The Bench Bar and Grill in October 2015. Every Thursday night is ladies night, where the bar charges less for women. FRANCESCA CAMPIONE/THE STATESMAN
The Bench Bar and Grill in Oct. 2015. The Bench, a bar right off Stony Brook campus, has a “ladies night” on Thursdays where women aren’t charged for drinks.  FRANCESCA CAMPIONE/STATESMAN FILE

A few weeks ago, I went to CVS to purchase some men’s body wash.

I did not buy the body wash because I enjoy the crisp, manly scent of Suave Sport Recharge (though I honestly don’t know how anyone on Suave’s marketing team thought that “sport recharge” was a scent). I bought it because it was cheaper than the women’s body washes.

Fast forward a few days when I was getting ready to go out to a concert with some friends at a local bar. I was all showered, smelling as sporty and recharged as ever, when we arrived at the bar. The group of us, five girls and one guy, gave our IDs to the bouncer at the door and pulled out our wallets to pay the show fee. The man stopped us, “Single ladies get in for free,” he said. He smiled at us girls, and then pointed a thumb at our friend Brad, “He just has to pay.”

It was in this moment that I was officially enraged by gender-based price discrimination.

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Initially, it doesn’t make sense. I paid less to see the concert, isn’t that a good thing? I don’t think so. Because after years of paying more than men for body wash, razors, clothing, haircuts and dry cleaning, I finally found mercy for my plight in product pricing at the hands of a bar bouncer who was only charging me less as an incentive to pack the bar with women for the benefit of the other men there.

Gender-based price discrimination is the act of selling the same product at different prices to different genders. It has been occurring for years, and it is an issue for all genders, not just women. A report by the Wall Street Journal found that New York nail salons have been known to charge men more for manicures. Car insurance companies are known to charge men more because they tend to drive more recklessly than women.

But overwhelming evidence shows that women are the ones that bare the brunt of this pricing discrimination. The New York Department of Consumer Affairs released a report that studied five different industries (kids toys, kids clothes, adult clothes, adult personal care products and adult health care products) and found that in every industry, female products cost more than male products. In 1994, the state of California studied the issue of gender-based pricing of services and estimated that women effectively paid an annual “gender tax” of approximately $1,351 for the same services as men. Like, bruh. Do you know how fast that adds up?

Again, guys are discriminated against as well, but concerts and bars that offer “ladies night” deals (cough, The Bench, cough) that charge women less for entry to its venue than men are a much more complicated story. Understandably, guys have been outspokenly angry about these “ladies night” deals, and they have every right to be. After all, they’re being charged more for nothing. But as a woman, can you imagine how aggravating it is to see that even an act that discriminates against men still finds a way to degrade women at the same time, and nobody is talking about it.

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Men having to pay extra for entry to a bar or concert is wrong, but women are paying less in exchange for feeling devalued and exploited. I’m not saying that all men are at the bar for the sole purpose of picking up other women, but that is a huge part of it. If it wasn’t, then why would the price difference exist? Why would bars feel so inclined to pack the club with women instead of men?

Companies should not incentivise women with cheap entry fees for the benefit of another gender, then claim that this deal is actually for them because they got to pay less at the door. Women are not putting in more work or time to earn a lower priced entry at bars. Men are not receiving any special treatment by having to pay more to get in. Women are being charged less for entry at these places because they are a sexually desired object. That is not beneficial – it is absurd.

Whether it’s buying body wash or packing bodies at a bar, I should feel equal to every other customer. I don’t really mind smelling sporty and recharged, but it would be nice to pay a cheaper price for products without being treated as something cheap as well.

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10 comments

  1. Now if you would have criticized their billboard for saying…. “Let’s go Jets.”
    I’d be 100% on board (no pun intended)

  2. So let me get this straight…. You are complaining because women drink for free on Thursday nights at a bar??

    That’s awesome! If you incentivize that over a 52 week year, that $1350 per year you quoted in the article can be easily recouped each week with a mere $27 bar tab that you don’t have to cover. Plus, if you felt that objectified you could do your ‘bruh’ a solid and just give him a couple free beers as well.

    As for the other products. Capitalism/Economics 101- prices are set by the market. Stop buying the products and they will cease to exist at the current price by the large corporations setting those prices. Attacking private businesses who are hooking you up to simply compete with all the Chili’s and Applebee’s of the world though…. C’mon Bruh.

  3. The cheap entry fee for women is not for the benefit of other women, it’s for the benefit of the bar. Ladies nights generally happen on weeknights when the bar would otherwise have an off night. Having a ladies night promotion does bring more women to the bar, which in turn draws more men. Traditionally, men spend far more money at bars than women. If bars are exploiting women for anything, its to draw men there for monetary gain, not to help men hook up. This is simple bar and restaurant economics. If you object to women being seen as cheap, take it up with women.

