Is It Really More Expensive to Be a Woman?

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

There is a lot of debate about the cost differences between common services and commodities used by both men and women.  In general, women’s products and services are often higher than men’s. Although some choose to take the feminist’s perspective on this and demand that the system is unfair to women, there are actually some very practical reasons this is the case.  Let’s examine a few of the categories and discuss why women pay more, and what you can do about it.

Clothing and Clothing Care
In shopping experiments, men will almost always come away with more clothing per dollar than women. There are many reasons for this. First of all, women’s clothing tends to be more complex, styled, and available in greater variation of size than men’s clothing. Women are also more concerned about style, fit and fabric than men, and it costs more to produce clothes that are up to their standards. While men’s clothing does experience fashion changes, they are not nearly as drastic or extensive as women’s seasonal and yearly style changes. The more common a product, the lower the price. Women are partly to blame for the higher price of their clothing.  For the sake of fashion, women will pay a higher price just for a particular name brand, whereas men are less likely to be influenced by these factors. Designers and retailers will charge what they know their customers are willing to pay.  But, just because women’s clothing is more expensive than men’s doesn’t mean women have to settle for paying more. Items that are fairly generic (such as socks) can be bought across gender lines to take advantage of cheaper prices, and women can shop for sales and clearance deals instead of paying full price.

Dry cleaning costs more for women’s clothes than for men’s, presumably for the greater delicacy of fabrics and designs in women’s suits and dresses.  You can avoid this difference by waiting for special rates on women’s clothing, or dry clean less often. Keep dry cleaning costs in mind when you’re considering clothing purchases to save even more money.

The next time you walk down the health and beauty aisle, notice how women’s deodorant is conspicuously pricier than men’s. Why is this? Marketers push products specifically catered to women, with added scents and attractive packaging, knowing that women will buy them.  Although marketers cater packing and scents to men as well, they are less likely to choose a deodorant based on how it looks and more on how it performs.  The same concept goes for shave gel, skin care, shampoo and other hair products.

Again, women can beat the pricing difference by choosing to buy generic, basic products versus their perfumed and designer-packaged counterparts. Basis products that have been around for generations (i.e. bar soap) usually work just as well as those marketed specifically for women. Take a look at your shelves at home and consider how many products you’ve purchased based on gender-specific marketing. It can be eye-opening to realize how much you’ve fallen prey to subtle marketing strategies that drive you to spend more on everyday products.

Hair services
There’s no question that personal grooming services cost more for women than for men. A basic men’s haircut can be as cheap as $5, whereas women’s cuts exceed this by $2 or more.  Women’s haircuts are admittedly more complex and artistic than men’s, but beware of salons that feature significant price differences between men and women’s haircuts.  Many salons now list one basic price for haircuts, regardless of gender, and then list other hair services such as styling and blow-drying separately. Save money by getting just the haircut and then going home to style it yourself.  Check Youtube and Pinterest for ideas and tutorials on styling techniques rather than paying a stylist to do it for you.

So, while it’s true that when it comes to many purchases, it’s more expensive to be a woman, you can more than make up the difference by avoiding gender-marketing and pricing traps on these and more items you purchase every day.

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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