Do Women Really Shop More Than Men? Not During the Holiday Season…
According to a holiday shopping survey, men planned to spend more than women on gifts in 2013. If you’re a woman, it’s likely you’ve spit out your coffee, or you’re shaking your head, or you’re saying something along the lines of: “Um…no.” A 2013 Gallop poll backs up the survey results, and women everywhere are scratching their heads.
· Women ages 15-30 spend on average $214.67 per gift
· Women ages 31-57 spend on average $203.36
· Men ages 15-30 spend on average $296.45
· Men ages 31-57 spend the most, averaging $332.11
(Holy cow! That’s over $100 more per gift!)
APPARENTLY, It’s MEN Who Are SHOPPING
Isn’t ‘women and shopping’ like the single most-used television trope and stand-up comedian go-to? It’s one of those stereotypes that continues to thrive despite great strides in feminism, and big changes to traditional gender roles. Come on – there’s stay-at-home-dads now, and wives sometimes make more money than their husbands (and, that’s okay). Society seems to be coming around to the idea that women are equal to men, but not when it comes to shopping.
Despite statistics that clearly show men will spend more this holiday season, women are still burdened by old shopping stereotypes. And, women will continue to see advertisements geared toward their holiday shopping. And, women will continue to be the butt of jokes at holiday parties, and other events, where husbands, brothers, dads and grandpas all laugh at their holiday spending.
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION
It’s time to turn it around on men, but in a playful way. Suggest these studies as proof that men shop and women actually save.
Women have long been painted as money-hungry gold-diggers. There are thousands of jokes, sayings, and quotes depicting women as credit hungry shopaholics. Male comedians often complain about their wives and girlfriends draining their bank accounts, and taking long trips to the mall.
This holiday season, you can change the conversation. When an uncle/brother/boyfriend/husband/dad/grandpa brings up the old stereotype, ask them where they’re getting their proof. Chances are high they’ll point to their wives’ recent trip to the mall, or a recent online shopping excursion. Once they’ve given their proof, you can floor them by sending them a link to the two above-mentioned surveys. Everyone is sure to have a good laugh, and you’ll have opened up a safe dialog about changing attitudes toward women and spending.
IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS…
This holiday shopping season it isn’t about who spent what, or what gender shops more. It’s about the thought, the gifts you give, and the respect you have for everyone (gender unspecified).
Men and women both seem to care about the gifts they give, and that’s because this is the season of giving (Not, the season of giving stereotypes). Gifts for men should be thoughtful, and meaningful to the recipient, such as a new grill for the grill master, or a toolset for the handyman in your life, or even a new blow dryer or nail care set–haha, men like those, right? And, the same goes for women – give her a tool box if she’s handy. It’s not about gender stereotypes, but rather about creating joy in the lives of the people you love most.
If you feel targeted by jokes about women shopping (either with or without your husband’s credit card), you have the tools to change the conversation. You don’t have to put up with archaic stereotypes, especially because they’re unfounded by current studies and surveys.
Simply put: most people love to shop. It’s got nothing to do with gender.
After what felt to be 27 years – but was more likely to have been 27 minutes – I decided that one melting down child (read: me) was enough; it was time to return to our humble room to watch some … whatever people watch in hotels that isn’t porn. When I’d skinned the kids of their wet suits, much to their vocal displeasure, I noted that they were covered tip to tail in a rash. Attributing it to over-chlorination, I felt, for the first time, pleased with the hotel. We all know kids whiz in pools with alarming frequency and by the rashes on their bodies, I figured that even if some kid dropped some pipe in the pool, it’d probably immediately be reduced into an effervescent chemical reaction that looked remarkably like pool water. The kids, on the other hand, weren’t as comforted as I. Instead of doing the right thing and plunking them into the bath, instead I tried to rub hydro-cortisone cream onto their skin.
Bad fucking news.
I halfway expected DCFS to break down the doors with the screams Mimi was emitting, noting that while they didn’t quite sheer the ugly “tropical” wallpaper from the walls, it came damn close. Feeling like total shit for making things worse, I tried to make it up to them without much success. Finally, my father returned with Culver’s which, at the very least, provided the distraction needed to move on with the evening with our eardrums intact.
We picked at the food until we deemed it “done” and began the task of cleaning the room. As I hadn’t known when we’d be lounging against the machine, I’d declined maid service for the day and embraced shopping instead. Besides, I’m perfectly capable of cleaning up a mess made in part by me and in part by those who (unfortunately for them) share my DNA. The Littles sat on the bed watching Minecraft videos and lamenting the snail’s pace of the hotel wireless while I busily cleaned the room, getting ready for the ultimate in sucktastic jobs – packing.
