Thursday, July 11, 2019

Feminine Differential - Shopping/Gathering

Several Saturday ago I had some time to kill  between getting my hair done and heading to an evening wine tasting. With my hair done I felt good about how I looked and upon entering the mall immediately felt drawn to do some serious looking/shopping.

After a wonderful stop at Talbots and finding several item that I adored, a calm sense of accomplishment came over me. No buyers remorse yet and as I carried my multicolored very feminine shopping bag to the car, I ask why this sense of accomplishment?

I long ago accepted the premise that there is a strong feminine component to my personality. In some ways this allows me to understand some of the fundamentals of being what I am (inner-self) and how I relate to many female activities. i.e. I have a sensitive nature; in some situations I am less dominant; and love to shop

Psychology Today in an article written by Steve Taylor Ph.D. noted that "Men Don't Like Shopping and (Most) Women Do - These are the origins of our attitudes toward shopping."  

For hundreds of thousands of years, until around 8,000 B.C.E., all human beings lived as hunter-gatherers — that is, they survived by hunting wild animals (the man’s job) and foraging for wild plants, nuts, fruits, and vegetables (the woman’s job). I learned a lot of surprising things about the "hunter-gatherer" lifestyle in my research. Interestingly, women were the main breadwinners in hunter-gatherer groups. Anthropologists estimate that women’s gathering provided around 80-90 percent of the groups' food...

And this brings us back to shopping — because these instincts may show themselves in our shopping habits. When most women shop, they are in more of a 'gathering' mode — browsing from tree to tree (or shop to shop), looking for ripe and nutritious fruit. They spend a lot of time examining the food, checking its freshness and edibility, and they discard quite a lot of it. At the end of the trip, they return home laden with a wide variety of food stuffs (or shopping bags). 

In 2009, anthropologists Kruger and Byker found very clear similarities between modern men and women's shopping habits and our hunter-gatherer past. They found that women were more inclined to spend extended time browsing around shopping malls, while men more inclined to buy what they needed and then leave straight away.* 

A very interesting concept - So my successful gathering trip a few weeks back has historical justification.  That is my story.....  


*Daniel Kruger and Dreyson Byker. 2009. "Evolved Foraging Psychology Underlies Sex Differences in Shopping Experiences and Behaviors." Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 315-327.


  1. I wonder how foraging the internet may be changing things. I buy some of my clothes online, as well as my "hair," and much of my makeup. I refuse to give in to grocery shopping online, though. My mother taught me how to buy groceries and to take advantage of sales and loss leaders, so I hate it when I don't get the best deals. In the 47 years we have been married, I have, decidedly, been the primary grocery shopper - which has been fine with her, as she dislikes it immensely.

    Back in the days when I was hiding my gender identity, I would hate to go clothes shopping with my wife. I really didn't hate the idea of it, but I felt that I had to feign disinterest, even though I would have loved to have moved away from the Petite section to look at the women's clothing that would fit me. I did look forward to the occasions when I could go shopping for clothes to give her as gifts, though! There was a time when at least half her wardrobe was made up of clothes that I had given her; she was very well dressed! ;-)

  2. Ha! I read my own comment, and it reads as though I have been married to my own mother for 47 years! Believe me, I may have ended up being a lot like my mother, even to the point that we knew enough to limit our visits. I always joke that many men marry women who remind and resemble their own mothers, where I, on the other hand, just resemble my own mother. :-)

  3. HI Connie, I did get a chuckle out of that but knew what you were talking about. I did the same for my x-wife. She was always the best dressed at events we attended together.

  4. Velma pleads "guilty", too. I am the shopper/forager in our family. I also do all the cooking, as my wife calls me 'her world class cook'.
    I also shop with my wife when she looks for clothes. We both have (maybe I should state 'had') similar hair and skin tones (both 'spring/summer' color palate) and our tastes in color choices are similar.
    I must remember to remember to NOT shop for myself during such outings.

  5. After reading the article, I must admit that I too am the gatherer in the marriage. One aspect is that, yes, I look at clothes when we are shopping together but if we are out to buy her new clothes, I always look mostly for her.
    It's only when we are buying for me that we have a tendency to buy for both.