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Corporations Fleece Women and They Think We Don’t Know

When we talk about feminism and inequality, we tend to forget that it can hide in more subtle ways within our society. Some of the worst culprits of inequality are the corporations who market products “designed for women.” They charge the female consumer more money for equal or lesser-cost goods than they would sell to men.

So, not only are women getting paid less than men…

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy and research, “In 2013, female, full-time workers made only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 22 percent.”

The Pew Research Center says, “according to the White House, full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days to earn what men did by the end of the previous year. However, our own estimate, which is based on hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers, finds women earn 84 percent of what men earn. Based on our estimate, it would take approximately 40 days, or until the end of February, for women to earn what men had by the end of last year.”

…but they are paying more for goods as well.

BIC® Atlantis Retractable Ballpoint Pens, Medium Point, Blue Barrel, Blue Ink, Pack Of 4 $4.79 or $1.20 each
BIC® For Her Gel Pens, Medium Point, 0.7mm, Metallic Floral Barrel, Assorted Ink, Pack Of 2 $5.99 or $2.99 each

Other than a different barrel design and colored ink, they are asking women to pay more than twice as much and appealing to the “delicate feminine” in us. If you search Office Depot, you will find a wide array of products. If you search for items designed for women it is much harder to find the exact duplicate not designed specifically for a woman.

If you research designer clothing or other top name brands, the cost charged to a man vs. a woman changes depending on who the design was originally intended for. Bass Shoe Co. tends to charge the same price for its standard shoes. In some areas they charge men more for a similar look than a woman, and vice-versa depending on the item. Honestly? Both ways are wrong. Ralph Lauren tends to charge much more for similar dress shirts for a man than a woman. Lacoste used to charge more for the women’s version than the men’s but their pricing structure has evened out over the years.

This brings us to things that are not specifically designed for one sex or the other. I am talking everyday products that both sexes use. So I have included a few examples here to showcase that women need to be very aware and not buy into the hype of being designed specifically for a woman, though some items kind of need to be.

With the DIY world taking everyone by storm you would think that tool makers might be a bit more immune to this trend. However a quick trip through Home Depot shows you otherwise

HDX 3/8 in. Homeowners Tool Set (76-Piece) $19.97
The Original Pink Box Multi-Purpose Tool Set with 12 in. Tool Bag in Pink (30-Piece) $29.99

Less than half the number of pieces for 50% more. But let’s look at this example from the same company.
Apollo 161-Piece Household Tool Kit with 4.8-Volt Screwdriver $49.99
Apollo 135-Piece Household Tool Kit in Pink $59.99

26 fewer pieces for $10 more. The idea is that the women will see the pink, identify it as something they can use, though there is no difference in the build or structure of the products, and pay more money for less. In fact, marketers count on it.

How about something that we HAVE to use. Sure, you could get away with never using a tool in your life, male or female.
No matter how I looked on Target, I could not even begin to find anything packaged similarly by a single brand. Of course here style makes a difference.

Hanes® Women’s Active with Xtemp Boyshort 3 + 1 Pack (Colors May Vary) $10.99 or $3.66 each
Hanes® Men’s Brief 5-Pack $12.99 or $2.59 each
Hanes® Men’s 9-Pack Briefs – White $12.99 – $14.99 or $1.44 to $1.66 each.

No matter how you slice and dice it, the men pay less per unit of clothing than women do for similar products.

Of course, we can all agree that razors are overpriced for men or women, but a quick look in Walmart and here is what I could find for similarly packaged products:

Schick Twin Blade Plus Disposable Razors, 12ct $2.37 or 19.8¢ / each
Schick Slim Twin Women Disposables, 12ct $5.97 or 59.7¢ / each

Are you mad yet?

These are the same corporations who pay us less and then charge us more for their products.
These are the same corporations who probably don’t want maternity leave acts to be passed and other protections for women put in place.

What is worse is they promote the stereotype by saying women need specially designed products to do the same things that men do (outside of underwear of course, our bodies are shaped slightly differently down there, and men don’t wear bras in general.) But a pink hammer should be a style choice not a price point, especially if the only difference is the color of the rubber on the handle. They want to keep the stereotype that women are a fairer sex, need different products to appease our softer sensibilities and that women cannot be both rugged and feminine at the same time. They count on unknowing consumers to blindly and blatantly fall into that trap. They count on women to see “pink”, associate it as a product for them, and then be willing to pay more. We need to stop that cycle. We need to call it out.

Of course someone may point out the whole “supply and demand” part of how pricing works. Sure not everyone wants pink tools, and women may still make up a smaller part of the DIY community. But razors? Underwear? Pens? You can’t sell me on that.

Personally, I can’t stand pink, and it gets dirty really quickly.
Also, I’m not talking about items with the pink breast cancer ribbon on it either… that has a specific purpose and both men and women purchase those items.

Women? Do yourself a favor… don’t fall into the trap.

Wülfie MaGhee


  1. Joe Sheridan Joe Sheridan August 1, 2015

    I wasn’t on board until I read the underwear thing. That is actually unfair.

    Most of the other items listed do nothing to support the argument. They are just normal stuff, but done in specialized colors. They will sell fewer units, which causes a higher cost per unit, which necessitates a higher price.

