In Career, Discussions, Discussions, Money, Women

Why do men focus on money but women on beauty?

One argument I’ve heard over and over again is that men focus on money, success and wealth because .. they want women. And women focus on beauty, style and wellness… to get these men.

*shrug* It’s kind of funny if you think about it. 🙂

On a more serious note, there is a huge business in women not being money-minded.

We are allowed to spend and beautify (look at the consumer spending for women for style and beauty!) but not to save or accumulate wealth. It isn’t ladylike, now is it? To be ambitious, financially secure or tough?

As a young girl it always sounded like a lot of work to me. Granted, I was definitely no beauty growing up. I was chubby, crooked teeth, thick glasses, pimply-faced, awkward and shy because of my looks.

I was by no means even pretty by any conventional standard. But I was, however, smart.

I ended up channelling my energies into my brain and my personality (I did become funnier/more sarcastic later in life as I relaxed and let go of my fear to be seen).

Being smart was everything and the only thing I had going for me so I crushed it.

So, I scoffed at things like beauty, and style, while secretly envying the ones to whom it seemed to come effortlessly.

In hindsight that was perfect – it was the butterfly flapping its wings a million miles away, because it created a lack of dependence on my looks and pushed me to use my brains as my main superpower, and the more I used my brains, the harder I wanted it to be true, so I studied even more to make this brainiac label come true for me.

As I got older, I changed.

I didn’t feel or see myself as ugly any more and quite the opposite because I got my teeth straightened after years of braces and surgeries, my contacts were my saving grace, and my skin somewhat cleared up… ish.

I started soon got a job, and in the past decade or so, used my savings and my learned financial smarts as another major confidence booster.

My money and savings, have become part of my confidence and self-esteem.

Every $100K milestone for me was such a confidence boost — I CAN DO IT. I’m so close!

And now closing in on $1M as my major milestone in my mid-30s, the constant high I am feeling is beyond spectacular. I feel this high all the time, and this is making me push harder in saving my money, investing it, and focusing on my goal.

Update November 2020: This post was written months ago. I have since hit $1M in net worth at the age of 36 in December 2019 and this is my money journey.

But..

Women aren’t taught to value success, money and power

We are taught “feminine ideals”, like beauty, kindness, generosity, connections, and selfless caregiving as our main values.

I know this because my mother, as independent as she is, and as adamant as she was to make her OWN MONEY (all good values I inherited), only tried to teach the girls to cook, clean and care for others.

Boys? Nope. Nothing about sewing, cleaning, or care.

(I’m working on changing this attitude with Little Bun by the way. These are my 10 goals for Little Bun before he leaves our home.)

Men are taught about money, success and power everywhere they go – have you ever seen a blog dedicated to wellness and self-care for men so that they feel better, take time for themselves, connect with others, be selfless and get in touch with their emotional sides?

No.

(But they totally should. I think some stressed out guys would really benefit from this self-help arena which is just so female-dominated like yoga that they feel intimidated. That’s another post for another day.)

Men are taught and are already aware from the time they are little boys with their male role models in their life, and with everything society teaches them, that money is power, success is money and all of that is GOOD.

Women? Not so much.

Talk about being ambitious to someone about schooling and you may hear:

Don’t you think you’re already educated enough for a girl?

Talk about being successful and crushing it, and you may get:

Don’t you think you’ll forget all about that once you become a wife and mother?

Aren’t you successful enough for a woman?

Talk about saving lots of money so you can do what you want, and the response may be:

Oh leave your husband to worry about all of that.

These are all actual responses I’ve received more or less, over the course of my life.

Don’t worry about money.

Leave it to your husband.

How can you be successful AND a good wife and mother?

NO ONE ever asks men these questions of how they plan on world domination and raising a good family, by being a good husband.

The pressures are different for us

No one criticizes men for this because their role has always been: Caretaker.

Women? Caregiver.

That’s what society wants us to play and men’s pressure and stress is no less than women’s, for sure, to be the only breadwinner is very, VERY heavy if you don’t succeed. Even in the office, you’re pigeonholed into “Mommy” or “Helpful Daughter” roles because… that’s what women do, right?

And if you don’t smile enough, bake, decorate your office for Christmas and have candy bowls because “that’s what women do”, you’re looked at like a freak. “What’s wrong with you”

The double standards are so real.

(By the way, you could buy durian candies for your candy bowl, and watch people NEVER COME TO YOUR DESK AGAIN for candy because durian is gross AF. Mua hahahahahahahahahaa)

And men — why forget want to be successful and powerful? So they can get women!!!! How many old, unattractive men do you see with beautiful young women?

More than the other way around for sure! And women? Focus on beauty and style… to get men!!! Be the feminine ideal, be delicate, be the perfect wife and mother.

Ugh. What does that do for me at the end of the day? Being beautiful and perfect as a caregiver?

I never understood it as a child because I didn’t have beauty. So I focused on being smart. And now, financially independent and rich.

So I wouldn’t need to have beauty to hook a rich man, which by the way is also a lot of work as conventionally, you’d have to be slim, fit, clear skinned, shiny glossy maned, proportionate etc. That $&@! takes WORK, to watch what you eat, work out, care for your skin with some insane Korean 50-step, 3 hour method nightly…..

No. Thank. You. (Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1 for what I mean, it is one of the smartest feminist shows I have ever watched.)

Some of it it is biological but mostly environmental / social.

My take on it all is — why not share it?

Share the responsibilities of being the breadwinner, AND the household caregiver.

Share it, be equal and the pressure is off everyone all around.

Thoughts? How did you grow up? What were your messages?

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6 Comments

  1. Tom

    Staus driven consumerism isn’t exclusively a problem for women, even if the products are sold differently. A significant driver of family income inequality in recent times has been white collar assortative mating – (het) women actually DO get rich and successful partly in order to pursue guys on the same level and vice versa.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Valid points.

      I’d add this – women perhaps, are not globally at a level of being rich/successful to back off “beauty” as a driver to obtain wealth. Another reason why being financially independent as a woman is important.. so that your looks aren’t the only thing of “value”.

  2. Catherine

    Lyn – I wonder if we have the same uncle – my uncle told me the same thing. And my mom was the one who took a stand and said absolutely not. My mom said that I was smart and determined to attend university, I had been working part-time to pay for it, and she would sooner sell the house than to compromise on my education. I, too, studied engineering, and I would not be where I am today without my university education.

    My other uncle who also tried to convince me to attend community college (by the way, there is nothing wrong with community college – but it was not what I was after), and told me that he made a good living from his college education. When I was a kid, no one in my family had attended university, I had no idea what really was the different between a degree and a certificate, but I knew that I had to attend university to reach my career goals. I understood that it was a higher level of education.

    It wasn’t until YEARS after graduation when my uncle reached out to add me on LinkedIn, that I realized why my uncle said what he said to me. He might have had good intentions, but his career ambitions were nowhere near mine – and if I had taken his advice, I would not be where I am today. To illustrate, he is an accounts administrator (same position for 20+ years), and I am a director in a technical field.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      And that is how you do it. *BOOM*

  3. Lyn

    My dad came from a traditional Asian family. When I got into higher-raking university which my parents funded ( we can barely afford it), my uncle suggested that I am a girl and he should just sent me to community collages. Gladly, my dad didn’t accept the suggestion, or I wouldn’t be an engineer with a decent payroll today. Everytime I look back, that nearly became a bad life turning point because I am a girl.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      GAH THIS MAKES ME ANGRY. To not be given the same opportunities because you’re a girl. Like your brain is inferior because of your gender. This boggles my mind… and makes me really angry to think of all this wasted brain power because of these stupid misconceptions.

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