The pretty tax is similar to the pink tax. Surely you’ve heard of the pink tax. You know, the upcharge women pay for things like dry cleaning, hair cuts, and shampoo. Research says it costs women on average of $1351 additional per year just for being a woman (And who are we kidding? That’s on the low side) There’s a lot to say about that, but I’m going to throw a new one on you. 

I’m calling it the Pretty Tax and you pay with your time and energy. I noticed it most acutely recently while on vacation with my husband. We’d be at the beach all day and come back home with about 1.5 hours until dinner. 

After a day in the sun and sand, I’d need to take a shower, wash my hair, slather on lotion, dry my hair, put on makeup, get dressed and be ready to go.  Honestly, all that rigmarole takes every bit of an hour. Considering hair was involved I needed every minute of our time before dinner to be on my game. 

He, on the other hand, would lay down for a nap and ask me to wake him up about 10 minutes before we needed to leave. 

Yes, he can literally shower and dress in that amount of time. 

Day after day on vacation he would have a nice little nap before dinner, and I had to come home to begin the process of re-beautifying myself before going out on the town. 

It got me thinking of other the other things women do to “look pretty”. Hours spent in the hair chair for color and highlights, mani/pedi’s, and waxing. There’s shopping to keep up with the latest trends, while men it seems get away with a pair of khaki’s and a golf shirt at almost any occasion. 

When we do go out, he’s the one that has the comfortable shoes. 

The patriarchal society we live in has created an entire side job of us giving not only our money, but our time to looking as good as our time and money can make us look. Really saps the shit out of any supposed free time in a day. 

Now, I realize that I don’t have to do any of this. I could put my salty hair in a pony, skip the make-up and slap on a pair of khakis with a golf shirt. Sure I could. 

But the expectations in the world are high and I haven’t unlearned it all. 

The truth is I feel better when my hair looks good. I do not like it when my nails look ratty and I much prefer my look with concealer. I feel and perform better when I am put together for myself, my husband, and the world. 

Dig a bit deeper and the question becomes….what is looking good?

Do we even know anymore? Is clean enough? Sadly, the truth is not in this lifetime. 

We’re all warped by media and unobtainable beauty standards.  

How to unlearn what is all around us, get a nap before dinner, and make it not matter? Is that really possible? Think of the time and money we’d save if it didn’t. 

Noticing is real progress. 

I’ve noticed. 

Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting on this article on the pretty tax. 

Loved the tweet above from Carly Rae Jesse @tinderdistrict. I feel like she totally nailed it. 

Jameela Jamil is an actress and personality that fights for body positivity. Read more about her here.