Stereotypes Be Damned: Here’s The REAL Reason Women Shop More Than Men

When you think about the term “women and shopping,” the most likely image in your mind is probably something along the lines of Betty Rubble and Wilma Flintstone giggling and shouting, “CHARGE it!” (Yes, I know a Flintstone reference reveals my age. I’m old.)

"Isn't this what it's all about?" Image by Roderick Eime, available under a Creative Commons 2.0 Sharealike-Attribution license.
“Isn’t this what it’s all about?” Image by Roderick Eime, available under a Creative Commons 2.0 Sharealike-Attribution license.

That is the stereotypical (read: patriarchal) view of women’s relationship with shopping. It’s been the running joke of almost every sitcom that the wife-and-mother is addicted to shopping, and spends all of the money her husband brings in. Hilarious! “B*tches be shopping, amirite?”

The constant expectation that women should shop for clothes and cosmetics buys into the cultural view that women should be attractive. Women are still overwhelmingly the victims of fat shaming and online bullying in relation to their appearance.

Home stuff helps keep women occupied in the home so that they don’t realize that they are oppressed as a group. Women still make approximately 78% of what men make, and women with kids are seen as less competent in the work world than their male counterparts.

But don’t worry about that, ladies– make sure you get the newest designer fashions and home decor!

An expert in marketing to women spoke to Forbes magazine, and explained why women really shop more than men do.

If you’re a woman in a heterosexual relationship, you probably already know the reason. Forbes’s expert has this to say:

“In virtually every society in the world, women have primary care-giving responsibilities for both children and the elderly (and often, just about everybody else in-between). In this primary caregiving role, women find themselves buying on behalf of everyone else in their lives.

“[…I]n addition to buying for themselves, women buy on behalf of husbands, partners, kids, colleagues, adult children, friends, relatives, elderly parents, in-laws… If somebody, somewhere needs a gift, chances are there’s a woman thinking about it; tracking it down; wrapping it; making sure it’s accompanied by a personal message and then arriving to the person on the appointed day.   I sometimes think entire industries would collapse overnight if women stopped being so thoughtful.”

So it’s not so much an issue of these frivolous, flighty women going out and spending all of their man’s money on hair gel and lipstick. It’s a much more weighty and serious reason. Women shop more than men because women care for everyone in their lives.