There comes a moment in every woman’s life when she realises that she is being conned. Mine was at the age of 22 at around 4am. While a gentleman caller sat in my bedroom selecting a record to put on, I locked myself in the bathroom for some last-minute maintenance. It was here that I realised the startling fact that not only was my flatmate’s razor not pink, but it was sharper and better than the blunt, scented rubbish that I had been buying for the same purpose. It also had the bonus of having not been advertised insisting that women always need to be “beach ready … down there”, with an image of a silken scrap of material gliding over an attractive model’s shins. Imagine the same method being used to advertise a man’s bollock razor. It just wouldn’t happen.
Which is why I am glad that French feminists are drawing attention to the “woman tax” on products with a campaign that highlights the price gap when it comes to gendered products. French feminists are some of the most tolerant in the western world, living as they do in a country that is still scarily obsessed with cellulite many years after their British sisters gave up the ghost and started worrying about other, more esoteric, media-mandated things, such as backfat, cankles and the thigh gap. The difference in pricing for, say, female deodorant compared with the male equivalent has always niggled me, and now French feminists are petitioning supermarkets and businesses over their unfair pricing of everything from pens (who remembers the wonderful “Bic for her” that was pink and specially designed for pathetic, floppy lady-hands?) to backpacks and razors.