Hautetalk: How Girl Math Feeds Into Gender Stereotypes, Makes Women “Justify” Spending Their Money

Why must we justify our expenses?
Hautetalk: How Girl Math Feeds Into Gender Stereotypes, Makes Women “Justify” Spending Their Money

Retail therapy is a real thing. It’s the best pick-me-up for us when we’re struggling with a low mood or phase. And while it may feel great to buy expensive things, sometimes it’s hard to explain why we spent a bomb on a super duper expensive bag and that’s where the social media finance trend ‘girl math’ comes in. Made viral by TikTok, this social media trend focuses on women using their own different logic and ideologies to justify an expensive purchase. Even though this trend is being portrayed as a tool that empowers women to control the narrative and their finances as and how they please. But don’t allow this to fool you into believing that this absolutely sexist social media trend is actually empowering women.


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Now, allow me to break down the girl math social media trend and how it’s sexist. So, essential ‘girl math’ is believed to have comedic value as it uses ‘girl logic’ to justify expenses. Girl math calculates the cost of an expensive item in cost-per-wear to justify the purchase. Apart from that, social media videos justify women splurging on items with things like paying for anything with cash is practically free and returning bought items means you’ve made a profit. Essentially, ‘girl math’ is a way of justifying emotional expenditure painting these expenses as frivolous and unnecessary.


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Also Read: Explained: What Is Girl Math, The Viral Social Media Trend?

Let’s get to what is wrong with this trend. To begin with, using the word ‘girl’ before math is a way to mock women and the gender stereotype that women can’t do math while infantizing women. It reinforces gender stereotypes and further feeds into the narrative that women are bad at handling their own finances, and this trend neatly tries to wrap this gender stereotype in a layer of comedy and makes it seem like women are taking control of the narrative to justify their frivolous expenses and unnecessary purchases but that’s where the problem also lies.


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Women are often shamed for indulging themselves in retail therapy and buying nice things to pamper themselves. I mean, as Indians we all grew up watching our mothers avoid spending money to buy themselves good things and focus on saving. We’ve all seen our moms like something and then change their minds after taking a look at the price tag. The reason is that women have been taught to blend in, not pamper themselves (even with their own money) because they’re not good with math or finances and need to focus on financial well-being.


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Also Read: Ladies, Take Charge Of Your Finances With The 30:30:30:10 Rule Of Saving. Here’s All You Need To Know

Here’s the thing, as a woman who earns her own money and spends her own money, why should I have to “justify” my expensive purchases? Have we ever come across something like ‘boy math’? It’s not that men don’t buy expensive things. They’re known to spend insane amounts of money on gadgets, watches and automobiles but we don’t see them out there trying to justify why they bought a watch worth 30K by using ‘boy math’ or using the cost-per-use method, do we, now? So, why is it that women are expected to justify buying nice things? Why are just women associated with emotional expenditure? It’s not like men don’t do it. NGL but I’d love to see a man try to explain why he spent Rs 10 lakhs on a sports bike when he could’ve gotten a car in much less money. Not that it’s ever going to happen but a girl can hope!

Also Read: Women In Finance Reveal What Are The Biggest Financial Mistakes Most Women Make

Having said that, I think it’s time that we as women become unapologetic about spending our own hard-earned money on buying ourselves nice and expensive things. The next time someone expects you to “justify” your purchase, just say “My money, my choice”!

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Janvi Manchanda

​​She uses her pen to slice through patriarchy. She could be Geet one day, Wednesday Addams next. Writing is the bane of her existence and the object of all her desires!

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