Financial Toll for Women

I’m really sorry about the silence right now, but it’s one of those times when real life absolutely must take priority. I’m facing a lot of financial difficulty at the moment until my new job starts, and recently I’ve been threatened with eviction, the financial support I receive has been cut, and some training I was signed up for was cancelled, so I’ve been running around trying to sort all these things out and pre-empt potential problems by seeking legal aid. It’s a bit of a mess.

No need to feel sorry for me though; I have a couple of jobs lined up, the eviction threat has not yet been put into writing and the bank has been more or less reasonable about suspending our agreements temporarily, so I’m not in any immediate danger of any consequences of this. However, my budget is extremely tight, and I’m starting to realise how this affects me as a woman.

The items I am most afraid of running out of:

– facewash
– moisturiser
– foundation
– concealer
– hair serum
– tampons

The items I am most afraid of breaking:

– hair straighteners
– hairdryer
– tights
– shoes
– cardigans (because then people will be able to see my less-than-slender arms and tummy)

Seeing a pattern here? Some essentials aside (note that I am ridiculously thankful to live in a country in which contraception and healthcare and completely and utterly FREE and would just like to know why tampons are not) there is an awful lot related to appearance here.

It’s not all vanity either: I am well aware that if I do not use these things in an interview situation, I am less likely to get the jobs for which I am applying. I appear and sound very middle class, but people may already be wondering about the visible holes in my cardigans, the worn down heels on my shoes and the slightly ill-fitting interview clothes. If they’re not yet, they will be soon. It is imperative that I get a new job confirmed before I run out of these things.

Looking like a ragamuffin is playing havoc with my self-esteem too; I’ve more or less made peace with not being thin, but stress and sleep deprivation brought my skin out in spots and I’ve been wearing glasses for three months now because I couldn’t afford contact lenses. I stopped wearing them at the age of 16 and didn’t wear them for more than a few hours at a time until I was 23. 16 isn’t exactly a prime time for feeling good about yourself, so with my clothes AND skin not at their best contact lenses are an even higher priority than new shoes or make-up. Unfortunately, I can’t afford an eye test.

Again though, don’t feel sorry for me. I’m well aware that this isn’t poverty, that my education and background have ensured that this is temporary, and that even in a worst case scenario I could hypothetically go home and live with my middle class family until I found work and got back on my feet. This is one of the most challenging times of my life, and to be able to say that makes me pretty damn fortunate.



Filed under check your privilege, the personal is political, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Financial Toll for Women

  1. abitha

    It would be really interesting to see an equivalent list of items most afraid of running out of/breaking made by a man in the same situation, wouldn’t it?

    Also… why am I the only person who ever comments on your blog???

    • Give it time – I’m working on an article for The F Word that will probably result in more traffic and active commenters, but I’ve been hesitant to promote it properly until I can post regularly.

      I reckon if I was a man I’d be worried about running out of facewash and such, but those lists would be considerably shorter. Once you’ve got a nice suit and shoes, a razor and maybe a little hair product, you’re all set for interviews, right?

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