I came across an interesting article today by MP Dunleavy, who talks about the premium women pay every day. And no, I am not talking just about the fact that women in the United States pay more for medical insurance than men. I am talking about the products we buy every day: body washes, deodorants, cleansing products, face creams, razors, etc.
Apparently, versions of the exact same product and brand for women can cost 50% or more than the version for men. In some cases the products may have superficial differences like a perfumed version for women versus non-perfumed for men, but often, the difference is only in the packaging. So why are we women so gullible as to pay this extra premium for no reason at all?
Maybe it is our own fault that we have higher expectations of aesthetics and the feel-good factor in products. I cringe every time my husband decides to wash his hair with soap or body wash instead of shampoo. He couldn’t care less that his hair feels softer when washed with shampoo but feels like barbed wire when he uses soap. Frankly speaking, I don’t think he can even tell the difference.
If none of these products are that different, I am also starting to wonder why I have upgraded my standards from those of my mom. She is perfectly happy with her Oil of Olay face cream, which she has been using ever since I can remember. Her skin looks perfectly fine to me. So, why in the world have I upgraded to using Sothys and Estee Lauder? A 2oz jar of Oil of Olay hydrating cream costs roughly $7, whereas a similar cream from Estee Lauder costs me about $30 in an outlet mall in the US, and $60 in Europe.
I am just grateful I shifted to men’s deodorants a few years back, when I realized they work better than any women’s deodorants I could find. From today, I plan to be more vigilant about the personal care products I buy and not pay more than I really need to for them.
Unfortunately, I still can’t do anything about the rates that the local dry cleaner charges for my shirts. No matter how many times I explain to him that I am not giving him any blouses, just regular collared shirts that I wear to work, and that he can very well go ahead and use the machine to do my shirts just like any men’s shirt, he will still charge me for ironing my shirts by hand. The difference in price in Manhattan used to be $5 vs $2 for men. Here in Switzerland, it is $11 vs $5.
So, until I can win that battle, I guess I am stuck with washing and ironing my clothes myself.