Gender Issues

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 175–191 | Cite as

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

  • Megan Duesterhaus
  • Liz GrauerholzEmail author
  • Rebecca Weichsel
  • Nicholas A. Guittar
Original Article


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).


Price disparities Doing gender Consumer products Sociology of the body 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Megan Duesterhaus
    • 1
  • Liz Grauerholz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca Weichsel
    • 1
  • Nicholas A. Guittar
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.University of South Carolina-LancasterLancasterUSA

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