Shelley Zimner Quiz 2

Posted: February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

John Fiske’s reading discusses shopping as a religion, specifically with regards to women. The reading highlights several factors that showcase women as the target consumer in the shopping culture. One major, umbrella characterization that links women to the obsession that is shopping, is the social aspect. Fiske makes connections between malls and social gatherings, including window shopping and using the space as an indoor exercise track, amongst others. I point out the social aspect of shopping malls because it seems to be the most evident form of ‘shopping’ in the mall in my town.     

            Over reading week I went to my local mall early in the morning just as the stores were opening. I went with my mother who uses the gym at the mall; while she exercised, I walked around going in and out of stores with no intention of buying – I was just ‘looking’ for the sake of passing time. Walking around I mostly saw elderly people walking the empty floors and new mothers with their baby’s in strollers walking in groups. Both types of ‘walkers’ were in the mall for the social element offered through the shopping culture. Few people were actually shopping. When I walked into stores many people, mainly women were just browsing and looking at which products appeared to be new. I was included in this group. Another interesting fact I noticed in this particular mall was that more than 50% of the stores were oriented towards women, either through merchandise or advertisements (including window displays and store decorations). This dynamic could be aiding the feminization of the shopping culture.

            It appears as though shopping and associations made with malls as a woman’s domain are in part due to the make-up of a mall. It is not the consumers that have turned shopping or malls and their respective associations into a feminine activity/location. It is in fact those who hold the power to build and expand the malls that have created a feminine culture around shopping. According to the male and female characteristics list on page 313 of the reading, malls satisfy a woman’s character much more than a man. My experience in the mall that day reflects Fiske’s findings: malls are a feminine industry built to satisfy a woman’s engrained need to spend and consume in a leisurely manner and feeling empowered while doing so. 

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