I recently avoided falling victim to the “pink tax.” Never heard of it? It’s when an item for a woman is more expensive than the same item for a man. The culprit? Payless Shoes. Like many creatives, I daylight in the service industry. One must? Non-slip shoes. Spills, dirt, snow, crackers a parent brought for their two-year-old which their two-year-old felt belonged on the floor (sometimes they actually improve the look of the otherwise tacky flooring, but I disgress). Mostly it’s the dish pit: often a nightmarish lake similar to the bog of eternal stench from Labyrinth except without the comical fart sounds and pirate fox riding a dog.
I had overextended the 4-6 month shelf-life of my then current shoes because I just didn’t want to invest money into something that wasn’t writing. Sadly, the feeling of dish pit scrap stew seeping into a hole then soaking my sock was enough to send me running to the store.
So there I was, staring at the wall of options for ladies. There were sneakers of many kinds, oxfords, converse, boots, heels, and flats. No shortage of options BUT upon looking at the prices, I found myself frustrated. They had gone up! And having worked in this industry for a long time, I know that there have been NO advancements in the world of non-slips that could warrant such a price hike. So WTF?
To the men’s section I went. And I wish I could say my jaw dropped, but what actually happened was an audible, “of course.” The same exact style was $10 cheaper in the men’s section. I grabbed my size (8 in men’s) and ran back downstairs to confirm with the women’s shoe that they were in fact the same. And yes. There was a slight difference in the width of the toe area, but otherwise the same. So why the price difference? Especially when typically women’s shoes of the same style require less material as women’s feet run smaller?
I really don’t know. But what I do know is that it shouldn’t be called “pink tax.” Pink tax is too polite for this form of prejudice. Can we please stop shrouding sexism and gender inequality in cute pastel colours? It should be called “no dick tax.” As in if you don’t have a dick, so you have to pay a tax. It gets right to meat of the issue by saying women are without and that’s why we pay more.
I bought the men’s shoes. And boy oh boy, did they ever get rave reviews:
“Those shoes are the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen.”
– Single White Male Coworker
“You know Becca, I can get behind your gender-bending style, the suits, the hats, suspenders, I’m into it. It’s sexy. But those shoes do not make me want to fuck you.”
– Different Single White Male Coworker
Instead of crying myself to sleep after failing at my only objective in life, I came up with an idea for a new tax. I propose a “no vagina tax” wherein every time a man thinks he has the right to comment on a woman’s body or how a woman chooses to dress her body, he has to pay a fine. As in you don’t have a vagina and because of that you say and do wildly inappropriate things, so you have to pay a tax. And we can then use that money to support victims of sexual assault. Now there’s a tax I think we can all get behind! #novaginatax