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Image / Editorial

Why Is Everyone Talking About ‘The Make-Up Tax’?


by Jeanne Sutton
07th Aug 2015

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: A model prepares backstage ahead of the We Are Handsome show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Spring/Summer 2013/14 at Carriageworks on April 10, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images)

While we love make-up and beauty counters, sometimes we get a bit/lot annoyed when we think about what the other half of the human race spend their pay cheque and time in the morning on. When you add up the amount women spend on make-up, hair, and other beauty products, you’re talking about a figure that is far larger than the end of a Boots receipt for deodorant and a good moisturiser. Once personal finance site, Mint, says that the average woman will spend over €13,000 on cosmetics in her lifetime.

Well, this spending disparity in finally being spoken about, and it’s called the Make-up Tax. The Make-up Tax first came to thinkpiece writers? attention last month after US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton?conducted a Facebook Q&A session with her supporters.

One person wrote, asking Hillary how she manages getting ready every morning when she’s on the road every day working: ?Every morning, as my boyfriend zips out the door and I spend 30+ minutes getting ready, I wonder about how the ?hair-and-makeup tax? affects other women?especially ones I admire in high-pressure, public-facing jobs,? Brittain wrote. ?I know these questions can seem fluffy, but as a young professional woman, I’d genuinely love to hear about how you manage getting ready each morning (especially during your time traveling as Secretary of State and now on the campaign trail) while staying focused on the ‘real? work ahead of you that day.?

Hillary responded ?Amen, sister. You’re preaching to the choir. It’s a daily challenge. I do the best I can?and as you may have noticed, some days are better than others!?

Ever since commentators and fed-up women have been talking about the Make-Up Tax, despite Hillary’s evasion of the question. All this talk is potentially revolutionary because America decided to grab independence after the British taxed their tea. Same difference. Why does the Make-Up Tax matter? Because it’s affecting women and sees our salary being siphoned off into yet another avenue. We already know we’re starting out on the career ladder with difficult enough statistics against us. There’s the pesky pay gap and the various studies that have found women tend to negotiate worse salaries than men. And then the money that we do get is ?invested? back into our appearance. As Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic, this is unfair because ?the price of makeup is something men never have to worry about.?

Then there’s the slice of time that make-up takes out of your day. Calculate how much time you spend every morning perfecting your appearance. Then multiply that by five. Add some touch-up time and weekend preparation. And we wonder why we never finished The Goldfinch? While some of you out there might tell us to stop complaining, make-up is a choice etc., can we just say that yes, you don’t have to wear make-up, but some women want to, and others feel pressurised by society to make that effort in work. This issue won’t be resolved today or anytime soon, but it’s good that we’re talking about it, at least. No one is trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just saying it’s an awkward, if pretty, wheel and it’d be cool if we could acknowledge that.

In the meantime, a man in Algeria is suing his wife for fraud because he saw her without make-up. This traumatic event occurred the morning after their wedding. The unhappy groom went to court and claimed that he was so surprised by his spouse’s appearance that he thought she was a thief who had snuck into his home. Emirates 24/7 reports he is seeking monetary damages for the psychological trauma caused by the deception. So if you wear make-up or go without, it ends up costing. C?est la vie des femmes.

Via The Atlantic

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