By LAUREN REMBOLD
Recently, I had to write a journal in class about a law that I believe should be passed. The exemption of feminine products from sales tax is the law I chose to examine and explain further as I believe very strongly in this matter. A couple days ago, Feb. 9, 2019, this topic, better known to some as the “pink tax,” acquired more attention as the bill was reintroduced by Ohio.
This extraneous tax is the supposed price increase on goods marketed to women (and girls) all around the world. The list includes things from socks, pens, deodorant, and razors to tampons pads, pain medication, and birth control.
Some are skeptical of the tax calling it a myth; however, these items are proven to be taxed just like any other “luxury item” purchased from the store, i.e. a candle or a mop. Many of these things mentioned include the mandatory sales tax on luxury items. The other items listed are necessary items that females need to be able to function normally at work, school, the gym, even at home. Most of the time, the taxation on these items are almost half the price of the item itself. Women spend around $3,756 on products that she uses daily, weekly, or monthly per year.
The products that are “luxuries” are a problem as well. They face an entirely different set of concerns. Products such as razors, deodorant, etc., are marketed (and sold) with approximately a 15-18 percent increase in price as compared to men’s products. For example, a razor for men, Hydro 5 by Schick, is marketed at a price of $14.99. Their razor for women, Hydro Silk, with the same description, is marketed as $18.49. These razors are so identical that they are on the same campaign poster together as a marketing strategy for a “His & Hers” effect.
Even stationary is sold with an increased price of .13 cents to $1.29. Companies such as Société Bic, more commonly known as Bic, manufactured a pink colored pen called “Bic For Her Fashion Retractable Ballpoint Pen.” This pen comes in a one or two pack and retails for $4.88 ($2.44 per pen) on Walmart.com. However, their black colored retractable ball point pens sold in a pack of three for $5.19 ($1.73 per pen). The pens were taken off the shelves by the company as soon as they were stocked due to retaliation and failure of the product. Bic has had a history of being sexist towards women in multiple campaigns even sending out apologies for those offended by such marketing strategies.
The Washington Post reported that “Price discrimination [as a] whole tends to be worse for women, though.” A 1994 report from the State of California found they pay an annual “gender tax” of $1,351 for the same services rendered to men. That is enough to buy roughly 11 day passes to Disney World. ($85-$90).
Many states have already excluded feminine necessities from mandatory state sales taxes. However, to completely eradicate the tax on these products these ‘bills’ would need to pass through the legislative process.
One of the major struggles of getting it through this process is that it would “violate the principles of sound tax policy,” says budget analyst Nicole Kaeding. She also writes that by exempting these products from sales tax, it would only result in higher prices anyway.
Obamacare passed nearly 20 tax increases that have some form of conflict of interest for women. One of these includes the tax increase on pain relief medications such as Pamprin and Midol. For some women, these items are luxury; for other women, these medications are often their only line of pain management.
The tax also made the price of birth control increase due to taxes causing women to be in distress over being able to afford the medicine whether it be for prevention/ hormonal/ pain management reasons. This tax hike generated about $5.6 billion since it has been enacted.
Finding it ridiculous that women in some parts of our country have to pay up to a 10 percent sales tax on products that are necessary to their daily lives, I stand behind the bill 100 percent. As our society prides itself so highly on gender equality shouldn’t we be concerning ourselves more with what goes on behind the scenes? After all, phrases like the “Pink Tax” shouldn’t even exist today.
Lauren Rembold is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications group.
Gleason, Patrick. “The Phony Feminism of Tampon Tax Repeal.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 31 Aug. 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/08/31/tampon-tax-repeal-movement-dishonest-political-gimmick-patrick-gleason-column/589595001/.
Paquette, Danielle. “Why You Should Always Buy the Men’s Version of Almost Anything.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 22 Dec. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/22/women-really-do-pay-more-for-razors-and-almost-everything-else/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.93ff5a5789b.
Swns. “Vanity Costs American Women Nearly a Quarter of a Million Dollars.” New York Post, New York Post, 6 July 2017, nypost.com/2017/07/06/vanity-costs-american-women-nearly-a-quarter-of-a-million-dollars/.