The letter was forwarded to the Guardian.
Daniels explained that the price disparity was a matter of simple economics, not sexism.
“In the instance of our twin-blade razors, the difference is driven by the fact that male razors are produced and sold in significantly higher volumes, which reduces the price we pay for them,” she said.
The Tesco executive added that despite this, the company decided to act on the concerns about the differences in the pricing of the gendered products.
“We have aligned the prices of these products so that the male and female razors are the same price per unit,” she said. “We have done this by reducing the cost of the women’s razors and keeping the cost of the men’s razors the same.”
Both razors now cost £0.10 per unit.
The outcome is a positive one for Tesco shoppers, but it doesn’t change the fact that there was nothing sexist about the price difference.
The “pink tax” is a myth. Feminine products frequently contain different ingredients, and in the few cases where they don’t, women prefer to buy items oriented towards them for a variety of appealing factors.
Products only sell because consumers are willing to buy them at whatever they’re priced at—and it’s not because they’re forced to. If that wasn’t the case, everyone would be out of business.
Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken game critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.