Being overweight in America can cost thousands of dollars a year. We all know about the 20-percent tax the government put on unhealthy food to motivate consumers on choosing healthy alternatives, but only a few realize that there’s a surcharge applied to everything, from clothing to transportation, targeted to the plus-sized community.
This is known as the “fat tax,” and it means that the exact same dress that costs $22.50 to a size 6 can cost $26.50 if you are plus size. “You go to a site that carries plus [size 14 and above] and straight sizes [0 to 12] and it’s the exact same top, but it’s, like, three-to-five dollars more in plus,” said style blogger of The Curvy Fashionista Marie Denee to Business Insider.
Fashion blogger Alysse Dalessandro told the online media company that retailers are “charging more for those garments under the guise that, ‘Okay, well, you’re bigger so it takes more material,'” adding that this practice is an injustice. “If you priced based off an extra small, it’s almost like you’re prioritizing those customers, and to me, that’s just not fair,” she continued. “I feel like there is a fat tax on everything. We’re charged more just to be in space … It’s more societal than an actual dollar.”
Amanda Bowes, a British fashion designer confirmed to The New York Times that making plus-size garments can be pricey but she does not think is right to charge based on the size. “Obviously it costs more to make plus-size clothing because of the amount of fabric used, but if the pricing metric is going to be based on size, then every size should be priced differently,” she said. “If smaller-sized people aren’t getting discounts, then plus-sized people shouldn’t have to pay a surplus,” she added. “We rarely see ‘tall’ and ‘maternity’ editions of clothing being priced differently. It’s cruel and unfair to single out one body type.”
As reported by Plunkett Research, 68 percent of American women wear a size 14 or above, and while this demonstrates that the plus-size community is not a minority, retailers still struggle to effectively target these consumers, despite that in 2014 the United States sales of women’s plus-size apparel reached $17.5 billion, according to the market research firm NPD.
One of those retailers is Old Navy, whose pricing practices came under fire when shoppers realized that their Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans cost $27 in a size 6 but cost $40 in a size 26, while the men’s Slim-Fit Jean costs $25 in any size. Immediately, an online petition against the company drew over 95,092 supporters, but despite the outrage, the American clothing and accessories retailing company turned down the request of lowering its prices.
Similarly to the “fat tax” exists the “pink tax,” a duty just for females. Here, a woman is charged extra just for being a woman. As silly as it sounds, women pay more for razors, deodorants, shampoos, body wash, and even non-gendered products, such as mortgages. “It’s absolute common sense to average all the pricing because no one person should pay more than the other. It blows my mind that anyone would think otherwise,” said Lauren Chan to Glamour Magazine, highlighting the importance of inclusivity in each field. “It’s not just a pricing problem. It’s an example of how these things happen, and how they get through each benchmark because there’s nobody in the room with an ability to influence decisions that have been there.”