    I.e. Pink gel pens cost twice what blue pens do, or pink razors cost double. However, replace the word “pink” with more masculine or gender neutral colors: “green,” “gold,” or “camo.” The price still spikes.

    • J Daniel Valencia J Daniel Valencia August 1, 2015

      Sure, the more you make, the cheaper something tends to be, but we’re talking about the same model in a different color. They’ve already produce the parts and paid the same money for it. The different packaging or ink doesn’t justify the pricing. It’s all about marketing.

      It’s even worse with clothing. A journalism class I took fixated on this for some reason. Designers pay the same basic price for most of their work textiles, but based on who the apparel is going to be marketed to, the cost to consumer can vary by hundreds of dollars.

      A personal example: When I get vitamins and supplements, I learn exactly what the component is that I want. If I want L-Arginine, I can buy it marketed as a workout supplement, which is why I buy it, for $15, but I can also buy it packaged simply as an amino acid for $10. The same damn thing, though, in a bottle marketed as sexual enhancement costs around $25. You can bet there are people who simply will not buy the same thing in the different packaging merely because of the packaging.

      I just want to point out different ways that pricing can be downright devious. I know these examples have nothing to do with the greater price for women, but I don’t have any real experience in terms of that, and every time I try to get my girlfriend clothes, the whole issue with sizing leaves me rocking quietly in the corner of the closet for like a week afterwards. I have to block all that stuff out just to function again.

    • Wülfie MaGhee Wülfie MaGhee Post author | August 4, 2015

      Hi Joe,

      The main point was more as a warning not to fall into the “pink” hype for women. There is no need to build or create special pens, tool boxes, razors, or any number of items for us. It is strictly a marketing ploy, and while in some cases you CAN make the supply and demand case, it doesn’t always hold water. I don’t need a pink barreled pen. I don’t need pink razors. I don’t need “pink” anything if an already made product works just as well. Now are there things specifically designed for a man that a woman herself would never use? Yes. Sometimes I think they use women as the test market of “if we stylize this product, then we can do the same for men.” I razor is a razor for 95% of the time. (I don’t see women using straight razors to shave their body parts). A pen is a pen. Paper Mate charges the same amount of money for a blue, red, black, purple, or green pen. $2.70/doz. I could not find a similar product by them in pink. The ones that were close were designed for the pink ribbon campaign and rand $12.07 for a dozen and were shaped differently.

  2. J Daniel Valencia J Daniel Valencia August 1, 2015

    This is a review found on the Bic for Her product reviews:

    By Rachel
    This review is from: BIC For Her Fashion Retractable Ball Pen, Medium Point, 1.0 mm, Assorted-Fashion Ink, 2 Count (FHAP21-ASST) (Office Product)
    I know it says “for her” on the package but I, like many, assumed it was just a marketing ploy seeking to profit off of archaic gender constructs and the “war of the sexes”. Little did I realize that these pens really are for girls, and ONLY girls. Non-girls risk SERIOUS side effects should they use this product. I lent one to my 13-year-old brother, not thinking anything of it, and woke up the next morning to the sound of whinnying coming from the room across the hall. I got out of bed and went to his room to find that my worst fears had been realized :

    MY LITTLE BROTHER IS NOW A UNICORN and it’s all my fault. Sure, you’d think that having a unicorn for a little brother would be great but my parents are FURIOUS – I’ve been grounded for a MONTH!!! They made an appointment for him with our family practitioner, but I’m not sure it’ll do any good, and they told me that if it couldn’t be fixed I’d have to get a job to help pay for his feed and lodging D:

    I repeat, boys, DO NOT USE THIS PEN. Unless you want to be a unicorn, and even then be careful because there’s no telling that you’ll suffer the same side effects.


    (I’m giving it two stars because even though they got me grounded, the pens still write really nice and bring out my eyes)

  3. The_L The_L August 10, 2015

    Oh, I decided a long time ago that if I want something pink, I’ll get one of those tiny Duck Tape rolls and just put a little pink “stripe” on a “men’s” product. I use a Gilette to shave, and I’m female. Why spend more than 2x as much for Venus, when they’re the same product? I don’t need a huge block of moisturizer on my blade–I already *have* lotion if I want to use it.

    The only “for women” non-clothing item I tend to buy is deodorant, because I prefer the smell of women’s to men’s. I wear men’s T-shirts off work, because they cost the same amount but actually pass the “hand test.”

  4. Herb Sennett Herb Sennett September 3, 2015

    The sad part of this story is simple: As long as their are gullable people out there, other people will make things for them. If women didn’t buy that stuff, I’ll guarrantee you the “they” would stop pandering. I seem to be constantly reminded that “there’s a sucker born every minute.” The only way battle this type of crap is to stop buying this type of crap.

  5. Cherilyn Cherilyn September 10, 2015

    Over the years I have often chosen products made for the guys over those made for women because of the lower prices for the men’s products; sometimes better fit and usually better quality; everything from razors to thermal underwear. I absolutely refuse to wear thermal underwear made for women because the fabric is thinner (so it does nothing for keepingyou warm; the whole point of buying it in the first place) and falls apart three times faster than the stuff made for guys. My other pet peeve…women’s pants; WHY do we not get REAL POCKETS front and back???

    This has often gotten me accused of gender bending or cross dressing but the plain fact is….you’re right, it’s more expensive for “women products” and the stuff tends to be kitchy garbage.

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