Fiske Assignment – Kaitlyn Ammerman

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

In relation to the Fiske reading and my current experience shopping at the Lynden Park Mall in Brantford last week, I couldn’t help but notice a few things that were mentioned in Fiske’s article. First, I noticed the young people. Fiske mentioned about Pressdee (1986) analysis on a promotional slogan basically saying that everyone is welcome to shop, giving a false sense of equality when really only those who have money are actually the ones welcome to shop. This then spins into undireable youths present at the malls. these youths are still at the age that they are too young or unwilling to work and are mostly likely living off of mom and dad but yet they still somehow dominate the mall scene. This is true, because when I went to the mall, the majority of people I saw there were young teenagers or preteens, hanging out in the food court with their friends, window shopping with no intention to buy (proletarian shopping) or just simply eating and talking. The mall has been associated as a gathering place for most people, and most importantly by youths due to their age prohibiting them from gathering at other institutions such as bars or night clubs, and being too old to desire hanging out at home with mom and dad. I know this because, I, and I’m sure many of us, were once rebellious mallrats using the mall as a hang out spot, even if we knew we didn’t have the money to use the mall for what it was meant for, shopping. This is why teenagers in the shopping malls are commonly associated with troublesome loitering due to this stereotypical fear that has been linked to teenagers. They are seen as having no sufficient funds to actually purchase commodities leading to some people asking the question why they are even there in the first place? Immediately store owners/employees, mall patrol, ‘older folk’, might see these young person’s being there to either steal or cause ‘trickery’ as Fiske defines, such as hiding underage drinking. Another association I made with Fiske’s article and my shopping experience was the commonly held notion that shopping is mainly an outlet for women. He mentions the ideology that women use shopping as a way to gain power; purchasing power. It is a “…symptom of the need for control, for cultural autonomy and for security that the economic system denies subordinate people.” (320) I noticed while I was shopping last week, and many shopping trips in the past, that the malls are directly geared to women. I went to the mall with my boyfriend because he wanted to purchase a new pair of jeans. Now, as for me, I know that when I go to the mall, I will not have a problem finding jeans since I know there is an array of stores to choose from, in order words, a surplus of stores to ‘choose my identity’  from since the majority of the boutique stores are geared to women. However, this task is far more challenging for my boyfriend since there is barely any stores directed towards men (unless it’s video games, electronics, or professional suits).  So this told me very clearly that men are not the ones expected to be at the mall. This supports the notion that Fiske mentiones how “…society addresses women as consumers and men as producers.” I interpreted this as men are considered to be too busy for leisure time such as shopping since they are the ones producing; working and making money. So the shopping mall is a way for women to be empowered within the strict confines of a patriarchal society and the roles that that society has cast them. I feel that things are much different these days since this kind of thinking since women are far more empowered, are producing more than ever before, and are most definitely a part of the public sphere as men are. However, consumption is still more strongly associated with women than men, at least in the mall atmosphere. I guess on a positive twist, we now have the best of both worlds.

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