As it turns out, the "pink tax" is a very real, very problematic trend in consumer marketing. It describes the disproportionate cost of female essential products like clothing, toiletries, hygiene products, underwear, shoes, and basically whatever else you can think of in comparison to men's products. With a few rare exceptions, of course.
As one young girl recently discovered, the "pink tax" starts much earlier than most people might be aware.
A 7-Year-Old Girl Discovered A Strange Problem In Her Video Game
A 7-year-old girl named Oakley is gaining people's attention for the letter she wrote to Nintendo about the clothing options available in the popular game Animal Crossing.
Oakley's mom runs a mindful parenting blog where she shared the story about Oakley's discovery while playing the game one day.
The Nintendo Game Animal Crossing Is Rated Ages 3+
The post was written by Oakley's mom, Ashley Bobst, and shared on her Facebook parenting page Raising Brain.
The post begins by saying: "Today I was playing Animal Crossing, a wholesome sandbox game on Nintendo Switch, with my 7-year-old (extremely socially conscious) daughter."
The Only Available Dress For One Character Is More Expensive Than The Rest Of The Clothing
According to the post, Oakley was trying to "purchase a new outfit from what is called 'The Nook Shop' in the game."
When she navigated to the store screen she "picked up on the gender price differential of goods in the shop." She had unknowingly stumbled on what Ashley describes as "a real-world problem" known widely as the "pink tax."
The Young Girl Asked Her Mom Why The Mario Outfits Were Cheaper
Oakley was confused about why her brother didn't have to pay as much for the Mario character's outfits and shoes.
She asked her mother what the reason behind the price difference was and Ashley admitted "I really didn’t have an explanation for this."
Oakley Decided To Write A Letter To Nintendo
Since the Princess Peach gown is "the only Mario Bros.-themed dress option in the shop," Oakley felt that it was unfair she (and many other young girls) must pay extra for the dress.
She decided to take matters into her own hands and began drafting a letter to the game manufacturer, Nintendo.
The Girl Paused Her Game And Began Writing Her Letter
Ashley's post continues: "She paused the game, grabbed her pen and paper, and asked me to help her spell."
The mom says, "By the second word, I knew what was happening," and she immediately felt an overwhelming sense of pride. She shared a snap of her daughter's letter.
The Note Is Bringing Awareness To A Bigger Issue
The Facebook post concludes: "Encourage your children to speak up for what they see as a problem. Help them spell, help them find the right contacts. They will do great things for this world."
"One small note written by one small person, making such big awareness alone is invaluable."
Many Are Unaware That The Pink Tax Exists
The greatest threat to the pink tax is for people to know that it exists, and then spend their money accordingly. One of the reasons the pink tax is able to thrive so freely is because the majority of people are unaware of it.
Companies are able to charge more for certain products simply because they can get away with it.
Deciding Where And How We Spend Our Money Can Be Impactful
Deciding where we spend our money can make a difference to companies (big and small). Additionally, it can also be beneficial to call out companies the same way that Oakley did.
Even if Nintendo does not appear to be pushing any kind of agenda here, her note brought mass attention to the idea of the pink tax.
Nintendo Has Not Yet Commented On Oakley's Letter
Nintendo has yet to comment on Oakley's request, but some independent journalist sources have put in the work to find out just how sexist the outfit pricing really is.
In some instances, the women's clothes do cost more, but it's worth noting that all of the clothing can be worn by any gender in Animal Crossing.
Some Of The Clothing Designed For Male Characters Was More Expensive
Additionally, in some instances, the clothing directed at male characters was actually more expensive.
McCourrier determined, "The price of the outfits sold at [the Shop] is actually directly related to the 'quality of a product' (determined by the length of the fabric used, its thickness, and the elements added) and therefore there is no correlation between price increases and the Sale offered female models." Talk about hyper-realism.
Oakley Is A Foward-Thinker And Curious Mind
Most people can agree that Oakley is a brilliant example of the future generation of thinkers and activists who will grow up and change our society for the better.
However, until Nintendo actually responds, we cannot agree on the extent to which gender plays a role in the pricing of clothing in Animal Crossing. Props to little Oakley for questioning the world around her instead of just following the crowd. We love to see it!