The Cost of Being a Female

Last night, I sat at my laptop staring at my budget trying to figure out a way to cut some costs to have some extra dinero. As I was looking, one part of my budget popped out as cut-worthy: the “Misc” category. This category is my catch-all account for whatever little things might pop up. I considered it for a minute, thinking about how I mainly have used it this month for eating out (bad Tejana!). 

But wait.

You eyeliner is about to run out.

And you’re getting a little low on hairspray.

Ohh and your hair clip just broke, you’re definitely going to need another one.

My life is just so problematic, right?

Ladies, have you ever thought about how much money we “blow” on making ourselves presentable to the world? I don’t consider myself extremely high maintenance (I mean, I could live without the hairspray and hair clip… although the eyeliner is a non-negotiable).

But seriously, it’s expensive to be a lady. Now, we could forgo all makeup, hair products, jewelry and nail polish, but it’s widely known that women are seen more credible and “put together” when do indulge in those things. Take a post like this one, where statistics show that bosses actually discriminate against women who don’t wear make up and take time to fix their hair. Or this one, from the New York Times where one professor at UT Austin (shout out) agreed that the idea that makeup makes women more likeable because “we conflate looks and a willingness to take care of yourself with a willingness to take care of people”.

In graduate school, I took a course called “The Psychology of Women and Gender”. In the class we reviewed numerous studies which all came to the conclusion that appearance does have an effect on our lives, whether we like it or not. As men get older, they are considered more “prestigious looking” and gain respect while as women get older, they just start to look, well old. Not more prestigious, not more respectable, just old.

So unfair, right ladies? Well, before we all burn our bras and stop shaving our legs, let’s face it. You don’t have to agree with it, but the fact is that wearing makeup (and even being attractive) helps you make friends, gain more respect at work and seem friendlier to others. Please don’t confuse this for me saying that this is not achievable if you don’t do your hair and make up each day, it is just “easier” when you do.

I started wearing makeup at 15 and have worn it consistently since. I’m comfortable going without makeup, but I prefer to put it on, so you better believe I’ll get my butt up an extra 15 minutes early to make sure I have time to put it on and another 15 to straighten/curl/pin my hair. Not only, but I’ll carve an extra $50 out of my budget to pay for those items. Call me superficial but it’s what I choose to do. Your choice may be different- and that’s great too.

**I realize that this is only just scratching the surface on this topic and by no means does it justice. I did not want to rewrite my term paper from Psych of W&G, but just wanted to write a small rant about it. You might have very strong views about the topic, and if so I’d love to hear so below!  

 Ladies— what do you think? Do you believe that you are seen as more professional and open when you wear makeup/do your hair? Do you feel better/prettier when you wear make up?

Gentlemen– what are your thoughts? Do you believe that women are taken more seriously when we wear makeup or make sure our hair is done?



Femme Frugality


  1. I was JUST thinking about this topic. It is SO much more expensive to be a woman than a man. I work for a company where the dress code is quite lax. My boss for example is a busy mom of three and wears jeans and a t-shirt every day. I however try to dress up every single day and show that I put pride in my appearance and being here.

    I have a haircut and deep conditioning appointment today. Although my haircuts are not cheap they are entirely worth it because they put a pep in my step and also helps to present the perception that I am worth it. I completely agree that women are taken more seriously when they put the time into getting ready in the morning. A lot of the judgement comes from women against other women.

  2. It’s absolutely true. Unfair, but true. I try to think that there must be something guys have to do that we don’t to try to be more presentable for various reasons, but can’t think of any. Maybe it’s when it comes to dates, in most situations guys are sort of expected to pay? Either way, yes it does take its toll on the monthly budget!

  3. So so so so true! If there was a way to wake up looking perfect everyday, I’d research it tomorrow! It’s not that I don’t look bad without makeup, I just can feel the confidence dripping away from me. Even just a bit of mascara and foundation allow me to feel prepared for the day. It’s unfair, but it is the way the world works…

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  5. I am unfortunately one of those people who looks a lot better with a little makeup. But I suck at makeup and I hate wearing it – the one concession I make is lipstick because it’s easy and such a big win for little effort.

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  7. i totally agree! unfortunately, like many women, i don’t feel comfortable leaving my house with out makeup. And the other thing is, its about effort. Achieving anything is hard work, i think wearing nice cloths (not expensive – just decent) and wearing nice makeup makes you look more together and like you take care of yourself. Appearances are just so stupidly important in our society. :/ great read. you should considering submitting a guest article at our blog cheers! 🙂

  8. Actually, one of the things I love about my job is that I work with a ton of guys who could care less if I show up with my hair done and some make up on or I show up with bed head, glasses on and no make up. I actually feel more awkward about the comments I get when I do make an effort.

  9. Oh, you’re absolutely right: being a woman is expensive. I need to look good for work, I need to look good for dates: it’s make-up, clothes, shoes, cremes… well, at least there’s no more shampoo for me. And don’t forget about birth control. That’s something I think about a lot: we have a certain responsibility as well.

  10. I definitely agree with this. Being a woman is expensive. I wear makeup daily. But I have began to cut cost as I re-define what necessity means for me. I force myself to use everything before buying new product. I know what works for me and stick to it so that I’m not buying things that don’t work on impulse. I spent a good amount of my 20s figuring this out lol.

    I’ve also realized what products last and don’t last. I switch out expensive things for more cost effective item when it makes since such a a Rimmel brow filler that cost $7 has lasted 4 months over the MAC brown pencil that costs $20 lasted 1 month. I now use Aussie 3 minute miracle deep conditioner which is awesome sauce and $3.44 at Target.

    So while it is more expensive to be a woman, there are ways we can curve these expensive and not give in to the marketing tactics put in place to make us feel inadequate for not using THEIR product.

    Love this post 🙂

    • Thank you for the compliment!

      And I agree on be able to cut expenses when using products and love how you phrased that last part. So many people will blindly follow the marketing/ad campaigns and take them as 100% truth. The media can have such a negative influence on women to look a certain way and to be a certain type of person (and it starts to train men to see us this way, too!). The impact on teens is horrible. I see it everyday at school and it breaks my heart that girls are forcing themselves to be something just because it’s all over TV and is “cool”.

  11. Yes. I do feel prettier, I feel more polished and I am definitely more professional when I wear makeup (even psychologically).

    Our makeup is the equivalent of (some) men shaving.

    That said, I am not hung up on wearing makeup to leave the house. I can do without it.

    I am also okay with spending more money on makeup as long as I know what I am spending on, and that is more organic, less chemical-laded crap.

    (Going to link to this!)

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  13. It’s not even just appearances, there are the absolutely unavoidable expenses (has anyone realised how expensive tampons are?) and you can’t just go to a clinic and get a few for free if you’re out and unlucky, you have to spend another $5-8 just to keep your trousers clean. My boyfriend jokes that there actually is a “female tax” just because of the cost of razors (and the amount we have to use them), feminine products, birth control, make up, make up remover, etc. etc. it’s unbelievable the corners I’ve already tried to cut, I just hope I can cut more!

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