COMM370 Week 13 Responses

1 May

Throughout “The New Politics of Consumption” I found myself calculating my base living expenses that I can get by on in a year.  I figured out that I could get by alright on $12,000 a year.  But then, I factor in all of the things that I want which are purely the leisure activities that Schor talks about.  I want books and lots of them.  Naturally, that ties hand in hand with comic books.  On top of that, I wouldn’t mind dining out here and there.  Nor, would I mind the occasional videogame or two.  Overall, my leisure activities plus gas for the car would probably add up to an extra $3000 a year.  $15,000 a year isn’t that bad.  Of course, this would be scraping by paycheck to paycheck.  So, I feel inevitably bound to this politics of consumption.

Addressing African American consumption was rather interesting.  It seemed like a no-brainer for advertisers to gear their messages to both a white and a black audience.  Especially when 3/4ths of African Americans say that they will buy more from companies if they have representation in ads.  I found that Blacks spending money on depriciable objects was interesting.  It seems as if Blacks spend more of their money buying things that they don’t necessarily need rather than saving up.  This puts them into the cycle of debt that seems as if it was a trick created by White people trying to maintain their power.  Mueller’s breakdown of the Emulators, Seekers, Reachers, Attainers, Elites, and Conservers is also very interesting because it categorizes buying habits and influence.

Engstrom’s article on weddings is also very compelling.  I find it interesting how she explores the notion of the “bridezilla” who is so domineering over their wedding excluding their future husbands and craving perfection.  I understand that Engstrom was mostly focusing on just The Knot’s shows, but putting some attention onto the bridezilla reality show phenomenon would be quite productive (I wonder if Engstrom has followed up and done an argument on that).  Overall, the notion that weddings reinforce femininity is interesting, but it makes me wonder on what happens when the wedding is not hetero-normative.  What then does the wedding stress?  Another point that I found interesting was when Engstrom explained that people go all out on their weddings (which often forces them into early debt) because it allows the women to live as a princess and for the two of them to go up a social class for a day.  I’ve never really thought about weddings this way before, but it makes a lot of sense.  Nevertheless, I have always thought of my possible wedding (if and when it happens) to be very low-key.

Gill’s struggle with picking apart modern advertising seemed very intriguing.  I can see how it is difficult to critique anything that emphasizes a woman’s choice as being anti-feminist.  Yet, Gill succeeds in explaining that the woman may get her choice, but it is always as a sexual object.  This basically makes objectification of the female body appropriate, and thus the midriff becomes merely a piece of the body that is erotic.  This struggle over deciphering the modern advertisement shows that it takes extra work for a feminist to fight against a post-feminist ideology.

Jackson Katz article on masculinity scares me because, well, masculinity scares me in general.  I suppose, more appropriately, hyper-masculinity scares me.  I am masculine, but I also enjoy embracing my feminine side as well.  So, when rugged and rough advertising mixed in with sport and army imagery hits my retinas, I tend to be overwhelmed.  I understand that I need to voice out against this hyper-masculinity, but sometimes it is just too overwhelming.  Nevertheless, I think Katz intends for the male audience to tone down their masculinity and open up.  This way, a lot of conflict can be resolved peacefully and violence against women or just violence in general will recede.

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