Gender Studies | Problems in Gender Studies: Gender and Consumer Culture
G402 | 9693 | Wilk, R


Even in tiny farming villages in the highlands of New Guinea, men
and women wear different clothes, display different kinds of jewelry
and adornments, and have distinct kinds of possessions. Today
Americans believe that tiny baby boys and girls need different kinds
of toys, books, diapers and even soap. In this class we will explore
the way that gender is created with and through the things we buy,
own, wear and eat. We will look at the way our society, built on
consumption and mass media, creates and enforces particular ideas
about gender through material culture. The class will read about the
history of shopping, cooking, cosmetics, clothing, and cars. A good
deal of the semester will be devoted to fieldwork aimed at
excavating our own gendered consumption practices, the meanings of
our own possessions. We will ask if it is possible to change or
challenge gender norms and stereotypes through our own shopping and
consumption.