Beauty Costs: The High Price of Being Female
What's the financial cost of meeting public and workplace expectations of "beauty"? And are those beauty costs as necessary as they may seem?
When I was growing up, I always felt insecure and awkward about my appearance. I was too skinny, had terrible acne, and didn’t have typical features. I didn’t put any money towards beauty costs.
So when I got my first job and started to make my own money at 17, I was determined to do everything in my power to enhance my appearance.
There was one thing I knew: beauty was a type of currency.
The cost of beauty
I began to dye my hair, wax my eyebrows, and buy expensive skincare products to smooth out my “fine lines.” Then I got teeth whitening strips, so I could show off my new smile, which was hidden underneath braces for several years.
After that, I bought fancy makeup and expensive hair-care products. I splurged on several ear piercings because I thought they were cool, and bought some jewelry to boot.
Dismayed at the size of my chest, I also forked over money for “herbal supplements” that promised to increase the size of my breasts (hint: it didn’t work).
Thinking back on those years, I can venture to say I spent a few thousand dollars on pills, products, services, dyes, and creams – all in an effort to be more beautiful.
The intense pressure to be beautiful and young come with a cost. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar business that preys largely on women’s insecurities. It works to make us believe that we too can have eternal youth and beauty.
If you’re a woman, think about your own personal beauty costs. Try to calculate how much money you have spent over time on your appearance. How much do you spend per month? Per year? In your lifetime?
When I was younger, I was willing to spend the little money I made on my appearance because I got sucked into the illusion and fantasy of what the beauty industry promises. I thought that beauty costs would make me feel better.
How much are you willing to spend on your looks?
But in all honesty, the products I bought for my appearance just filled a void. Beauty is not skin deep.
I wasted my hard-earned money on too many beauty costs, trying to secure something that is ultimately fleeting: youth.
Of course, I’m all for women feeling good about themselves and I can understand how a fresh “‘do” or some special makeup can make you feel good. But I think it’s important to do those things for yourself and not anyone else. Not for a guy, a job, your friends, or your neighbors.
I spent too much money on beauty products hoping it would make me happier, prettier, less insecure, and that others would be pleased with the results.
When I finally realized that I was valuable beyond my appearance, I started to care more about cultivating other areas of my life. I began to save money, instead of spending it on something that ultimately made me feel like a shell of my real self.
I realized that I didn’t need my appearance to get a guy. Instead, I focused on taking care of myself. It turns out that being independent and self-sufficient is a lot more attractive than hiding behind a mask of superficiality.
Both my bank account and I are much happier.