Published: April 15, 2024

Author: Reilly Kaczmarek
Advisor: Prof. Kira Hall, TA Velda Khoo
Course: Ling 2400: Language, Gender, and Sexuality 
Semester: Fall 2023
LURA 2024


Heard of the Pink Tax? It’s not alone anymore.

In today's dynamic consumer landscape, the interplay between marketing strategies, societal norms, and gender stereotypes profoundly influences our purchasing decisions. My research project for the course “Language, Gender, and Sexuality” delves into this intricate relationship, focusing on the hygiene industry and the linguistic choices employed by brands to target specific gender demographics to increase product prices and expand revenue. You’ve likely heard of the “Pink Tax,” which is the oldest and most predominant example of this, but it’s no longer alone.

At the forefront of my investigation is Manscaped, a trailblazing company that has disrupted the male grooming market with its innovative products and captivating marketing tactics. Founded in 2016, Manscaped quickly gained traction by tapping into societal expectations of masculinity and challenging traditional norms surrounding male grooming. Through strategic linguistic choices and metaphorical imagery, Manscaped weaves a narrative of masculinity, framing grooming as a quintessential aspect of modern manhood.


Reilly Kaczmarek figure 2

Figure 2: Stock photo of The Lawn Mower 3.0. This is Manscaped’s premium razor from 2022. (


One of Manscaped's most notable marketing strategies is the appropriation of gardening terminology to describe its grooming products. For instance, the flagship product, the "Lawn Mower," is not just a trimmer but a symbol of taming one's unruly "lawn" of body hair. By aligning grooming with traditionally masculine activities, Manscaped reinforces hegemonic masculinity and positions its products as essential tools for men to assert their masculine identity.

Central to my analysis is the concept of the "Pink Tax" – the phenomenon where products marketed towards women are priced higher than their male counterparts. Drawing parallels between Manscaped's pricing strategies and the Pink Tax, I highlight how gendered marketing perpetuates economic disparities and reinforces gender norms. Manscaped's premium pricing is justified through its association with an idealized form of masculinity, creating a cycle where consumers feel compelled to invest in grooming products to conform to societal expectations.

But Manscaped's success doesn't exist in a vacuum. My research also examines the broader landscape of gendered marketing in the hygiene industry, comparing Manscaped's approach to other brands like Dove and Dr. Squatch. While Dove's marketing emphasizes femininity and societal beauty standards, Dr. Squatch targets a similar audience to Manscaped, appealing to stereotypes of rugged masculinity through its advertising. Both Dove and Dr. Squatch charge premium prices for their products, with an increased price premium over generic brands upwards of 400%.


Reilly Kaczmarek figure 3 - Dr. Squatch’s product line

Figure 3: Dr. Squatch’s product line, including shower soap, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. Source:


Through linguistic and semiotic analysis of advertisements from Manscaped, Dove, and Dr. Squatch, my research uncovers the subtle ways in which language shapes consumer perceptions and reinforces gender stereotypes. By unpacking the discursive strategies employed by these brands, I aim to shed light on the complexities of gendered marketing and its implications for consumer behavior.

My research underscores the importance of fostering a more inclusive and equitable approach to personal hygiene. By challenging traditional gender norms and advocating for fair pricing practices, we can work towards a future where individuals are empowered to express their gender identity authentically, free from the constraints of societal expectations and the premium pricing of hygiene brands.

Title Image Credit

  1. Photo of Pete Davidson in an ad for Manscape


  1. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 1989.
  2. Cameron, Deborah. "Performing Gender Identity: Young Men’s Talk and the Construction". Taylor & Francis, Taylor & Francis, 6 Dec. 2012,
  3. Dove US, director. NEW Dove Love Your Hair Collection. YouTube, YouTube, 13 Feb. 2023, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.
  4. Dr. Squatch, director. Dr. Squatch Super Bowl LV Commercial 2021 - You’re Not A Dish. YouTube, YouTube, 3 Feb. 2021, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.
  5. Eckert, Penelope, and Sally McConnell-Ginet. Language and Gender. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  6. Guittar, Stephanie Gonzalez, et al. “Beyond the Pink Tax: Gender-Based Pricing and Differentiation of Personal Care Products - Gender Issues.” SpringerLink, Springer US, 11 May 2021,
  7. Light, Larry. “There’s a Pink Tax on Women.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 14 Apr. 2022,
  8. Manscaped YouTube Channel. YouTube, YouTube, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.
  9. MANSCAPED, director. Pool Table MANSCAPEDTM Lawn Mower® 4.0 Snooker Commercial. YouTube, YouTube, 14 May 2021, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.
  10. Stock photo of The Lawn Mower 3.0
  11. Dr. Squatch’s product line, including shower soap, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner.