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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Want to fight gender inequality? Pick up the tab

    Everyone likes a free meal every once in a while.

    As a feminist, I certainly have my own ideas about the issue of men paying for dinner. However, my views are not what you might think they would be based on this label. In fact, I am all for men paying for things. While this may seem like a contradiction, since the custom is based on females being reliant on men, which is utterly unfeministic, I have my reasons and they are bound to logic.

    For a woman, free food is easier to come by since it is accepted that a man will pay for dinner on a date. Once you have been dating for a long time, you may have discussions about splitting the cost of meals, but preliminary dates mainly include a man’s wallet. While this custom suits me and my wallet, I must add that the fact is that it is more expensive to be a woman.

    Ideally, things could be equal between the genders. Everyone would make enough money to pay for their own meals. The old patriarchal custom of men paying for women on dates would no longer be an issue.

    But we all know that this is not the case. Our society is highly prejudiced against women. Women are paid 19-23 percent less than men, depending on which source you consult, and unfortunately often the way that companies try to bridge this wage-gap is by lowering men’s wages down to the female standard. While making less money than men, women are still expected to purchase more things to maintain their beauty. The majority of advertised products are for women, there are entire magazines telling women what to buy and with each season bearing new trends, women are expected to spend accordingly and are subjected to different social expectations.

    A 2005 article by Cynthia Brodrick at Bankrate.com compared the prices of hygienic products for men and women. “”There are a few things that are more expensive for women,”” writes Brodrick. For example, the retail price of Gillette Regular shaving cream for men is $1.99 for 11 ounces while Skintimate Shaving gel is $2.79 for only 7 ounces. “”In addition, women just plain have more to buy,”” Brodrick concludes.

    Having more to buy is a part of the social expectation that women need to dress nicer than men. Most products are marketed toward women and aimed to make women feel like they are less of a person if they do not have wrinkle-free skin or the latest pair of shoes. It’s expensive to be considered a presentable woman in today’s society. Even though this presentation is a choice, it is highly pressurized from society.

    Would lots of women love to consider “”dressing up”” wearing a nice shirt and pants? Yes. But what do women end up wearing? Dresses with matching shoes and accessories, all of which cost more money than their male counterparts. Clothing is more expensive for women because, to begin with, women must buy much more of it.

    While men have two forms of underwear, boxers or briefs, women must wear panties and brassieres. If the success of Victoria’s Secret is any indication, female underwear is a necessary commodity, and it is not cheap. A nice bra can cost upwards of $30, and underwear, just like everything else, wears out and needs to be replaced. For the majority of men, brassieres are only an issue when you are trying to smoothly remove them.

    Makeup is another product that is mostly used by women. Like underwear, these items need to be frequently purchased. Cosmetic industries are booming, and that is thanks to all those lovely ladies out there who work so hard with the combination of foundation, eyeliner, eye-shadow, blush, lipstick, mascara and more to appear natural.

    To add to the long list of female necessities, it is impossible to forget personal hygiene items. Every woman needs napkins, tampons, or any other form of items to manage that monthly pain-in-the-vagina. For the same reason that having a baby is very expensive due to diaper consumption, being a woman is also costly due to bodily functions. “”Time-of-the-month”” necessities are one commodity that men do not need to purchase.

    Finally there is the issue of increasingly expensive birth control. A packet of birth control pills can cost upwards of $50 a month. College health services providers are no longer able to get discounts for students. Either gender can purchase condoms, dental dams, and other forms of sexual protection, but more often than not, the responsibility seems to fall into the woman’s hands and wallet.

    So if you want to buy me a burrito, and society allows me to unconditionally consume meals without paying for them because I have a boyfriend, I am okay with that. Things aren’t fair for women, it’s just more expensive. So while the original reasoning behind men paying for women was a control issue, these days it just helps even things out between the sexes. Besides, I’m out ten bucks since Aunt Flo(w) is in town.

    – Alexandria Kassman is a creative writing and Spanish senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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