Q&A| Why the consumerism of fashion is easier to influence females than males?

By Christine Tsui

Translated by Rachel Wang


(The question from Zhihu.com)

Why the consumerism is easier to influence females than males?

For example, if advertorials boast the effects of some skin care products or list the must-buy bags of XX brands, many a girl would immediately set up for shopping at any cost, some even involved in nude photos as loan guarantees. But boys are hardly to be persuaded to purchase.


Actually, the question is not accurate enough. The questioner puts up with “Why the consumerism is easier to influence females than males?”, but his or her description only involves clothes and cosmetics stuff, in another word, living goods of fashion. So, the examples could not be comprehensive. Is buying a car not consumption? Is it still dominated by the female?

Therefore, it’s not appropriate to label consumerism as women’s priority, for it is only the discrepant consumption habits. The male chases quality when the female chases styles; the male resents shopping the living goods when the female is crazy about it in instinct; the male targets clearly the necessities when the female always pay for impulse…

As to the reason, I suppose only the consumption psychologists hold the right answer.

So, if the questioner is confused with female consumption behavior, I would recommend adjusting the question itself, to be more precisely, “Why the consumerism of fashion is easier to influence females than males?”

Above all, compared with men, women more intend to dress themselves up. Other than the instinct elements, women also need to be beautiful to live in this world for long historical periods, which could not be separated from the evolution of female’s social positions.

Not until the World War II could the independence of the female realize. For thousands of years, women could not survive without men. In order to outperform the other women, one must show off herself with appearance advantages, when the education opportunities are not always open to the female, which means a woman is hardly able to attract men with knowledge. By the way, men may not admire clever women at all. In the appearance competition, girls dress up and make up as much as they can, so the consumption is reasonable.

From this view, apart from the instinctive pursuit of beauty, the male’s hunting for pretty girls stimulates women’s passion for fashion. Girls pay for fashion and boys pay for the girls.

However, an answer like this is not comprehensive enough.

For example, more and more independent females live on themselves instead of males, so it is increasingly not necessary for these girls to cater for men’s tastes. But many of them still have much passion for fashion goods. So, what does fashion mean for them?

Many people, especially men, would like to label the women who are passionate for fashion as shallow ones. This sort of judgement obviously is out of the ones who do not understand the true fashion. In fact, fashion affects people’s behaviors and inner world greatly, instead of only function as decoration.

For instance, a woman in the high heel shoes would feel differently when in the sneakers, elegant the former but energetic the latter. I know it may be confusing for males, so gentlemen could image the feeling in a suit. Is it the same to the feeling in sports wears? Would even your way of walking change?

From that, fashion functions not only decorations but also communication—a channel to one’s own heart and to others’ inner world as well. Just like the first impression on a person is mainly rely on his or her appearance.

Obviously, females are better at express themselves through appearance than males.

Yet, in the recent years, more and more men would like to pay attention to the appearance and dressing, for they have become aware of fashion as communication functions that more than languages do, and the emergence of fashion consumption of men may also make a difference.


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