Does the Pink Tax start in the womb?


Are we teaching our children that gender price discrimination is right? Toys are commonly presented as ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’. This can be can be done explicitly or implicitly. Implicit examples include the sex of the model shown playing with the toy, or the classic blue and pink colours of the product and packaging.

And the differences don’t stop with colour. In an analysis by ‘Boomerang Consultancy’, it was found that simply making a product pink is likely to add to the price of an item sold by online retailers. On average, there was a difference of 2-15% in the cost between pink and non-pink versions of the same item. Worryingly, the largest difference was in children’s toys. Amazon.com, for example, listed a pink Fisher-Price tricycle for $58, while an identical non-pink trike was priced at $43. Similarly, a pink kids beginner bike from Target.com was $80, while the non-pink version was $64.

Ethical?

Children can distinguish between males and females as early 2. By 3-4, they can easily internalise cultural expectations of their sex role. Generally, boys and girls think they should play gender appropriate games. ‘Boys toys’ tend to promote dominance, productivity and physicality. ‘Girls toys’ tend to be concerned with vanity, nurturing and domesticity. It seems as though we are already feeding them gender stereotypes at a young age. Moreover, children see their toys as an extension of themselves (Diesendruck & Reut Perez, 2014), making it likely that they will internalise such roles.

Colour and gender-type of toys influence children’s personal interests (Weisgrama et al, 2014). Differing colours promotes separate spheres of interest and influence narrow conceptualisations of self-identity. In Weisgrama et al’s experiment, making a ‘masculine’ toy pink gave girls permission to play with it. This is the same foundations to applying the ‘pink tax’ for female products – making the exact same product pink means that it is for women – and that they should pay a premium for it.

On top of this, boys were reluctant to play with feminine toys regardless of colour. Does choosing ‘feminine’ products have bad connotations, even for young boys?

Does our subconscious see pink and blue as female and male, feminine and masculine, even bad and good? We need to dig deeper into our subconscious to comprehend such attitudes. Watch the following video to see Emotional Logic’s approach to understanding consumer behaviour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R75vRjBaklA&feature=youtu.be.