The Growth Of Consumerism And The Commodification Of The Female Image Essay

The Growth Of Consumerism And The Commodification Of The Female Image Essay

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The growth of consumerism and the commodification of the female image has led to the development of two disparate female gender roles. The first, caused by the commodification of the female image, is that women themselves are products to be used by men. This role is reinforced both through ads targeted to men to attract women and ads targeted to women to objectify and beautify themselves to be wanted by men. The second treats women as the specialized consumer. This gender role is that the woman should serve her family by buying specialized products. However, instead of conflicting, these roles combine into a single role where a woman is expected to serve her husband both as an object and as a caretaker.
The female gender is commodified in order to appeal to males and sell the image as a product or to be used to enhance another product. Some industries are focussed on selling the literal image of women. However, many industries use the commodification of women to make their products more appealing to, and therefore profitable to sell to, men. From body sprays to construction tools, the commodification of women is used by corporations to sell their products with the implication that using these products will attract women, or by implying that their products will increase the consumer’s masculinity that will eventually lead to attracting women. Other corporations commodify the image of the female and attach it directly to their own brand image in order to attract male consumers. One restaurant chain uses the image of its totally female wait staff that “projects of happy, sexy, eager-to-serve workers” in order to attract male consumers (Loe, 1996, p. 84). It is through this widespread use of the female image to sell products that fema...


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...ell & Spade, 1996, p. 224). The dysfunction of consumerism affecting the female gender role is then that there is hegemonic pressure in opposite-sex transactions for women to be subservient and for men to be in control.
Corporations reinforce these female gender roles in order to create more demand for consumers to buy their products. Supporting this hegemonic power allows corporations to sell not only to men and women, but to their specific roles. There is hegemonic power for women to buy both beauty products and children’s toys and therefore support consumerism. However, this hegemonic power also enforces the idea that women are to be obedient objects, resulting in more widespread abusive relations between men and women. Despite this, the power of consumerism means that these roles and relations will continue to be held and will continue to grow in hegemonic power.

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