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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Women and the Myth of Consumerism

Women and the Myth of Consumerism

Chapter:
(p.40) Women and the Myth of Consumerism
Source:
The Essential Ellen Willis
Author(s):

Nona Willis Aronowitz

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.003.0005

This chapter argues that the theory of consumerism as applied to women is blatantly sexist and must be discarded because it is a “bullshit ideology created by and for educated white middle-class males.” As expounded by many leftist thinkers, the theory of consumerism maintains that consumers are psychically manipulated by the mass media to crave more and more consumer goods, and thus power an economy that depends on constantly expanding sales. The theory is said to be particularly applicable to women because they do most of the actual buying, their consumption is often directly related to their oppression (for example, makeup, soap flakes), and they are a special target of advertisers. According to this view, the society defines women as consumers, and the purpose of the prevailing media image of women as passive sexual objects is to sell products. It follows that the beneficiaries of this depreciation of women are not men but the corporate power structure.

Keywords:   theory of consumerism, women, consumers, mass media, consumer goods, consumption, oppression, men

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