Soon the room was nearly clean and I steeled myself for the packing project by staring dejectedly at my suitcase, hoping that some magical packing fairy would come along and pack for me. I’m absolutely uncertain how – without purchasing a single thing – every time I go to pack, my crap has multiplied. With the kids? It’s like eleventy-niner times the amount I’d brought. When no magical packing gnome fell out of the sky or someone’s ass, I got ready to get down and dirty.
That was when something caught my eye.
Earlier that day, we’d thrown what was supposed to pass for food down our throats. I sadly ate my boring oatmeal as I jealously watched my eldest devour a chocolate chip muffin. I don’t know if the muffin was supposed to be “extra mess-worthy,” but I swear to you, Pranksters, I’ve never seen a muffin end up spattered on walls, in the hallway, and in the bedroom next door. I’d assume it’s simply Ben’s amazing ability to eat without actually getting food in his mouth, but without further inspection, I didn’t particularly care.
So that’s what I assumed it was.
More chocolate chip muffin carnage.
Because I am not a complete dick*, I grabbed some tissue to pick up the chunk on the floor – no reason to make more work for the maids, who, I’d assumed, lived in a perpetual homicidal state after cleaning up after kids all day, every day. It was, I figured, the very least I could do. Only after I’d absentmindedly picked up the chunk on the floor did I realize what it was. It wasn’t muffin wreckage. It wasn’t the remains of the airplane that vanished. It was decidedly not brownie batter. It wasn’t the Lindbergh baby or that huge ass diamond from motherfucking Titanic. It wasn’t even Carmen motherfucking Sandiego.
It was a chunk of shit.
Horrified, I threw the offending turd into the garbage can and practically elevated to the bathroom to scour my hands. The kids, sensing something was wrong – I think it was the screaming and retching that tipped ’em off – stared at me all wide-eyed. I stared back at them, remembering all of the times I’d said “jeepers, mister, this room smells like a fresh dook!” when it dawned on me – without maid service in the room, the remnants of someone’s colon had been sitting on the floor since we’d checked in. We’d unknowingly slept in a hotel room in which someone had laid pipe.
Someone’s entirely digested breakfast had made its way from their colon onto the floor in my hotel room. Crawled? Deliberately placed? Oops I crapped my pants? Carelessly tossed from a rectum? Gnomes? Vampires? I scratched at the inside of my brain and could come up with no good reason why a pile of poo had been left in the room. And I knew I never would.
It was then that I suffered a complete break from reality:“I think we’re all fucked in the head. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun!”
(pants)“We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes! Holy Shit“
“I think,” Alex said to his sister, “Mommy needs her medicine.”
“Yup,” she nodded. “She does.”
Me: “You know what I don’t get? TWILIGHT.”
Lauren: “Oh Em Eff Ge I LOVE those books.”
Me: “How can you read them? Stephanie Meyer can’t write herself out of a paper bag?”
Lauren: “I may have also seen every movie opening night.”
Me: …sputters… (eye twitches)
Me: (googles “how to understand Twilight if you haven’t read it,” then thoughtfully erases it from the search box in case someone wandered by and accidentally saw that I’d googled anything about Twilight. Filled search box with “why is orange a color and a flavor?”)
Me: “Okay, I found something that sorta explains it to me.”
Lauren: “Is it helping?”
Me: “Not really – why does Bella love that one dude that has a shirt on?”
Lauren: “Because she’s marked for love with *swoons* Edward.”
Me: (goggles at her) “Wait, so in this land everyone has a “soulmate?”
Lauren: “Well, vampires do.”
Me: “I feel myself getting dumber.”
Me: “So I’ve thought about this whole “Twilight” thing and I realized that I’ve changed my mind.”
Me: “I figure anything that gets those cretins we call “tweens” reading and away from Justin Bieber… well, that’s a good thing. And really, there’s no reason to hate the series – I don’t want to be one of those pretentious asshats who’s all ‘lookit me, I HATE something that’s MAINSTREAM.'”
Lauren: “I’ll bring you in one of the books.”
Me: (googles “Twilight quotes” and comes across a gem about Bella, the angrily constipated protagonist, who is now bleeding from the eyes.)
Me: “So wait – Bella is now bleeding from the eyeballs?”
Lauren: “Yeah, she must be a vampire now.”
Lauren: “Vampires bleed from the eyeballs.”
Me: “You know you’re not making this decision any easier on me.”