As a male, I find that there is very little variety, very little to choose from in terms off all of the products listed. When there is choice, it might be a two to four different colors. Shaving? Two or three different razors, all basically the same. Socks. T-shirts, Slacks. Suit. Tie. Whatever male hairstyle is going this decade, everybody is wearing it, and whatever products support that (gel, mouse, shaver, etc.) are all that's on offer. Very little is offered the male these days in terms of choice of garments or self-maintenance products. Also, since I am very tall, they pretty much never have my size anyway (unless they expect me to weigh 2-3 times as much as I do or something -- I guess my body image is being dictated by somebody else). Shoes? Sneakers or dress shoes. Lace-up or loafers, black or brown, that's about it.
as a Swiss friend pointed out when his girlfriend asked him why
LEFT-handed Swiss Army knives should be several times more expensive
than RIGHT-handed Swiss Army knives. He pointed out that lefties are
only 10% of the population, so the market is TEN TIMES SMALLER. They
only cost 3-4 times more, though.
Maybe this has something to do
with it. I don't know, but it's possible. Men are pretty much stuck,
thanks to rampant homophobia, with what we've got, i.e., no variety,
even some colors off the menu. If a guy is stuck with slacks, and maybe a
jacket, oxford shirt or maybe a polo (and can get away with one or two
of each, certainly one or two COLORS of each), but a woman can go with
any of a number of styles of dresses, skirts, shorts (more situations
where a woman can get away with these), pant suits, leggings, hose,
coats, hats (men don't wear these much anymore), shoes, boots (on a man?
avast ye matey?), etc. in a rainbow of colors, has to have stuff that
matches everything else, the stores have to carry lime scarves for the
women who buy the lime skirts and belts, blah, blah, blah.
as I said, I don't know if this is THE reason why women pay more for
this stuff than men. But, as a man, I can tell you that having nothing
to choose from is kind of oppressive, but it also saves time, and
apparently it saves money, too, which I didn't think of until now.
Basically, every time you add a new item, a new color, or a new size or
whatever, you slice the market size in two and decrease the economy of
scale and make things more and more expensive. The fact that guys have
no market choice and generally look like a bunch of drab schlubs is the
trade-off (maybe). I have always been frustrated with the "free market
to meet my needs" and when I lived in Tokyo I only wore custom-tailored
suits (expensive? duh...) because of course nothing else was available.
how much more choice women seem to have with all this stuff, the
effective "demand population" for each individual line of clothing or
personal care product is drastically reduced from what it would be if
all women bought the same thing (like men do), and so it's to be
expected that the price should be dramatically higher. But, like with
the Swiss Army knife, even with only one TENTH of a "demand population"
the price only goes up 3-4 times.
So I guess I'm a little
surprised that the price hike should only be 4%-13%. They CAN chisel
you even more if there are two or more brands that are really the same
since they can rip you off on the cheaper one a LITTLE less and make you
think you're getting a bargain and play that game all day. One thing I
would suspect is that they save on the QUALITY of products for women,
that is, make up for the decreased economy of scale by cutting the
quality, which also makes women have to repurchase the same things over
and over which is another hidden cost.
Anybody have any thoughts
about this "quality theory"? A reasonably good man's suit will last for
years, and you typically get it with two pairs of pants since those take
the most wear. Same for a quality pair of shoes, which in Tokyo you
would re-sole over and over again. Plus you can wear them any season. I
don't know if any woman's garment can say that. Point is, a man can buy
$2,000-$3,000 worth of clothes (Typical for Tokyo, maybe much lower
elsewhere) and they will last for years and be good for all business and
social occasions. That's all that's expected from him. People will give
him ties and socks (that's all that's expected of gift-givers). And
really, a man CAN'T get clothes beyond that wardrobe and really have any
place to wear them. Anything beyond a bar of soap and a razor and
nobody's going to notice or he's impinging on the Homophobia Zone.
men aren't for the most part socially required to accessorize, per se
(thanks again homophobia!) which adds up to more savings.
this ring true for anybody? I am a "tall dude" and it has long been my
perception that I have very, very little choice in terms of personal
care products or, of course, clothing. My reaction is usually somewhere
along the line of "Thank God!" and "Really...?!" when I actually find
anything. In personal care, there's usually exactly one thing, and
that's if I need something absolutely mundane.
I don't know what it's
like for women. Do you find you have lots of things to chose from? If
you have more than one or two or three choices for anything, then you're
probably way ahead of me and my above analysis may have some traction.