Well, the jig is up, ladies. You aren't buying that designer handbag for you, or for fashion. You're buying it to show other bitches exactly who's boss, so that when they take one look at the cool, reptilian superiority of your crocodile Birkin, they get the message: You have a man, and they better stay the fuck away from him. Oh, and if you're single? This step-off-bitch insurance policy covers any future men you might date with a swift, preemptive fuck-off. Worth every penny.
Nope, not kidding: University of Minnesota researchers discovered after conducting experiments with 649 ladies that some women "use conspicuous consumption to protect their relationships" by basically inflating their status to show that their partners are devoted, their relationships impenetrable.
Says Carson School of Management Associate Prof Vladas Griskevicius:
"When a woman is flaunting designer products, it says to other women ‘back off my man.’"
The experiments did things like determine what other women infer about a gal's status in a relationship after seeing her holding a big expensive purse. Apparently, it's not any of the things I might think, like:
- Sheesh, what's with the purse
- Hey, get a load of purse over here
- I hate big purses
- I hate purses
- I just want to carry stuff in my pockets
- I don't want to carry any stuff at all, actually
- Can you get a car key implanted in the palm of your hand?
No, it's wow, she must have a devoted partner, better not fuck with that shit.
Then there's this thing:
In another study, Griskevicius and Wang made participants feel jealous by having them imagine that another woman was flirting with their man. Shortly afterward, the women completed a seemingly unrelated task in which they drew a luxury brand logo on a handbag. The result? When women felt jealous, they drew designer logos that were twice the size of those in the other conditions.
"The feeling that a relationship is being threatened by another woman automatically triggers women to want to flash Gucci, Chanel, and Fendi to other women," explains Wang. "A designer handbag or a pair of expensive shoes seems to work like a shield, where wielding a Fendi handbag successfully fends off romantic rivals."
And it's not just that women supposedly flash their purses like gang signs in the night, they also desired other expensive things when threatened, like cell phones and go ahead, take a guess OK SHOES. They were also willing to drop 32% more dough on a chance to win a luxury spending spree?
Men resort to conspicuous consumption to peacock their way into the hearts/minds/beds of others, too. It's just that dudes do it to attract mates, whereas women do it to repel rivals. A purse is the coyote piss in your Romance Protection Plan ™.
All this allegedly explains why a dude can't tell the difference between a $50 handbag and a $5,000 one. Because he's not supposed to be able to. Women are supposed to.
Incidentally, I cannot tell the difference between a $50 handbag and a $5,000 luxury good. Which leads to me to wonder: What about us women who are handbag-dumb? Are we not good enough to be part of this catfight? I think to cover all the bases, women should consider finding purses that signal to all women that their love is as secure as the clasp on a Lana Marks Cleopatra Bag.
- Leave price tag on purse.
- Attach claws to outside of handbag.
- Fill purse with marbles, banana peels.
- Place handbag clearly in front of boyfriend's crotch at all times.
- Carry purse comprised of stitched-together love letters from boyfriend.
- Make handbag out of pictures of boyfriend in various devoted acts around the house.
- Carry purse made of large bear trap.
- Carry bag shaped like giant scrotum.
- Carry giant purse with boyfriend in it at all times.
Surprisingly to the researchers, this whole bitch-repellent purse thing worked even for single women. It said, "I might not have a man now, but if you would please cordially fuck off in advance for when I do kthxbye."
All of this can also be accomplished by being comprised entirely of metal spikes.