Can we stop doing fashion-based studies? Or conducting them only on horrible people? They don’t reveal much of anything and they keep reinforcing hilariously dumb stereotypes. Like, for example, that women are emotionally unhinged insecure psychopaths who buy designer purses to “prevent other women from stealing their man.” Because what we really needed was data suggesting this is so.
Anyway! A new study has University of Minnesota researchers discovering that some women use Chanel purses to threaten off romantic rivals. And it works! Sigh.
Researchers used five experiments featuring 649 women of varying ages and relationship statuses to discover how women’s luxury products often function as a signaling system directed at other women who pose a threat to their romantic relationships.
“It might seem irrational that each year Americans spend over $250 billion on women’s luxury products with an average woman acquiring three new handbags a year, but conspicuous consumption is actually smart for women who want to protect their relationship,” says associate professor Vladas Griskevicius. “When a woman is flaunting designer products, it says to other women ‘back off my man.’”
Apparently a woman with a fancy designer handbag is perceived as someone with a “more devoted partner,” and therefore other women are less likely to try and steal him (and his wallet), because all women do is compete for men and beat each other mercilessly with $2000 purses in Swarovski-studded Thunderdomes. But… doesn’t this make zero sense?
No matter! Apparently some women are very threatened by interlocking C’s and G’s.
In another study by the same team, researchers “made participants feel jealous by having them imagine that another woman was flirting with their man.” Shortly after, participants were prompted to draw a designer logo on a handbag. The results showed that “when women felt jealous, they drew designer logos that were twice the size of those in the other conditions.” Couldn’t that just mean extreme emotions encourage exaggerated drawings…?
No. The conclusion to all of this, of course, is: “Women’s designer products are geared to show off to other women not men.”
And that you are a jealous, insecure harpy.