The Cost of Doing Femininity: Gendered Disparities in Pricing of Personal Care Products and Services


Economic discrimination has been a major focus of gender research for the past several decades and such studies reveal a persistent
gender wage gap. This study examines another aspect of the interaction between gender and the economy that has been largely
ignored by social scientists—gender-based disparities in the cost of goods and services in the personal care industry. We
examine prices charged for personal care products and services that are targeted toward women or men and find that women pay
more than men for certain items and services. Our research suggests that although the differences are not uniform across types
of services or products, women do tend to pay more than men for items such as deodorant, haircuts, and dry-cleaning. We suggest
that such practices contribute to gender inequality by increasing women’s economic burden and reinforcing essentialist thinking
about gender (i.e., that women and men are biologically different).

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Original Article
  • Pages 1-17
  • DOI 10.1007/s12147-011-9106-3
  • Authors
    • Megan Duesterhaus, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
    • Liz Grauerholz, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
    • Rebecca Weichsel, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
    • Nicholas A. Guittar, University of South Carolina-Lancaster, Lancaster, SC, USA
    • Journal Gender Issues
    • Online ISSN 1936-4717
    • Print ISSN 1098-092X
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