WHEN I decided that I wanted to rally behind a cause I created called Bring Back the Bush, I didn’t realise what kind of a roller coaster ride it would take me on.
After a break up, I realised the only person I needed to be concerned with down there was me.
People laughed, people assumed I was a tree hugging hippy that had lost her mind (I said bush not forest!) People were concerned I would never get laid (I guarantee you — it is still a vagina).
But instead of intimidating me, I realised how much money I was saving and it encourage me to start asking questions never considered in the past.
Why did I start waxing down there in the first place? How much does it cost to upkeep my vagina annually? And, hang on, why are we paying tax on tampons? Is there a reason laser on our vagina’s is on the rise? And again. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HAIR?
So I started to do the sums. And the time. And the sums.
Here are my findings. Ladies — let’s be educated on how much a body part of ours is costing us, and men, let me educate you on just what these out of pocket expenses are. (That some you could be contributing to!)
Waxing is not only a costly experience but a painful one. Yes, your hair may have thinned out and you may be numb from waxing your sacred space for ten years, but that doesn’t change the cost!
$60 a pop every month.
If you want to up your commitment and really say to the world “I would like to look like my prepubescent self for LYF” then laser is potentially for you. Laaaaaser to your private parts (Said like Austin Powers). Some say extreme (me), many say necessary. (And apparently “the cost effective option!”)
$60 per session (Average 6-8 weeks).
$480 annually (roughly).
Not optional. Just do it. But it’s important to find a doctor you are comfortable with, and in my case that doctor doesn’t bulk bill. Just to clarify — I am sure there are MANY incredible doctors who bulk bill, so this cost is varied.
FREE — $30 annually.
I may have just lost some of you at this point. And I am not referring to the men. A lot of us chicks are incredibly uncomfortable talking about periods, admitting we have them and surrendering to when we feel anything that is related to them. It’s a real body / women shaming issue.
But if you are still with me; on average, a woman has her period from three to seven days at a time and the average woman menstruates from age 13 until age 51. That means the average woman endures some 456 total periods over 38 years, or roughly 2,280 days with her period — 6.25 years of her life.
But while this is doing magical things to our body, and allowing us to create actual humans, it is EXPENSIVE to be magic baby making fairies (especially since the government chooses to capitalise from our mandatory body functionality). Plus, it can be painful.
I use a Diva Cup (in case you were wondering) And thanks to my gal pal Kristie Mercer, you can watch me try it for the first time here:
Believe it or not, I did get used to using this little bad boy, so this has been a game changer for me in terms of cost. However, the average Australia woman uses tampons or pads and the cost across a year is huge.
On average a woman uses a tampon every 6 hours = 4 tampons per day x 5 days of a period = 20 tampons per cycle x 456 periods = 9,120 tampons. That’s a lot of tampons!
But annually, if you were to use a double packet of tampons, a packet of panty liners and pads for night time, some pain relief (Naprogesic is more expensive that other pain relief) and maybe a replacement pair of knickers per period you are up for:
And lastly, the expense and responsibility that fall’s predominantly on women’s shoulders. Yasmin, Juliette, Diane, Brenda — all familiar names that are not TV Characters from the 90s. They are names of common contraceptive pills that many Australian women use.
We started taking the pill over 50 years ago and it is the most popular method of contraception, but is still very much a sole female expense. In past relationships — once we reached the two year mark — I would have a conversation with my partner about it being a shared cost. And while the conversation wasn’t exactly an argument, it certainly wasn’t a celebrated or welcomed conversation either.
And I know some of you aren’t even having the conversation. Why more pills aren’t on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) list to give greater choice and affordability to women is another conversation altogether.
So let’s grab the calculator. I quit Maths in year 10.
Our vaginas cost approximately $1700 a year.
To work out a lifetime average times $1700 x 40 (average years of woman who menstruates)
That’s a whooping $68,000 IN YOUR LIFETIME. It adds up.
I have been saving for a house for 65 years already.
I’ll leave this with you. But before I go did you know that Walt Disney made a movie about menstruation called The Story of Menstruation in 1946. It most likely is the first film to use the word “vagina”.