18 Kids' toys that prove girls start paying the 'pink tax' early

by Theresa Edwards
Jan 8, 2016 at 9:49 a.m. ET

It's expensive to be a woman in America, especially after puberty, where if you want to save money you'll have to end up just buying generic razors and the cheapest tampons you can stand. If you have a daughter, it's easy to look at them and feel a little pang of empathy for what they'll be experiencing, but at least you can comfort yourself with the idea that, hey, they won't have to deal with it for a while.

Except you can't.

By now you've surely heard about the Pink Tax: A depressing surcharge that women pay by purchasing "female-focused" items like razors and pens. We wanted to know if the same financial phenomenon applied to kids' toys and surprise! It totally does.

In fact, in a lot of cases, the pink tax starts to apply to kids well before puberty. We found a whole slew of toys that despite being essentially identical — in most cases, the only thing that was different was the color — were more expensive if they were being marketed for girls. Take a look. 

1 /18: Boys' knight tent

1/18 :Boys' knight tent

Boys' knight tent $26

This tent looks like a lot of fun. It’s got a roll-down door, a few windows and crenellation details that really round out the castle feel. Who wouldn’t pay $26 for that? Girls, that’s who.

2 /18: Girls' princess tent

2/18 :Girls' princess tent

Girls' princess tent $32

Instead, girls get to pay nearly $10 more for what’s essentially the same tent, only it's for “princesses” instead of knights.

3 /18: Blue gloworm

3/18 :Blue gloworm

Blue gloworm $15

Hey, we had these toys when we were little! The gloworm lights up and everything! And really, $15 isn’t much to spend on a little nostalgia, right?

4 /18: Pink gloworm

4/18 :Pink gloworm

Pink gloworm $27

Unless when you were little yours was pink. Then you’ll be coughing up a full $12 more. That’s basically two blue gloworms for the same price as one pink one. Makes sense to you? Yeah, us either.

5 /18: Mr. Potato Head

5/18 :Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head $8

Here’s a classic toy that sounds perplexing when you spell it out: A potato with accessories in its butt! More perplexing? You’ll pay almost double for his wife.

6 /18: Ms. Potato Head

6/18 :Ms. Potato Head

Mrs. Potato Head $13

We’re failing to see what it is about this lady spud that justifies an extra five dollars. Maybe it’s that plastic purse that probably cost about $.03 to make?

7 /18: Blue cash register

7/18 :Blue cash register

Blue register  $74

Kids dig this kind of imaginative play: enacting the same everyday actions and transactions they witness while out and about. Regardless of how you feel about paying $74 for a plastic register, you’d feel worse if you needed a pink one.

8 /18: Pink cash register

8/18 :Pink cash register

Pink register $75

An extra dollar isn’t much, but it does go to show that any excuse to hike up the price on something is apparently a good one, even if the only one you can come up with is, “It’s pink!”

9 /18: Blue Whisper Ride Buggy

9/18 :Blue Whisper Ride Buggy

Blue Buggy $57

Kids dig these ride-on toys, and they’re a great way to get around the neighborhood when they start to outgrow that stroller. That $57 pricetag might be a bit steep, but again, it could always be steeper. In fact, it is steeper ... for girls!

10 /18: Pink Whisper Ride Buggy

10/18 :Pink Whisper Ride Buggy

Pink Buggy $58

It's a full dollar more in pink. But why? It really seems like it just costs more because it can cost more.

11 /18: Blue scooter

11/18 :Blue scooter

Blue scooter $38

A starter scooter is pretty exciting for kids. It’s like a bridge step between trike and bike. This one is "for boys," so it’s cheaper.

12 /18: Pink scooter

12/18 :Pink scooter

Pink scooter $40

Girls get to pay two bucks more for the exact same item, assuming those girls like pink. 

13 /18: Blue shark backpack

13/18 :Blue shark backpack

Shark backpack $42

You might think $42 is way too much to pay for a backpack/lunch box combo but hey, what the heck? Sometimes you want to splurge a little for your kid.

14 /18: Horse backpack

14/18 :Horse backpack

Horse backpack $43

And sometimes you want to splurge a little more. Or maybe you don’t want to, but who cares what you want, Mom? This one costs a whole extra dollar. Ask yourself if that zipper pull is worth 100 pennies, and if it’s not, just log off and walk away.


15 /18: Mega Bloks boys

15/18 :Mega Bloks boys

Mega Bloks boys $13 

Mega Bloks are a childhood staple, and pretty much every toddler has used them to build massive, sturdy towers. But if you’d rather they came in purples and pinks instead of primary colors, that’s going to cost you.

16 /18: Mega Bloks girls

16/18 :Mega Bloks girls

Mega Bloks girls $20 

Hmm. Same block count plus identical carrying case plus different colors equals seven extra bucks for you to spend. Something isn’t adding up.

17 /18: Fisher-Price Soothe and Glow Giraffe, Neutral

17/18 :Fisher-Price Soothe and Glow Giraffe, Neutral

Neutral giraffe $10

The “neutral” giraffe is yellow, adorable and affordable. At least the little boy in the picture seems to love it.

18 /18: Fisher-Price Soothe and Glow Giraffe, Pink

18/18 :Fisher-Price Soothe and Glow Giraffe, Pink

Pink giraffe starts at $15

The little girl in the picture with the pink giraffe loves hers, too, but probably because she doesn’t know it was more expensive.