Justifying Luxury With “Girl Math”

Justifying Luxury With “Girl Math”


We had our cake at “girl dinner.” Now, we have to spend for it too with “girl math”

Buying the Gucci x Balenciaga hourglass bag costs PHP 125,000. If we use it 100 days of the year, that’s PHP 1,250 per use. If we use only that bag for both day and night, that’s PHP 625. Is it worth it? More importantly, do we still have enough for our must-have iced coffee to start the day? Such is girl math.

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Spending is often scrutinized and financial decisions are dissected like a Shakespearean tragedy, with every purchase becoming a soliloquy of justifications and a dramatic plot twist in the story of our wallets. With that, a peculiar trend has emerged: Girl Math. It’s a phenomenon where women, in the age of luxury and indulgence, employ wit, humor, and creative justifications to justify their lavish purchases. But as it goes viral, it raises intriguing questions about consumer psychology, gender roles, and societal expectations.

The rise of girl math

On the landscape of social media, trends come and go like seasonal fashion, but girl math seems to have struck a chord with women and Gen Z. They are using this trend to break down the cost per use or wear, often turning extravagant purchases into seemingly practical investments. 

Heart Evangelista
Photo: HEART EVANGELISTA (via Instagram)

This quirky trend, which has its origins in the unlikeliest of places, a New Zealand radio show, has found its home and voice on social media platforms, most notably TikTok. In the span of just a few viral videos and catchy hashtags, it has transcended borders, reaching millions of women who enthusiastically embrace and contribute to its impulsive narrative.

At its core, it represents a seismic shift in the way individuals, predominantly women, view and justify their purchases. It’s a trend that celebrates the art of clever reasoning, transforming seemingly extravagant expenses into prudent investments, one witty calculation at a time. From designer handbags to spa days and fancy dinners, women are now wielding humor and creative justifications as their trusty weapons against budgetary guilt.

girl math shoes
Photo: KYLIE JENNER (via Instagram)

The allure lies not only in its humorous approach, but also in its relatability. As users across social media platforms share their moments, they connect on a level of shared experience, where the daily struggle between desire and fiscal responsibility becomes a communal bonding point.

Photo: JACQUEMUS (via Instagram)

The gendered lens

At the heart of it all lies a puzzling question: Why do women feel the need to justify their purchases in this elaborate and humorous manner, while men, stereotypically, don’t engage in such behavior? 

One argument is that society has conditioned women to be more financially responsible, often expecting them to manage the household budget and make prudent choices. In contrast, men may not feel the same societal pressure to justify their purchases, often buying items that bring them joy or enhance their hobbies without the need for extensive calculations.

camille co
Photo: CAMILLE CO (via Instagram)

This gendered disparity raises intriguing questions about the underlying expectations placed upon women and the unequal burden of financial responsibility that persists in many households. It challenges traditional norms and invites us to reconsider why women often feel compelled to employ girl math to defend their indulgences. Generalization aside, this seems to lie only in the name itself, for everybody tackles it one way or another.

girl math collections
Photo: KYLIE JENNER (via Instagram)

Harmless fun or a warning sign?

While many see it as harmless fun, a way to add humor to daily life, some financial experts raise concerns. They worry that this trend may inadvertently encourage overspending or reliance on buy-now-pay-later services, potentially leading to financial instability.

Brands, too, find themselves at a crossroads. Some have playfully engaged with it, while others tread cautiously, wary of promoting irresponsible spending habits. The question for brands becomes whether they should encourage this trend or use their influence to foster financial responsibility.

Heart evangelista
Photo: HEART EVANGELISTA (via Instagram)

A mirror to societal norms

Girl math is more than just a lighthearted trend; it’s a reflection of societal norms, expectations, and the complex relationship between women, spending, and self-justification. It challenges us to rethink why women often resort to humor and creativity when explaining their purchases and whether such gendered behavior should persist in our evolving society.

gabbi garcia
Photo: GABBI GARCIA (via Instagram)

As consumerism and self-expression collide, girl math shines a spotlight on the need for a broader conversation about gender roles, financial literacy, and societal pressures. As we continue to navigate this trend, one could ask if we should strive for a more equitable and understanding perspective that allows everyone, regardless of gender, to indulge without the need for elaborate justifications. Do we really need to buy from the new collection of every designer in all seasons? No, but we’ll convince ourselves to buy it anyway.

Featured Image: HEART EVANGELISTA (via Instagram)

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