Shopping, Empowering or Demeaning? (Leisha)

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Fiske toys with the idea of shopping as a manipulator and shopping as a tool of empowerment, although ultimately we know which one has more legitimacy, the idea is flushed out thoroughly enough to begin a real discussion. When malls advertise that entrance to a mall, the ticket, is for everyone, he stealthily points out that this type of faux democracy is dishonest and wrong. Only people with the buying power can make their way into this comfortable and apparently lovely world. On the other hand, he looks at how shopping has been turned into a mark of strength for women. “When the times get tough, the tough go shopping.” A point that has left men behind, but in reality these examples and many more that were strewn throughout the text have led me to believe that while Fiske may believe that people do in fact drive consumerism and make their own decisions, I’m not so sure if they do. A lot of the mantras and social ideas attributed to people, women in particular, concerning consumerism aren’t beneficial to themselves. Just from practical experience, many of the shopping habits, far from being satiating, do the opposite and instead create a hunger that can never be quenched. So while Fiske laughs at the idea of a shopping mall being a cathedral, calling it a glib interpretation, he fails to recognize the idea that those in a cathedral appear to be living in a democracy as well. Although many of the rules don’t benefit them, they profess to support the system. This is the same when it comes to conspicuous capitalism, vis a vis, a mall setting. The truth is that shopping, the type that we regularly engage in in the west, the type that people talk about on bumper stickers, simply isn’t healthy and we’re doing absolutely no good for ourselves by philosophizing something that neither helps us grow nor satisfies us.

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