How Women Rights Have Changed Consumer Culture The way we have viewed what a woman is and where she belongs in society has changed drastically over the years and with it a big shift in consumer culture. She has gone from subservient housewife to career juggling megawoman in only a matter of years. These changes brought in change in household dynamics, and how we advertise to each household. In early years women were taught to embrace and indulge in their femininity. Betty Friedan claims in her book, The Feminine Mystique, “ They learned that truly feminine women do not want careers, higher education, political rights the independence and the opportunities that the old fashioned feminists fought for”(16). Society told women that their only satisfaction in life should be to become a wife and bare children while their husbands went out and pursued their careers.
This is how early American consumer culture viewed and advertized to families. It was Norman
Rockwells view of a “nuclear family”;a family that consists of a father a mother and their children as a basic social unit, that was considered to be America's greatest consumer. They all wanted to be that perfect American family depicted on their television sets. Yet more and more women decided that their hearts aren’t into their domestic duties like their ancestors before them and so came the feminist civil rights movements of the 19601970’s, where it was no longer only a mans world in the workplace. The 1960’s stereotypical family slowly disintegrated and with it the way we marketed in America.
The unpaid household work was simply not respected. The family would not survive
without constant attentiveness at home yet the labor was made a mockery of. It’s the idea that domestic work is so easy and simple we leave it to the women. Many men were not understanding of how tedious attending a family’s needs were until their wives decided to pursue careers. This change also brought the breakdown of power and traditional american structure in the home. Roles within and without the home were not clearly defined anymore. Men were taking less hours at work to come home and spend time with their children while Women were becoming more active in the working force taking on fulfilling careers. As Friedan divulges the secrets of feminine struggles she writes “It is no longer possible to ignore that voice, to dismiss the desperation of so many American Women. This is not what a woman means no matter what the experts say”(26). Patriarchy was deconstructed as more families stray away from single income homes. No longer solely dependent on her husband for income, she is free to make her own consumer decisions. This new concept of career women deflected the composition of
American homes and decisions within the household. The members of the household were becoming more individualized come the change of women’s rights. With new forms of income emerging in American homes, the way consumer culture advertised changed more the meet the individualistic needs of each family member rather than the family as a whole.
Prior to this new found individuality amongst American society the primary markers in consumers were ethnicity and religion. The same white middle class suburban American family concept was used basically as a cookie cutter role for all american families. There was an increasingly wide range of differences in the structures of american families. Women becoming involved in careers and earning income isn’t the only difference in women of the past and women today; they’ve become increasingly more sexualiszed. Sexualization of the woman was
another outcome of women's liberation movement. In Laura Oswalds, Branding the American
Family, She states “ A new openness about sexual conduct lifted the taboos limiting sex to marriage and gave women more control over their bodies”(319). Women