Last month I went for my annual mammogram. It’s supposed to prevent women from dying horrible, prolonged, and expensive cancer deaths, so health insurance companies rigorously encourage us to be proactive in maintaining our good health. In addition to the mammo, my health care providers insist I get a companion ultrasound because my titties are as thick and fine as a Kardashian’s ass.
So imagine my surprise when I received a claim recap a few weeks later saying that I’m responsible for approximately $434 of that highly-encouraged preventative care. I didn’t elect to have this procedure, so how could I be charged for preventative care when my insurance plan covers preventative care? I suppose the answer lies ensconced deep within the massive ball of red tape inside any insurance conglomerate. The culprit who made this seemingly arbitrary determination must be a vindictive member of the Itty-Bitty Titty Committee. Or a man. I’ll wager my bloated co-pay on the latter.
This got me thinking how many other financial penalties do I pay just for being a woman?
First, I analyzed the expenditures men incur simply being men. As with women, whatever extra expenses men pay usually pertain to their nether regions. However, their cost is significantly lower and for less consistent lengths of time. As I discovered once browsing a local hardware store, (yes, some lesbians really do enjoy that), some men suffer a tragic condition known as “monkey butt,” a cutsie way of saying chafed ass crack. But that’s only some men, usually men who work strenuous jobs where they work up a good sweat on the daily. Okay. A tube of that magic balm costs them about $7.99 and probably lasts a good six months, depending on how much they sweat or how big their asses are.
Now if you’re a male athlete, you’ll incur the expense of protecting and preserving any and all things testicle-related. You’ll need the jockstrap costing between $8.99 and $25.00, depending on the brand. And you’ll probably also need that special ball powder to keep your mushy little corn hole bag dry during those intense “ball” games. (See what I did there?) And then possibly a can of jock itch spray—if that’s still a thing? It’s been a long time since I had teenage brothers. After thorough research, my findings conclude jock itch spray is indeed still a thing, and it’ll run you about 12 bucks. Again this is probably only a once annual expense, depending on how much you sweat or… how big your balls are?
In either case of monkey butt or athlete’s crotch, men do not suffer these conditions consistently for forty years of their lives as women do with menstruation. I’ll bet there’s even an impressive percentage of men out there who’ve never been affected enough by either affliction to require forking over lots of their own money to treat it.
That brings me back to the women. (Sounds like a country song I could write about my life, but I digress). Here’s a quick and dirty rundown of the expenses women must pay simply by virtue of being women. Foremost, nearly every woman will require pads and/or tampons monthly for a span of about forty years, give or take, with only a small percentage of women who may have medical issues that stop menstruation.
The Huffington Post broke down the average lifetime cost of a woman’s period in an eye-opening 2015 article:
Special Footnotes for the Fellas:
*Panty liners = Think drip pans during your driveway oil changes
*Chocolate = If you think chocolate isn’t an essential for survival during a period, try taking that candy bar out of your lady’s hand and see what happens.
Currently, there’s a push in the US to get public schools to pay for sanitary products for students, replacing the pay dispensers in the girls’ bathrooms. This sounds like a no-brainer. It’s a health and sanitary necessity. To my knowledge nobody in the history of public schools has ever had to pay for their own toilet paper. Why should girls have to pay extra for what their bodies naturally expel once a month? New Hampshire is one state that’s, as usual, ahead of the curve. (Click link below for article)
Again, the cynic in me raises an imperfect eyebrow and posits that if boys started bleeding from their wieners once a month, Congress would call an immediate special session and vote on free wiener pad funding for all public schools nationwide in a hot minute.
Other than that, medications for erectile dysfunction, (a judgment by God… just kidding 🤣 ), are covered in full by most health insurance plans.
But wait. We’re not done with the women expenses. Here’s a list of sometime incidentals specifically associated with the female anatomy as comparable to the above man list:
- Menopause: If you’re like me and at the stage of perimenopause where the symptoms are irritating enough to entertain OTC remedies before you dive right into the prescription HRT that has long been suspected to cause certain cancers, your average cost for a 30-day supply of an OTC supplement is between $10-25. For you mathematics enthusiasts, you can multiply that cost times 12 and then that number by 5 because that’s how many years the average menopause takes. (Approx. $800)
- Sanity Maintenance: I would be remiss if I did not include the additional cost of alcohol and/or sedatives necessary to survive some days living as a woman in a man’s world, (i.e. mansplaining, manspreading, man making more money for doing the same job). These supplies are especially crucial for women raising children. (Wine costs incalculable unless you’re Rain Man.)
- Cooch Care: Lest we forget the colorful array of conditions that can arise merely from having intercourse with men, delightful things like UTIs or vaginal bacterial imbalances or STDs that can result when men don’t wear condoms. All of these will require some type of treatment as they rarely go away by themselves. (Thank you, dear Sappho, for exempting me from at least one of these groups.)
Women’s rights advocates have spent the last fifty or so years unpacking and debating the importance of gender equality, how women can do anything men can do and should be compensated equally for it, and so on. But when will gender equity have its day? When will society realize that things like feminine sanitary products and ultrasounds for at-risk women and other expenses relating to proper health care are not luxuries women can live without? They are not incidentals that result from something that a woman chooses to do, like, for instance, participate in sports.
We have a long-standing tradition in this country among law and policy makers of ignoring these extra financial burdens on women, yet the moment a treatment for a penis-related crisis like ED arises, insurance is on top of it without question.
The battle still rages on.
So until women achieve full gender equity, each time I catch a male stealing a glimpse of my ample, expensive-to-keep-on-the-road titties, he’s getting a “sir” charge just for being a man. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but neither is making girls who aren’t even old to get jobs pay for sanitary products. Or insurance companies telling a woman she needs preventative care and then using evasive tactics like arbitrarily designating the costlier preventative procedures as non-preventative care to avoid paying claims.
As for the ladies who may sneak a peek at my dense, dazzling duo, this one’s on me. You pay for enough already. 😘
Follow Jean on Twitter @jeaniecopes and Insta @jeaniecopesauthorTweet