The Latest Crap in Gender Studies - Introducing Gender Pricing

Wed, Dec 20, 2017

Apparently there is another new buzzword (at least for me) you can write down for later use in your bullshit bingo sessions. Gender Pricing is the name of the game and I have just been alerted to this by reading about a recent gender study (German) by the Antidiskriminierungsstelle (federal anti-discrimination agency) that attempts to find cases of women being charged more for the same product or service than men.

Their posterchild is the visit at the hairdresser where women are usually charged more than men. Now this is probably already obvious to you if you have ever been to the hairdresser with your wife or girlfriend: A womans haircut can hardly be compared to a mens haircut unless the woman gets a quick neckshave with an electric razor and a little bit of scissor action on the top. Notice I am not even mentioning coloration, streaks, bleaching or whatever here (which takes the whole case even more ad absurdum) just the cut in general. This is also the main reasoning given by the hairdressers that were interviewed in the framework of this study as written in the aforementioned report on page 122:

Even though the argument of the businesses, that women haircuts require a significantly larger amount of work, can be confirmed by observations and questioning of female customers, there are only limited choices for women. For example a woman, who only wants a simple “mens haircut” will usually not dare to ask for or receive it.

So even though all evidence points to a significantly higher workload for womens haircuts than for mens, and this is confirmed in this study, the very few women that only want a quick electric razor shave do not get one and one of the reasons is that they do not ask for it. And this is supposed to be the fault of who exactly? In addition, even though I am sure they exist, I do not know a single woman who would be satisfied with one of these super simple mens haircuts. So now the hairdressers are sexist because they do not immediately cater to the insignificant number of razor-cut loving females that are too scared to ask for one themselves? But wait, there is more:

Questioned about the reasons for the increased workload when catering to womens hairdressing needs and regarding the amount of time scheduled for these appointments the businesses replied that the service for women is more time intensive. Reasons for this are many, for example the complexity of the haircut, the need for more consulting and discussion, the lower frequency of visits and therefore more work to be done at each visit, and that haircuts regarded as “short” by women are still significantly longer than those regarded as short by men. If the time spent on customers of different sexes is taken into account, the difference in price is negligible. Usually 30 minutes are reserved for men and 45 minutes for women. Even with all these reasons one still has to question the reasoning behind these differences in time and especially because of the difference in service the pricing could be done without taking the sex into account.

So after being given loads of valid reasons, which were confirmed by the female customers before, explaining in detail why a womans haircut is more time consuming, which then completely kills the difference in price, one should still argue against women being alotted more time than men. So apparently the hairdresser should just work faster when serving women? At least that would be the only way I can think of that would solve this weird request. And they finish by stating that especially because of all the different (and expensive) things you can pay for at your hairdresser the pricing should be the same for men and for women.

What kind of an idiotic request is this? I am pretty sure that if a man with a meter of hair books an appointment at a hairdresser in order to get streaks, some bleach, and a delicate haircut culminating in a complicated updo after that will not get this service for the same 20 EUR that some other guy paid for just getting a 10 minute razor haircut.

This study is actually contradicting itself on pretty much every page unless it finds that “there isn’t any observable difference after all”. And if the hairdressers story wasn’t embarrassing enough, on page 102 you can find pictures and prices of comparable sets of razor blades for mens and womens razors with a headline that reads

Example for non-equally priced personal hygiene products: razor products. Prices for the Aldi-razors (left) 4.49 EUR “for women”, 3.89 EUR “for men”.

The only problem is, the prices shown on the product pictures at the bottom of the page are 1.43 EUR for women, 1.59 EUR for men. I don’t know if you have to be a mathematician or physicist to recognize which sex pays less here for razor blades. Granted, this is the “discounted price” but even if you look at the non-discounted price it would be 4.79 EUR (women) and 4.99 EUR (men) which still favours the product marketed to women over the one marketed to men. In addition these are completely different numbers than the claimed 4.49 EUR and 3.89 EUR in the text. Who the hell proofread this pamphlet? (Here’s a screenshot in case they move the PDF or change it)

Of course the German media is all over this and I wish journalists would at least try to read and check a study before they take it for granted. The persistence with which the authors try to make a case against all facts, and the bluntness they employ while doing so up to openly admitting they have no case but wanting to complain anyway, is almost frightening.