Out-of-Class Activity 3: Women’s Tax

This activity will have you examine products (particularly hygiene products) you use on a regular basis. You will find the prices of your products and then compare them to the prices of the “opposite genders’” products.

You must upload your assignment to Canvas on the day that it is due.

If you would like feedback on your assignment, in addition to uploading your assignment on Canvas, you must submit a hard copy of it at the beginning of class on the day that it is due. (Inversely, if you do not wish to receive feedback, and you only want to receive your grade, you should only upload your assignment to Canvas.)

Instructions for Completing this Activity:

*Under Files, Assignments, Out-of-Class Activities, OCA 3 you will find a written example of how to complete the first part of this assignment if you find these instructions confusing at all. Please read these instructions in full, then read the example. If you have any questions after reading both, please email me.*

  1. Find ten products you use on a regular basis.
    1. Examples: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash/soap, face wash, razor, shaving cream, lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, perfume/cologne, hair product, etc.
  2. Go to where you normally buy your products (website, actual store).
    1. Note: Even if you buy your products from Amazon or similar sites, don’t use these types of websites for this assignment – unless it’s the only place you can find the product. I say this because, as you probably know, “common market value” isn’t always represented on these websites.
      1. Example: I can buy my hair cream product on Amazon, but since it’s made by Redken, I’d go to their website for pricing, or find the pricing of it at a salon.The Redken website does not sell their products so I found the pricing of the product at my salon.
        1. It is not uncommon, apparently, that some manufactures’ websites do not sell their products – they only suggest, or send you to, a retailer. Use your best judgment.
      2. Case in Point: My product costs $18.00 dollars at my salon and anywhere from $18.95 to $22.98 on Amazon.
      3. You might be thinking – “’non-online’ stores can vary in pricing too, though…” – and you’re right. But, while some stores can vary in their pricing, most large “chain” type retail stores (where we often buy products we use on a regularly basis) are really similar in their product pricing (to stay competitive, as you know).
    2. Find your products and record the price of each.
    3. Then find the “opposite gender’s” product (the same product or as close to the same idea of the product as you can find) of the same brand/manufacturer you use.
    4. Record the price of that product.
    5. Compare and contrast the prices of your ten products and the “opposite gender’s” products. Record your findings (this means that you should provide me evidence, in some fashion, of your findings – e.g. a chart, a table, a short list, etc.).
    6. Write a 500-word response paper:
      1. What did you think about this activity?
      2. Were you surprised by what you found? If so, why? If you were not surprised, why?
      3. What do your findings reveal about the material consequences of gender?
      4. What does this reveal about our cultural understandings of gender? Of beauty standards?
      5. Comment briefly on the presentation/packaging of a couple of your products and how they differ for “each gender” in what they say, how they say it, etc.
        1. How does this “marketing of the product” contribute to our understandings of gender and the body/biology?
      6. Feel free to watch the Buzzfeed video that prompted the idea for this activity (and where many activities like this were derived) once you have completed your activity:
      7. https://www.buzzfeed.com/abagg/fuck-the-womens-tax?utm_term=.bmrJQ8aLY#.niJEe9lD5 (Links to an external site.)

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