Each year, women pay an estimated $1350 more for the same products as men. The gendered marketing of personal hygiene products, clothing, and even vitamins is not only ludicrous (e.g. women requiring a different type of pen than men) but also impacting wallets at a shocking rate. The Pink Tax—the term coined to describe this phenomenon in economic inequality—begins practically at birth (with a gendered price discrepancy in toys) and follows women all the way into old age, (affecting even compression socks and canes).
Enter Mackenzie Munro and Amelia Baker, a video production duo who go by the name Blonde Mamba. Mackenzie was hit with her own Pink Tax aha moment during some routine drug store shopping, the two started to see the problem everywhere they looked. They started doing some research, and saw the connection between this price gouging and economic inequality, and particularly the impact of this Pink Tax on women in poverty. And they wanted to do something about it.
Leveraging their impressive experience within the television and film industry, including accolades such as screenings at the Cannes Film Festival, production of a Stephen King short story, and horror shorts on Eli Roth’s Crypt TV, Blonde Mamba set their sights on taking down the Pink Tax. TomboyX partnered with them on their first video vignette for the Pink Tax campaign, which is part of a consciousness-raising series that will investigate different manifestations of the Pink Tax, and also encourages others to make their own. The idea is to expose the pervasiveness of the Pink Tax, and begin to build a movement.
Mackenzie gave us the low-down on how underwear fits into the Pink Tax, why fighting against it is so important, and where they hope the campaign takes them.
Do you remember when you first became aware of the Pink Tax?
I was in the shaving aisle looking for the pink razor I usually go for. On my way there, a men’s vibrating razor caught my attention. And I picked it up to check it out a bit more, thinking to myself, I wish I had a beard to try this out on. Then when I went to grab the pink razor, I took a second look at the price and realized it was almost double the price of the vibrating razor. I couldn’t help to question: What? How? Who? So I thought, okay, I’ll buy the vibrating razor and try it out. To my surprise, I came out of the shower feeling like a smooth goddess that just awoke from some bad dream about the many pink razors that have constantly cut and irritated me, and even worse—the terrifying amount of money I’d wasted on all of them.
In what ways have you felt personally affected?
After doing some deeper research into the Pink Tax, I discovered it spans most industries in some shape or form. I feel tricked into thinking a product was made more for ‘me’ than others, due to only color. Funny enough, my absolute favorite color is blue.
Why is fighting this fight important to you?
I come from a breadwinning mother and grandmother who fought hard to succeed. I saw how my mother had to accept gender politics and being mistreated and underpaid while her male counterparts didn’t have to deal with the same limitations. My mother and father supported me to become everything I dream to be, without gender as a consideration, and they inspired me to fight for feminine equality. We’re stuck in an “earn less, pay more” era. It‘s our goal to flip it to “earn more, pay less.” It all comes down to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), that is currently only a proposed amendment. If we can get the ERA in the constitution, it would help eliminate the gender pay gap and be a massive step towards gender equality.
Tell me about Blonde Mamba - how did you two meet and how did the production company come to be?
This is our favorite story. We met at the Cannes 2017 Film Festival where we both had short films screening. We were introduced on a blind business date by our parents, who work together. After emailing back and forth with very proper email etiquette, we were each under the impression that the other was in their 40’s with a couple of kids. I remember seeing Amelia for the first time and thinking she had insanely good genes to look half her age. As it turned out, we were both 20. Within 24 hours of meeting, we got matching tattoos, sure that something great would come from this connection. Cut to summer 2018 and we’re sitting in our new Blonde Mamba Productions office.
Tell me about filming this vignette.
Our vignette was shot at the stunning Savage Ranch owned by the incredible Love Bailey, that’s honestly a slice of heaven, and where she shoots a lot of her content. Originally, we had a completely different idea for the vignette, but then a light bulb turned on when Love was describing the Savage Ranch—a community dedicated to giving visionaries, activists and artists a chance to experience a place free from any gender and sexual discrimination.
How did you choose to partner with TomboyX on this campaign?
I was at the Emmy’s with my mom, who was the only woman nominated for best director for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale. I joined her in the promo room, which was full of incredible perks, one of them being TomboyX where I met (TomboyX co-founder and CEO) Fran. I loved TomboyX so much, I didn’t want to take my new underwear off. Then I checked out more of what TomboyX stands for and fell in love with the message. Immediately, we wanted to collaborate and spread the word.
How does the underwear industry fit into the Pink Tax?
The current lingerie climate excludes a lot of women, such as transgender and plus-size women. Also, lingerie is marketed toward men, not women. The sexy lower lip pouting, hair flying in the wind advertising is clearly targeted for [straight] male acceptance of female sexuality. Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, Victoria's Secret's parent company, spoke to Vogue on inclusivity, or I should say, spoke against it. With the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show striving to be a "fantasy," apparently transgender and plus-size women don't fit into his vision. Razek's abhorrent statement goes hand in hand with the misrepresented, "perfect" body image pushed onto woman through countless lingerie ads. With the Pink Tax campaign, we not only fight for equally priced products, but we’re determined to break this dated, unrealistic, exclusionary stigma. Comfortable, quality underwear definitely sounds sexy to us.
What’s your endgame for this campaign? What do you hope to accomplish?
To bring awareness to women across the globe that they’re being duped and robbed every day because of their gender. We want to get the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the actual constitution to completely eliminate the gender pay gap, in hopes of accomplishing a massive ripple effect to full-on gender and racial equality in our world.
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To learn more about Blonde Mamba’s campaign against the Pink Tax and how to submit content of your own, you can follow them on Instagram and visit their website. Where have you seen the Pink Tax pop up in your own life? Let us know in the comments below.