Heteronormativity, Socialization, and Consumer Culture: The Marketing of Children's Clothes? panel 2 ~ the Gendered Consumer Culture ~ the Center for Gender Studies 2011 Conference
 a 2011 symposium presentation by:
Caitlin Krueger
RU Advisor: Dr.  Carla Corroto
Abstract.   Today, 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.
Conference 2011        Center Home        Psychology      Sociology