Mad about the cost of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's haircut? Welcome to a woman's world.

Source: Independent

Scrolling through Twitter earlier this week, you likely saw one of the biggest scandals of the year unfold. No, I'm not talking about #WagathaChristie, I'm talking about...Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's haircut!

Yes, the politician got a $300 haircut and it has divided the internet. There are the men in politics who have criticised her for it and women everywhere who sympathise with the absurdity of salon prices.

The Washington Times broke the story on Wednesday, claiming she had splurged on a 'high-dollar hairdo'. For context, $300 is around £230 - and that, they calculated, included a cut, lowlights and a generous tip. So not a particularly shocking amount considering women in the UK are spending an average of £756 a year on hair.

Of course, the real scandal here is not that AOC spent $300 of her own money on a cut and colour, but the fact that it has caused any outrage at all. This is what women are expected to pay for a decent haircut - and they're expected to pay it every six to eight weeks!

While men are generally sold a quick trim and a two-in-one shampoo (because they obviously have more important things to worry about than how they look), women are encouraged to spend more money and time on hair products and treatments in an attempt to live up to society's unrealistic beauty standards.  

Not only are women encouraged to buy more products but they typically cost more too. A 2016 study found that women and girls are paying 37% more than men for the same products. This 'Pink Tax' is an additional cost on clothes, toys and basic hygiene items like razors, hairbrushes and deodorant, which are marketed specifically to women. Often the only difference is that they're pink in colour. 

Oh, and let's not forget 'Tampon Tax'. Because blood seeping from your genitalia once a month is a luxury, ladies!

If all that wasn't bad enough, there's also the gender pay gap (currently 8.6% here in the UK), which means women in full-time employment make 8.6% less than men in full-time employment. So if men's haircuts cost an average of just £13.70, then they're not only earning more but they're spending less.

So AOC is literally being targeted for being a woman, because it's highly unlikely that Times' article would ever have been written about a man. What this over reaction ultimately comes down to is our habit of using women's femaleness to shame and silence them.

AOC hit back at the double standards of criticising women in politics but she kept it professional, pointing out the lack of outrage over Mike Pence's spending of tax-payer's funds to visit Trump's golf courses.

It's worth noting that if she didn't invest in a 'good' haircut, she would likely be called out for not caring enough about her appearance and have her professional capabilities questioned as a result, as has happened previously for her fashion choices. When something as superficial as hair is breaking news, it's no wonder women feel like hair is everything.

And so, for those who just don't get it, I'll end with a quote from the second season of Fleabag where the titular character sums up women's relationships with their hair perfectly, saying to her hairdresser:

"We wish it wasn't so we could think about something else occasionally. But it is. It's the difference between a good day and a bad day. We're meant to think that it's a symbol of power, that it's a symbol of fertility. Some people are exploited for it, and it pays your fucking bills. Hair is everything."

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