  4. Checking the prices on the website was pretty simple; just took a few minutes at each site. Sorting by brand is fairly easy. – The article here specifically says that she bought “Suave Sport Recharge” at CVS because it was ‘cheaper’ than the womens body wash however Suave Body wash in the womens section of CVS was the exact same price per ounce when I checked as most of the suave body washes in the men’s section. – I went further and compared ‘same brands’ across a few other brands and I just don’t see this ‘price gap’ that she’s referring to.

    What IS very clear is that there are a lot more choices available in the womens section; plenty of those other choices ARE more expensive but it’s totally inaccurate to say that this is due to “gender based price discrimination”; if anything women have more options which seems to me like a win for women vs. some horrible act of discrimination.

  5. The author seems to have overlooked the obvious: charging different prices for the same service (entry to a concert) because of the gender of the buyer is not the same as charging different prices for different products regardless of the gender of the buyer. If women are willing to pay more for razors that are pink when they could do the same job with the standard item, then the specialised market for women is free to take advantage of it.

  6. a few months ago we (the mister and i) went to florida and he forgot to bring his shaving cream so he used my “identical” but “oddly less expensive” shaving cream with the pretty pink packaging… – He normally uses Edge ($4.24 for a 7oz can at walmart) or Gillette shaving gel ($4.97 for a 7oz can at Walmart) and I normally use Skintimate ($2.97 for a 7oz can at walmart).

    After he used mine for a week he decided that he was switching to skintimate despite the uber pink packaging because not only was it cheaper but it also moisturizes better and he felt that he got a better shave from it.

    I can certainly find more expensive shaving products if I try but I suspect the author didn’t really do a very thorough job of price comparisons… (as noted in my other response related to shower gels)

  7. The fact that men want to meet women is seen here as oppressive to women. IF only they had to pay admission and buy their own drinks, and if only the men would completely ignore them, they’d be much happier.

    MGTOW looks more and more attractive all the time.

    About all those more costly women’s products; buy the men’s products instead. If you notice a difference, then you’ll know why you’re paying less for them. When I look at all the products in my wife’s shower vs. mine, I know why women pay more. It’s not discrimination; it’s supply and demand. Women want to feel attractive, pampered, special, and you don’t get that by buying the cheaper brand. But, it’s also great if they can somehow blame men for that. Presto! Women can feel special and oppressed at the same time, and nothing could make some of them feel happier.

  8. Wow! What a well-research comment! How did you get the time — and the patience — to do this research. I will copy and paste your info for future use and will credit you. I have a comment here still pending.

  9. I just went to the CVS website and checked the pricing for their body wash; they certainly do have some rather expensive options available (such as the $72.99 bottle of “ConvaTec Aloe”) and it’s worthy of note that the 10 most expensive body wash options were all “womens” body wash products. However that appears to mostly be due to having a lot more options for women (135) than they do for men (88); there are numerous body wash options in the ‘womens’ section that are priced nearly the same as the same size options for male body washes; notably almost all of the Suave, Dove and Olay products seem to be around the same price regardless of whether it’s a ‘male scent’ vs. a ‘female scent’ and most of the products from Dove and Suave are actually cheaper than the “Axe” and “Old Spice” options over in the ‘mens’ body wash department… Most Dove shower gels were priced at $0.40.9/oz however the “Men Care Extra Fresh” and “Men Care Elements” were both priced at $0.48.1/oz (higher than the other dove brands) – their “Men Care Aqua Impact” was only slightly lower than the rest of the Dove products at $0.39.5/oz – The Suave brands were all priced at exactly $0.16.6/oz for all scents regardless of any gender branding, most of the Nivea products were priced at $0.41.4/oz whether it was for men or women with a few specific exceptions (such as the Men Pure impact body wash at $0.354 per ounce and the “silk mousse” products at $0.88.1oz)

    This pattern holds at Walmart as well. – Suave and Dove in particular appear to be priced almost identical for male scents vs. female scents. Over at Walgreen there are 355 options for females in the “shower gel” category and only 122 options “for men”; there are certainly several expensive options for women but there are less expensive choices too and within the same brand I am not seeing this price gap you are talking about. (at least not on the websites of these 3 stores).

  10. The author gets it. This club’s gender-based pricing, i.e., charging men and women different prices for the exact same stuff – here, women less than men to attend the same concert, exploits women by treating them like sexual bait.
    But what about the men who were there not to pick up women and still have to pay more, or the lesbians who pay less but are not prospective matches for the men who were there hoping to find a match?

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