Magic Tree Clock

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Power of the (Woman's) Purse

As the economy has turned sour overall, it seems that more and more there are articles about women and economic behaviors. Specifically their purchasing power. When it comes to the economy of home, women have most often been assigned the "power of the purse". I see this as part of the ideology of consumerism, with women responsible for a prescribed role in determining how to dole out the cash that comes into a home.

There is an image from last year's Market's website around the time of Black Friday. Check it out below; it tells us very quickly who it is that economists see as the point of interest in making a Red Thursday into Black Friday.

I made sure to save this image. It struck me as a significant sign that men are discounted in economic recovery, with the exception of the men who are apparently tracking every woman's move in the world of shopping and consumption.

Recently, Seventh Generation, a natural care company, posted this blog: The Power of the Purse. Women are charged with not only spending money, but also inducing producers to make what women will buy. This is nothing new. Way back in the early 1900s when oven were being made, home economists were testing these products. Did you know it was a woman who suggested that a glass window be placed in oven doors? I'll find the name of the woman who I read about. Manufacturers had a hell of a time making it happen, as I read, but they worked at it until they satisfied what they thought would be a selling point.

But ovens don't last forever. Today on Market Watch there was a story about planned obsolescence (one of my favorite topics). Read about it here: Investors, beware of flat-panel investments John Dvorak's Second Opinion - MarketWatch. To be sure that I, as a woman, am participating in the consumer culture, I'll admit that I'm the one who decided to buy our flat panel digital TV. Our analog was still working, so why a new one? The decision wasn't all mine - remember not too long ago when analog TV signals became illegal, and could for all the future only be broadcast in digital? Hhmmmm. Who really has the power of my purse?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New book - Radical Homemakers

As I proceed with writing a dissertation on the early roots of the shift of American households from places of production to containers of consumerism, and of the inhabitants morphing from citizens into consumers, the book Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes, comes along. Radical as in defined by roots and fundamentals, as well as defined by necessary adaptations. Learn more here:

From reading a portion of the introduction online, I gather what I've suspected all along. Even though consumerism is the mainstream and pervades American ideology, there has always been the radical fringe of citizens who understood what home economics and the making of home was all about - society. I recently posted on Facebook a quote from Thoreau: "I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society." Home and economy are all of these things to me. It is my place. It is where I find peace with a friend. It is my connection with society. And in all of these options I find interpersonal and intrapersonal liberation in life. The economy of home is bigger than any education standard can hope to provide.