Pink tax — it means that products marketed toward women are marked up in price and women tend to pay more for the exact same items or experience than men. It’s a frustrating thing to realize and it further exacerbates pretty horrible income inequality.
So when a 7-year-old girl named Oakley noticed that she was paying more for a new outfit than her brother on Animal Crossing, she was entering the irritating world of “pink tax”. What a crummy welcome. Her Mom Ashley, who happens to be the author of Raising Brain, a parenting blog, wasn’t able to provide a satisfactory answer.
Fortunately, this 7-year-old decided to do something about it instead of just wonder why this was happening. She wrote to Nintendo!
Bored Panda spoke with Ashley Bobst, mom of Oakley, who told them, “Oakley is a very strong-minded young lady who is very aware and empathetic to the social issues we share with her and allow her exposure to. She has a keen eye for injustice and isn’t afraid to point it out, as my husband and I are very outspoken about things that we see as not being right.”
“As parents we tend to take the Socratic approach when they ask about something that they don’t think is right and instead of influencing their view points, we ask them questions such as, ‘Do you think this is fair, why or why not?’ and then we always ask ‘What would you like to do about this?’”
She also shared the story on her Facebook page. Thousands of people felt Oakley’s frustration. Here’s Ashley’s post:
Today I was playing Animal Crossing, a wholesome sandbox game on Nintendo Switch, with my 7 year old (extremely socially conscious) daughter.
She went to purchase a new outfit from what is called “The Nook Shop” in the game when she picked up on the gender price differential of goods in the shop. (She is unknowingly picking up on a real world problem referred to as the Pink Tax, ie: feminine products, clothing, etc…)
Confused, she asked me why her brother doesn’t have to pay as much for the Mario outfit/shoes as she did for the Peach outfit/shoes? I really didn’t have an explanation for this other than maybe because it was more fancy? She wasn’t buying it, because this was the only Mario Bros themed dress option in this shop, and she was a bit upset at the unfairness.
She paused the game, grabbed her pen and paper and asked me to help her spell. By the second word, I knew what was happening and my heart was the fullest it has been in a while. She finished up her letter (see below) and asked me to find out who to send it to. She said she hopes they will take her very seriously because she hates writing, but really felt she had to do this for all the other children who felt the same way.
Encourage your children to speak up for what they see as a problem. Help them spell, help them find the right contacts. They will do great things for this world. One small note written by one small person, making such big awareness alone is invaluable.
Mom told Bored Panda she is “fortunate to be able to stay home and homeschool my two children, 9 and 7. I volunteer from home on my own to help connect people in our community with resources via Facebook community pages and working with our local Social Services Department and Food Pantries. My children see me doing this, and naturally inquire as to how they can help.”
She continued, “Giving them the opportunity to live in and be involved in our society naturally from a young age will provide them with an education unlike any institutionalized environment.” She’s also “a firm believer of behavioral modeling when setting the foundation for communication and education; children will naturally follow a trusted person’s lead.”
Ashley also told Bored Panda that the pink tax is a big issue. “We have run into this issue with something as simple as basic colored t-shirts needed for a play, my son’s was cheaper than the girl’s version of the same concept. For myself, things like razors, shampoos, etc. have always stood out to me,” she finished.
Bored Panda also reached out to the founder of “Blue Tax Body + Care”, which is committed to standing up against the pink tax. She told them that the pink tax is an issue “for any woman who doesn’t want to pay an extra $1351 on average for products she uses that are comparable to similar men’s products. And it is a big problem for any man who believes in equal rights for women.” She also pointed out that the pay gap exacerbates the issue.
“Companies charge more for women’s products because they are getting away with it and it increases their profits. Most people aren’t aware that the pink tax exists, but once you start looking for it, you will find it everywhere, from cradle to grave: pacifiers, toys, school supplies, personal care products, nonprescription medicines, and the list goes on and on. And that is just considering the classic pink tax,” said Angie.
Additionally, “when you consider women also need to purchase feminine hygiene products that are taxed as luxury items in most states and are bombarded by a cosmetic industry that tells them they need their products to feel good about themselves, women are shelling out a lot of money just because they are women. It shouldn’t cost more to be a woman.”
Angie suggests fighting back with letters to companies, signing petitions, writing your legislators, and being conscious of businesses you buy from.