consumer culture is significantly gendered, primarily reinforcing two
binary genders; masculine and feminine. In a capitalist,
so-called-market-driven consumer culture, creating and labeling a
distinct gender identity has become part of the marketing, advertising,
accessorizing, and polarizing scheme.
From data gathered via content analysis at a large corporate retailer in
the area, I was able to observe how these specific gender expectations
were reinforced through the design and display of children’s clothing.
From a very young age, children are socialized and expected to conform
to traditional gender displays. By exposure to separate clothing
categories in at the store (boy/girl), children are already exposed to a
narrow set of feminine or masculine choices.
Consumer goods reinforce and communicate daily the “importance” (as it
is extremely important in our culture to fit in) of heteronormativity,
which structures social life so that heterosexuality is always assumed,
expected, ordinary and privileged. With this paper I analyze the role
consumer goods have in “doing” gender.