The word shopping rings several echoes in a mind, all in different frequencies. The world has transgressed from its ancient old shell to newer blooms although we haven’t changed much in a few aspects. Materialistic pursuit excited us even a few hundred years ago, and it still does. From the time we started living in a cave to the modern day, human beings strived for safety and security and when the basic needs and requirements got fulfilled, we pursued for the aesthetic pursuit.
Shopping is a relatively modern world and only came into vogue after the big shopping malls started erupting from every corner of the modern cities. The early years of 80s and 90s saw a radical change in the mentality of the buyers, something that was once hidden poured out once it became an open chase. The value of life changed and so did its expression. Alexander Pope in his Mock Epic, “Rape of the Lock” descried the mentality of upper middle class or middle class woman of London. They developed a culture around the subject of shopping.
Shopping was not merely a mean of buying or occupying things to them, it was a way through which they could possess their identity, exert their femininity and maintain their way of decorum and class. It is also evident in the era of Anti sentimental comedy where certain things were to be expected from women during shopping and this constituted in a class reservation and discriminatory system in both genders.
Feminism and Shopping
The structure of the patriarchal society was built around the concept of keeping power and possessions in the grasp of male counterparts. However, since the rise of feminism, women became aware of their situation and wanted to change their situation by exercising their rights of equality. Economy was no longer under the shade of male authority and a lot of it started since Queen Elizabeth came into throne. The second wave of it came along the world wars when men had to leave their home for war and women mostly took care of the household, they had to work in industries which gave them the economical freedom.
Consumerism eventually changed along this motion of femininity. Cheryal Glavor, the popular social media influencer discussed this in one of her interviews that how shopping became a method of exerting rights and freedom to many women. This can be seen in an example of the rise of the cigarette brand Marlboro. It chose women in the face if their advertisements to exert the rights of freedom, it was more of an action against the patriarchy than it was a vocation. The willingness to prove to the male counterparts, that women were no longer the second sex, came into action with the idea of shopping.
The modern connotation of it has changed a lot but the essence of it still runs through the core. Shopping still remains one of the popular means of expression; expression of freedom, liberty, rights!