Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The cost of being a woman

My boyfriend and I will watch old movies and joke about how men's fashion hasn't changed that much in the last century. Men in the 1920s, '30s, '40s and through the decades have taken a similar approach to fashion. Slacks, button down or button front shirt, tie, suits, dress shoes... The cuts may change, suits are made to fit tighter or looser, tie width changes, but a man wearing a pair of slacks purchased in the last five years, a crisp buttoned shirt with or without a tie in an acceptable width and length and a man is good to go. It's simple.
In that same time period, look at how much women's fashion has changed -- even from the beginning of a decade. Look at how the fashions vary from the beginning of "Mad Men" to the end. Don Draper and the older men don't change much, and the younger men play into trends a little more, but a suit cut differently is still a suit. The women's clothing, on the other hand, differs so much from character to character and throughout the decade. Fashion is another way to show a female character's growth throughout the series.
A man who doesn't change sizes can wear the same clothes until they wear out. I once outed a male co-worker for having a hole in the elbow of his shirt. The buttoned shirt lasts until his elbow pops out.
Very few women's clothing items will last that long -- not because of quality, but because of fashion. Shirts get tighter and looser, as do pants. Skirt lengths change. The proper shoes for each outfit is always changing. A woman isn't properly dressed for many occasions if she isn't wearing heals that pinch her toes, rub against her heals and make her stand tippy-toed for hours on end.
And then we get to grooming.
I have hair that's on the greasy side, so I have to wash it every morning. Which means I need to dry it every day. That whole process probably sucks about 20 minutes from my day.
Give a man 20 minutes and not only is he showered and washed, but he's probably fully dressed and in the car on his way to work already.
I generally don't wear make up, mostly because I have acne-prone skin and skipping all make up tends to make my skin look nicer. The other reason is time. I like the way I look with a nicely lined eye and pink cheeks, but it takes time. And that's if you don't mess up.
Men can buy work clothes at end-of-season clearance sales and not have to worry about being "on trend." They can buy a bottle of 2-in-1 shampoo and body wash and shaving products and be perfectly groomed for the corporate world.
If a woman tried that, she'd be called frumpy at best.
I just want some of my grooming time back to use on more productive things, if I could.