So I think most women know that we’re expected to shell out quite a bit more money on grooming products than our male counterparts are. Although the ‘metrosexual’ trend is ensuring that more men than ever are spending money on face creams, hair products and fake tans, we women are still carrying the brunt of the burden. I mean, I spent ?8 on a tube of mascara this week, and it was only Rimmel, which is a relatively low end brand!
I don’t resent the fact that men don’t wear make-up: I’m really not one for the overly groomed pretty boy, and besides, I like make-up. I enjoy experimenting with different colours and styles and I don’t mind spending my hard earned cash on something that’s going to ultimately make me feel good about myself. However, I do find it interesting to see just how big a difference there in how much women are expected to spend on looking good compared to men. Added to this is the ‘Pink Tax,’ which refers to the fact that products that both sexes need such as razors and antiperspirant, are often more expensive when marketed towards women than when they are targeted at men.
For example, at Boots, a pack of 10 Wilkinson Sword razors aimed at the female market cost ?4.39 – ?1.30 more than Wilkinson’s male equivalent, while a 50ml bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier Eau de Toilette for women costs ?49 at Tesco, with a 75ml bottle of the male scent retailing at just ?38. Per 100ml, this works out at almost half the price.
Other situations where women are screwed when it comes to spending include visiting a garage, where the average repair job for a woman costs ?200 (?20 more than the ?180 male average), and also in hairdressing salons, where women are consistently forking out more to get their tresses looking a treat.
Now, while the former seems like more overt sexism with the latter being the kind of things that can be explained away (women tend to have longer hair etc.), it isn’t quite as simple. Even when women with pixie cuts visit salons, the prices remain fixed based on gender rather than how long it actually takes the stylist to finish the cut. Lucy Cogan, celebrity hair stylist of the Chapel, North London, says that times are changing as men become more image conscious. ‘These days, it can take as much time to do gents’ as women’s hair because modern men want more intricate and stylish haircuts,’ she explains. ‘It’s no longer just a short back and sides so an hourly rate is much fairer.’
And that’s only concerning the things that both sexes have to fork out for! Something that women have to buy purely based on biology are sanitary products. With the average women having periods for at least 30 years of her lifetime, and the average cycle lasting 28 days with a 5 day bleed, this amounts to an average of ?1,155 that women spend on average in their lifetimes, just on sanitary towels! Underwear is another thing that costs us ladies a pretty penny! While men’s boxers on average cost more than women’s cotton briefs, women also have to buy bras, which cost between ?16-?30 from the high street (with the average woman owning 9 at any one time), and tights, which not only are more expensive than socks, but also need to be replaced more frequently due to the fact that they tend to ladder and tear easily.
Researchers also quizzed a group of women between the ages of 18-40 on beauty products and treatments and they use and how much they pay for them. They found that on average, women spend ?1,102 per year on manicures, hair colouring, facials and waxing, noting that they did not include treatments perceived as ‘luxuries’ such as false nails before a party of spray tans before a holiday – only the treatments that women felt that they needed in order to look presentable.
Unbelievably, women will spend a whopping ?47,386 on looking good before they hit 40 -better start saving then!
So, what’s the point of me telling you all this? Well, for certain self-employed women whose jobs require them to look good (models, strippers, webcam girls etc.), they are able to write off certain expenditures on their tax returns, the reason being is that the government understands that certain women do need, as part of their jobs, to invest in expensive beauty products and treatments. However, being that all women are expected to spend big money on looking good (I know of people that work in retail who have been sent home because their manicure is chipped), I think it pretty reasonable that this should be accounted for when, for example, we’re paying tax on things that we need in order to get by (think: sanitary towels).
So David, Nick, Ed, Nigel and all the other men who get to decide important things about my money and how much tax I pay, I invite you to spend like a woman for a week. Invest in all the fancy make-up products, face creams, bikini waxes and manicures that your wives do, just for a week, and get back to me when you have a little more knowledge about the true price of being a woman. Then, when you’ve accepted that yes, actually, it’s damn expensive to look good, maybe you can do some sums and make life a little bit easier on the women of your country.
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