Consumerist Fantasies: Women Buy for Independence, Men for Virility

The recession is over, to hear economists talk.  Of course, in the land of Hollywood, it never really happened.  But in the influx of escapist movies hitting your local theater, one trend has become apparent: chicks should totally buy more stuff.

Jezabel writes about two of the latest releases: the newly opened “It’s Complicated” and the soon to be released “Sex In the City 2.”  Both movies are dripping in female consummerist fantasies, from accessories to household goods to kitchens, bedrooms and closets so opulently overdone they could rent by the hour.  They also both feed the same message to women — owning nice things is a sign of your independence.

Post-feminism is indeed confusing, and the answer both SATC and the Meyers oeuvre seem to offer is to become the sugar daddy you want to marry, and then give yourself lots of expensive presents.

It’s a tempting message to want to embrace.  Much like many people who have cut back in recent years, I would love an excuse to buy myself something pretty.  To tell me that consumption is the greatest proof of my own feminism is like telling a dieter that he should eat a box of cookies to prove he can still appreciate good baking.   The two are highly unrelated, but sometimes all we need is a good justification.

Men are also being given a similar message in an attempt to bait them into spending.  To play on their manliness, they are being offered commercials explaining that buying things makes them more masculine. For example, driving a minivan is sign of their virility.

There are guys who will smirk at you for buying a Dodge Grand Caravan. For some reason, having a JD Powered dependability award winning 3 row minivan isn’t manly enough. Think about that for a second. Filling a car with 5 of your offspring isn’t manly enough?

It’s an interesting juxtaposition of marketing, however.  For women, buying nice things means you don’t need a man.  For men, buying proves how much you are one.


Elaine H.
Past Member 8 years ago

Excellent point of view article! Sure got me thinking about why I even want some of the things I think I want!

Maria H.
Past Member 8 years ago

Well, yes and no. Movies certainly have an effect on the things my son wants- which changes my spending. But for myself, I buy what I want, and I wouldn't have the lives OR closets of those shallow insane women in SATC for money!

Ann W.
Ann W8 years ago

I give a small fraction of my income to charity. I live in a small apartment. Me, I 'd rather have the compassionate, supportive husband (and a bookcase full of books!) than the top-of-the-line stove and fridge!

Mervi R.
Mervi R8 years ago

I´ve never thought of buying stuff that way...

Jessica S.
Jessica S8 years ago


Eli Is Here
Past Member 8 years ago

I guess I'm different. I don't put value in what I have. Stuff is just stuff. What you have does not make what or who you are. You make who you are. Material things are just that--- material.

Elaine Dixon
Elaine Dixon8 years ago

interesting comments

Jill JJ
Jill J8 years ago

Kindness and generosity never go out of style...When my heart is fed, so am I, but, sometimes, I crave a mini-vacation from my daily stresses and shopping gives me that "shot in the arm" of pure endorphins and absolute delight...It would be a rarity for me to buy anything "retail"...full-price, knowing the mark-up of clothes....But the sales have been so great these days, the shopping experience is much more fun...And I would like these stores to stay open and prosper...The economy has been a great leveler in sales, most of the salespeople have lost their "attitude" and grown humbler, become nicer for fear of the lack of business....It is practical and fun to update an older piece of clothing with something new and exciting...To me, clothing is art...I prefer wearing my art...I also like to pass things on to my friends, I get great satisfaction from making someone else happy....Yes, indeed, there is an independence in buying, wearing and giving back...It brings a twinkle to my eyes!

Janice L.
Janice Lawrence8 years ago

Ben Franklin helped me with my spending! He said, "Never buy what you do not need because it is cheap." That ONE piece of advice has saved me a lot of money.

Reverend Ruby K.
Reverend Ruby K8 years ago

I have 3 closets full of clothes and about 75 pairs of shoes and proud of it. I also worked for a department store for 3.5 yrs and bought everything on clearance minus my company discount I got an $80 dress for about $7.50 and $40 jeans for under $5. I bought a lot of classics that don't go out of style. If a special occasion comes up I have an outfit and don't need to go shopping in season and pay higher prices.
It's not the amount of clothing you have that screems excess but how much you pay for it. I do think though paying the outragous prices for designer clothing, shoes and handbags is excessive.