It really should be no secret anymore that advertisers love splitting us up into smaller, easier-to-market-to groups. And most of the time when they do, we end up spending more for the same product. The plus side to this though is that once we’ve peeled back this marketing matrix and seen it for what it is, often we can learn to cut our spending by bending our gender while shopping. Here are just a few examples of every day products that have a clear, but also easy to overcome gender bias.
For a long time, women have paid a premium for razors. Even though many times the women’s version of a razor is the same as the men’s with just a different shape to the head, they are often the same blade. Across from each other on the shelf, I found a package of Schick Hydro disposable heads, both had five blades and were designed for sensitive skin, and both came four to a package, and yet the men’s heads only cost $15.99 while the ladies’ version was $21.49.
Gillette really decided to up the absurdity this year though with the launch of the Body razor for men. Touted as the first razor designed for “manscaping,” the Body is identical to the Venus razor for women, which itself was just a redesign of the Mach 3 men’s razor. The major design difference between the standard Venus and the new Body razors are that the Body has a green and black color scheme. The prices fluctuate between retailers on this new item, but it seems that for once men are getting the higher prices, at least in the fully disposable razor packs, where two Body razors sell for $11.79, while you can buy three Venus disposables for $13.79.
So if you’re man enough to manscape, and can handle having your razor be a tropical pink or blue, you can get a third razor for only two dollars more. Or you could just buy the Mach 3 and shave with that, since a three pack of those are only $9.99 on Amazon.
We all sweat and we all stink when we do it a lot, but I don’t think it’s an entirely unfair argument that men tend to be the ones who smell worse when it happens. And yet when hitting the deodorant aisle of your local drug store, it seems to be women who get hit with higher prices. Now, like with all scented items, there is some allowance for gendering deodorant. Women’s deodorants tend to have fruity or flowery scents, with names like “Revive” or “Summerberry,” where as men’s deodorants tend to smell like they were carved out of a piece of lumber and have names like “Hawkridge” or “Snake Puncher.” Okay, maybe not that last one, but it’ll happen. But even when you strip away that aspect and narrow down your scents to something outlandish like smelling “Clean,” even the same brand can swing in price. A stick of “Clean Comfort” 48-hour Dove Men+Care at CVS is $5.99, while the similar Dove Advanced Care for women (also offering 48-hour) is $7.49. That extra $2.50 is even steeper when you realize that the men’s stick is 3oz, where the women’s is only 2.6oz. And if both seem a bit overpriced to you, there’s always Almay which is non-scented, not marketed to one specific sex, and can be bought on Amazon for only $2.39 for 2.3oz.
Okay, so maybe not an “every day” purchase, but those of us who dye our hair from a bottle still can attest that there is a wide margin in between products. Even in the products marketed to women, the prices can shift just in regards to how the dye is applied which is typically with an applicator or just by soaking your head in foam. But for men who aren’t ready quite yet to become a silver fox, or who perhaps are just looking for a change, there’s not that many options to begin with. Often the only choice on drugstore shelves is Just For Men, which promises to target the grey hair. However if any man just wanted to head over to the women’s hair coloring section, they’d find that universally all of those hair dye brands also promise to cover grey hair, offer a wider selection of colors and shades, and also tend to be priced between $6.99 and $8.99, while Just For Men starts at $9.99.
Rye Silverman is a writer and comedian based in Los Angeles. Rye has been seen on the Fusion channel, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and runs a blog about style, pop culture, and gender called Chick Like Me.