We all know the stereotypical “high maintenance” woman. She’s picky. She spends too long getting ready. She has to have her nails done, and all her clothes have to be designer. But is having a high standard of living and happiness really all that bad? As a woman who has been accused of being high maintenance, I have a lot of thoughts on this matter.

There is no one definition of being high maintenance. What seems completely over-the-top ridiculous to one person could be totally reasonable to another. Some people might categorize me as high maintenance, but I love to pamper myself.

I’m infatuated with shoes. I spend at least two hours getting ready, and I love designer handbags. These traits don’t define my entire personality, but they are things I enjoy. There are plenty of girls out there who enjoy the same “girly” things like me. The idea of being high maintenance is almost exclusively applied to women, and it is usually associated with negative connotations. Simply Google “high maintenance woman”, and a slew of articles appear with titles like “10 Signs She’s Too High Maintenance” and “15 Signs You’re a High Maintenance Woman.”

These women are associated with “princess-like” behavior and thinking they’re above other people. In these articles, some of the traits are “she’s consumed by her appearance,” and “she doesn’t stop complaining.” These traits are undoubtedly annoying, but they don’t necessarily make a person high maintenance. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some people who are downright unpleasant, and have annoying personalities and behavior, but someone’s bad attitude shouldn’t automatically assign them a high maintenance title.

In these articles, a consistent hallmark of high maintenance women is extreme vanity and an obsession with their appearance. Fifty-six percent of women are dissatisfied with their looks, according to a study from Psychology Today. The average woman spends $300,000 on beauty products, according to Allure magazine. Women are under constant pressure to look a certain way, so many women turn to spending lots of money on beauty products, clothing and accessories. Having the traits of a “high maintenance” woman can be emblematic of deeper problems with body image and self esteem. There are few women (and men) who have never suffered from insecurity and in a society that often judges women almost entirely on outer beauty. Therefore, it’s no surprise that some women become obsessed with looking perfect.

Some people are “high maintenance” but that’s not horrible. There are much worse traits a person can have than having high standards and many traits a person can possess that are worse than being high maintenance.

Email Teresa Acierno at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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