Saturday, 15 December 2012

Men don't wear bras

The Guardian has done an anecdotal, tongue-in-cheek survey, to see if it's more expensive going through life as a man or a woman.

The (completely unscientific) piece, 'Is it cheaper to be a woman - or a man?', looks at spending on clothes, underwear, shaving and cosmetics, food and drink, and haircuts. It concludes that being a woman costs roughly 6% more than being a man.

The article cites recent ONS data suggesting that on average women spend £588 a year on their wardrobes, while men spend £322. It seems that this is, as you might expect, a mixture of women's clothes costing more and women buying more things, partly because we need to (men don't wear bras) and partly because we want to.

It's interesting, but not really surprising, that some retailers charge different prices for near identical items, depending on whether you are in the men's or the women's sections. Despite more material being required for the men's version, you guessed it, the women's is more expensive.

I don't think we can really blame the retailers being sexist for this - it's basic economics. The same economics that means you will pay £5 for a white T-shirt in Tesco and £20 for pretty much the same item at Boden or wherever it is you shop. After covering the costs of production (usually) the retailer charges you what they think you will pay. If you are shopping for clothes in Tesco, you're probably expecting to get a bargain, so prices have to be kept low. If you walk into a Jigsaw store on the high street, then you're happy to pay a bit more for the way you look, and the shop charges accordingly. They charge us what we, collectively, are willing to pay, and by and large women are willing to pay more than men.

How women can spend the same as men on clothes

If you really object to spending more on clothes than your boyf, you can:

  1. Dress in men's clothing (although this won't help with the bras)
  2. Get all your clothes from Tesco (very cheap)
  3. Become an extremely thrifty and brave sales shopper (personally, I pay more to avoid the sales scrum)
  4. Embrace the world of charity shops
  5. Become a nudist

'Despite feminism...'

It's all swings and roundabouts really. Men need to eat more calories than women, so it should cost them more to feed themselves, but women use tampons, that type of thing.

The comments, on the Guardian article are hilarious (definitely worth a read), with women boasting about their sartorial decisions that help them save money, and men bemoaning that 'despite feminism, women expect men to pay for at least the big occasions, like Valentines meals, engagement rings'. Well, some women do, some women don't. That's another day, another blog (I love that phrase 'despite feminism' - you always know what's coming).

Whether you're the type of woman who has more lip gloss than Jordan and needs a spare house just to store your jeans, or you're happy with soap, water and one nice outfit for special occasions, don't moan about it. Let's all just strive for equal pay to help us support our spending, whatever it is.

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