How Gender Gets Stopped at the Border

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About Kyle Bachan

Kyle Bachan is a feminist reporter from Toronto, Canada. He currently writes on Ms. magazine and Gender Across Borders.


  1. Who says these tariffs are based on gender? Who says which shoes women are supposed to wear and which ones men are supposed to wear? I though feminism was against assigning gender roles? Shouldn’t men be able to wear strappy high heeled sandals just as much as women? This issue is based on a sexist assumption, first of all.

    Is it discrimination that fewer styles of shoes are made for men than women and fewer hair and cosmetic products are made for men than women? Is it discrimination that women’s summer sandals often cost far more than men’s shoes but have far less material? Women pay far more for far less shoe. That’s a fact.

    Is it discrimination that there are far more women’s hair and cosmetic products than men’s, and that women’s cost more? How is this fair to men? Or are sellers simply selling products for what the consumer is willing to pay for them and making and pricing products based on consumer purchasing patterns?

    If men, instead of women, were the ones who bought more shoes and were willing to pay more per square inch of fabric, would sellers still charge more for women’s shoes? Would the tariff’s be higher on the lower selling women’s shoes still?

    If this tariff issue is discrimination and should be overturned, our entire economic system where women and men are charged differently and where women are offered more choices than men is also discriminatory and needs to be addressed.

    • Eric M., you are correct that women in many cases women have to pay more items–but I already stated this in the second paragraph (the gender product price gap). As I said, laws already exist in many states to prevent such discrimination (even if they do NOT always prevent said discrimination). The difference here is that the government themselves are the ones responsible for this discrimination (rather than individual stores or services), which is why it is more difficult to create laws to prevent it and why it certainly deserves to be addressed.

  2. Ha ha ha – a lawyer is hired by a shoe manufacturer to fight gender inequality in tariff pricing of said shoes. That’s rich.

    • He wasn’t hired by a shoe manufacturer–in fact he wasn’t hired by anybody to fight this. He’s fighting it because it’s an issue he’s passionate about.

      • Hi Kyle – the NY Times article link

        Me thinks he is a lawyer billing by the hour for companies (men and women apparel) that want a tariff reduction. Of course, as the NYT article states, instead of tariffs going down, they could go up to match….

        How does one develop a passion for something that does not seem to have any “rhyme or reason”?

        Given the one specific that women swimwear tariff is 11.8% relative to that of the male that sits at 27.8% – do you think he is passionately working to raise the 11.8 percent to 27.8% ?

        • Actually, you can develop a passion for something that does not seem to have any “rhyme or reason” for that point alone–as soon as you are able to ask yourself the question, this doesn’t make sense, why would the government charge more for the same thing depending on which gender description is attached to it, then you would seek to find an answer to that question. With that said, just because something doesn’t seem to have a pattern on the surface (as stated in the New York Times article—saying no “rhyme or reason” is a bit of an overgeneralization), doesn’t mean that with actual research and number crunching, you won’t find the pattern (which is much of what this case is about: finding the pattern, exposing it and changing it).

          To answer your second point, yes, he is trying to make the tariff’s equal. And I’ll answer your question with a question… if women are making 73 cents of the dollar to what men make are you going to lower men’s wage to 73 cents, or are you going to pay women the full dollar?

          • Free Human Being says:

            I would make sure that women were not earning less because they worked less hours, or took more breaks, or chose lower paying professions, or negotiate pay less competently, or do not apply for higher positions as often, or if they actually decline promotions with higher pay and longer hours, or if in physical labor they are less productive?

            Then I’d judge whether to pay men less or give them more time off

        • Franchester says:

          Kyle is correct and your example makes it seem like you are comprehending his statement incorrectly. Some people have peculiar passions or hobbies that are unexplained and developed, sometimes, for no clear reason. Mr. Cone’s passion is one that is easily explained. Mr. Cone knows the morally right thing to do is to fight back against the discriminatory actions of the government and is doing so for the benefit of others.

  3. Having passion for the “head” side of a coin flip seems very odd.

    Check your facts on the .73, also consider what may happen to your .73 when tariffs are lowered on retail manufacturing. Your passionate lawyer should be fighting for the raising of tariffs to the highest level.

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