Shopping with Fiske – Victoria Gee

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

This weekend, I went to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. I prefer this mall to the Conestoga mall as it has a larger variety of what I consider to be premier brands. According to Fiske’s analysis, I would consider Fairview Park Mall a “middle-class” level shopping mall (325). Unlike a “democratic” level shopping mall, Fairview Park Mall has shop windows, which mark their boundaries with clarity (325). Their store display their products tastefully in windowsills and their products rarely spill out on the public concourse (325). I notice that in the Conestoga mall, their products are much more likely to be lumped in the pedestrian areas with little creativity. I had promised myself that on this particular visit, I would purely be analytical and make absolutely no purchases. In other words, I merely wanted to window-shop; hence, I wanted to ensure that I was exposed to an optimal level of creative brand signage as possible. Fiske suggests that window-shopping is one of the most common practices in consumerism (322). Window-shopping is essentially the consumption of images. Fiske expresses it as a “visual feast” in his work (322). While I was window-shopping I was constantly exposed to idealistically beautiful images of fashionable women. As absurd as it sounds, I wanted to purchase certain articles of clothing that I thought would make me visually appealing too. I really related to Fiske when he said that “women’s narcissistic pleasure, then lies in seeing themselves as idealized objects of the male gaze; as a woman is always the bearer of her own image, sees herself through the eyes of the other” (322). I completely agree with this on a very personal level. Whenever I look in the mirror, I wonder if my appearance is desirable to others. I never ask myself whether my appearance is desirable to me. This is especially evident when I am trying on clothing at a shopping mall. Before deciding whether I will purchase something I ask myself how others would perceive me in the article of clothing. Fiske suggests that in a patriarchal society, commodities are what enable women to be progressive and relate to the social order by finding identities within brands (328).

 

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