In class yesterday, we discussed women feeling empowered by being able to make the purchases for the household. The quote we looked at reads,
Although she did not earn money, the woman of the house could significantly control the way that it was spent. Advertisers would attempt to manipulate, husbands could limit the funds available, but the ultimate decision(to buy or not to buy) was usually women were empowered. They gained a new form and degree of economic control and they became arbiters of new social values including gender. Advertisements trace the shifting contours of the feminine ideal.
I started to think about purchasing and what it means in a contemporary context. What does it make us as women feel to be consumers? Does it make us feel powerful as Loeb suggests? Though times have changed and (I’m generalizing) the power dynamic between partners in a household has shifted, it seems that the link between purchasing and empowerment still holds truth. Consider the concept of retail therapy. My boyfriend broke up with me, and I went shopping…it helped. Being able to choose the clothes off the rack and bring them home feels good, it is a release of a need to control a situation. Victorian women were given this outlet of control and perhaps they embraced it as I embrace my ability to choose what I wear or what I buy. Money and purchasing come with a feeling of independence and I believe that that independence inspires empowerment. The natural extension of empowerment around purchasing would be to make one’s own means with which to purchase..leading to financial independence as well. It is my understand that for their time and circumstance(generalization acknowledged), the women targeted in advertising campaigns for their ability to chose the household brands were as empowered as they financially and appropriately could be.
Also, I found a cool 3D recreation of the Crystal Palace here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W_MRYJDueU&feature=related