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Buying And Selling Gender Essay

1559 words - 7 pages

Tremendous shopping centers, malls, even those little corner shops became an icon of American culture and its society. We are constantly manipulated by these so called convenient public places where escaping from it would be almost impossible. There are probably a 50% of chances that we will start our day with a cup of coffee in one, buy our afternoon lunch in the other one, or end up just walking around one. Shopping centers are everywhere; we cannot escape from it. Moreover, we do not want to escape from it as we are constantly underestimating the power and the real impact these places have on our society. Thus these places play a huge role in the process of socialization and are largely influencing the development of our society as a whole. In order to understand the way these places are emphasizing the gender differences and inequalities between the sexes, I decided to visit the local store Walmart and through an observation of its environment and its settings try to record its power of gendering. I was looking for a proof that gender is not merely an element of individual identity, but a socially constructed institutional phenomenon which is even imposed in our shopping centers and local stores.
My visit to Walmart required a camera and notebook, because this equipment is crucial for my way of doing, comparing, and understanding sociological theories. While I was walking between Walmart shelves, I noticed that every section was telling an interesting story about gender stereotyping in the United States. All products are shaped and customized to attract different profilea of the customers. The story about development, shape, and presentation of every product has important story which contributes to understanding of our society, how it is shaped, and how it functions. First item that caught my eye was an impulse product ChapFix, a lip balm specifically “engineered” for men.

I immediately asked my self what does this product emphasizes; how is is connected to a specific gender and what is it telling us about gender? It is easy to notice that the packaging of this product is mostly black, the fonts are linear, straight and sharp. Moreover, the use of language is masculine and does not coincide with typical and traditional feminine realism such as healing, curing, nurturing, and softening. As it is a socially ascribed responsibility of women to take care of themselves and others, this type of chopstick is clearly emphasizing everything opposite from femininity and its treats. Rather, this product design is specifically and intentionally made for masculine men, and it is ultimately the symbol of masculinity. Word “engineered” is describing the toughness of the product and is again symbolizing masculinity as engineering is a male-dominated career field. The use of word “fix” reminded me of an ability to fix something, or to be very handy with tools just like men are. These both words, “engineered” and “fix” are traditionally more associated...

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