Monday, September 27, 2010
the new politics of consumption/gay lesbian
The first piece of work by Juliet Schor was about consumer culture and the public sphere of consumption and "the new consumerism," which is the extent to which people base their perceptions and purchasing patterns off of. If income is the key to well being, and an estimated 15% of people are satisfied with leading a middle class comfortable life. This is also a contributer of why the savings rate has dramatically decreased within the last twenty to thirty years. This is all due to structural changes including the decline of the economy, the increasing role of mass media and etc, which pressures and penalizes people who cannot meet the standard expectations. I have attached an image from MTV Cribs, a television show that is very popular and it is something that everyone wants, yet very few will ever actually achieve their status. The picture is actually from TEEN cribs, an even longer shot, which is so unrealistic, and half of these kids blow their money by the time they reach their mid twenties, just because of lack of money management and investing. I learned about the decompression zone in this add, which is the section at the entrance of a store where the store owners market their best work and most desirable material because people are 30% more likely to flock to those. Another thing is that a person's well being is all relative to the standard norm, or the well-being of their peers. All things said and done, consumption practices are the rout of maintaining the levels of power and inequality that make our world the way it is, which the author calls her "positional treadmill."
The second reading, "Advertising and the Political Economy of Lesbian/Gay Identity, was short and covered topics and statistics that I was already aware of. It basically just said that gay men contribute to the economy more than lesbians in their fashion spending and are considered more equal because of their more attractive income profile. Gay men really care about their appearance and will spend more money on expensive designer clothes, opposed to lesbians who generally spend less on their looks and go for the more ragged, dirty, boyish look and spend less money on their hair by chopping it off or constantly gelling it. Laumann breaks down homosexuality into three categories: desire, identity, and behavior. I have included an image that is very self explanitory and appropriate for this article. It represents the stereotypical gay man and targets them as readers in these magazines where they publish their adds, such as in GQ, a magazine for men, not necessarily gay men, but in the reading they mention the use of "Gay window advertising" in mainstream men's fashion magazines which is an approach of constructing ads that will be of taste to a gay man but will be gone unnoticed by a straight reader.