This special issue of Assuming Gender – an online, peer-reviewed academic journal from Cardiff University – seeks to explore the way gender is both presented and consumed through popular media and advertising. As Ann Herrmann points out in the article ‘Shopping for Identities’, commodities ‘are characterised by their dual nature: material composition and symbolic meaning’ (Herrmann 2002: 539). Consumer culture plays a significant role in constructing valid (and normative) identity categories with which consumers are encouraged to identify.
Scholars as diverse as Americus Reed, Laura C. Nelson, and Henry Jenkins have theorised the ways in which identity and consumer culture are intertwined. Reed, for example, claims in ‘Activating the Self-Importance of Consumer Selves’ that ‘[s]ocial identities are mental representations that can become a basic part of how consumers view themselves’ (Reed 2004: 286). In a later article on ‘Identity-Based Consumer Behaviour’, Reed and others use the example of athletics to illustrate their point: ‘if consumers view themselves as “athletes”, they are likely to behave in ways that are consistent with what it means to “be” an athlete’ (Reed, Forehand, Puntoni and Warlop 2002: 310). Consumption thus becomes defined by identity, and identity becomes defined by consumption.
While the construction of identities based on athleticism seems relatively benign, the case quickly becomes more complicated when consumer identities are racially, economically, or sexually coded. In addition to delineating the borders between various interest groups, consumer culture plays a significant role in establishing and maintaining binary identity distinctions (male/female, gay/straight, black/white), undermining the validity of those identifying across or in-between one or more categories, or who refuse categorisation at all. Those identities not classified as valid consumer groups are not seen as valid identities at all.
For this special issue of Assuming Gender, we invite articles that focus specifically on the idea of ‘Consuming Gender’. How has consumer culture constructed (and how has it been constructed by) gender through the ages?
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
- Consuming gender/gendered consumption
- Historical contexts of gendered consumption
- Feminist/postfeminist approaches to consumption
- Consumption and intersectionality
- Queer consumption
- Media constructions of (gendered) consumer identities
- Post/colonialism and gendered consumption
Book titles available for reviewing will be listed here. If you are interested in reviewing one of the books still available, please contact the editors of this special issue - Megen de Bruin-Molé, Akira Suwa and Daný van Dam - at the journal's email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to review a title not listed here, or if you want to suggest titles for reviewing, please also send an email to email@example.com. For all emails concerning book reviews, please use 'Consuming Gender book review' as title for your email.
Deadlines for book reviews are at the same time as those for articles, so get in touch by 16 October 2016 if you are interested in reviewing a book for this issue. Reviews will be due no later than 16 April 2017.
While we will do our best to acquire review copies of suggested titles, the editors cannot guarantee their availability. The editors also maintain the right to refuse titles for review if they appear unsuitable for this journal and/or the topic of this special issue.
- Matthew Heinz, Entering Transmasculinity: The Inevitability of Discourse (Intellect, 2016).