Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women? Constructing Gender Identity through Consumption

Minna Autio, Saija Katila, Teija Strand, Eliisa Kylkilahti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Young people live with an escalating variety of consumption alternatives in an increasingly mediatised culture, growing into girls and boys and then women and men through various consumer practices. Designer clothes, branded goods and services, and enjoyable leisure time as a whole are seen as constitutive elements of young people’s lives. In our article we examine gendered consumption through stories on getting rich written quickly by seventh -grade students. We argue that traditional gendered
models of consumerism are still deeply embedded in Finnish society, although stereotyped feminine and masculine positions
are changing among young people. Girls’ stories speak of consumer dreams that can be interpreted as feminine, such as beauty treatments and shopping, while boys’ writings speak about the significance of being athletic in the construction of a masculine self. Concerns about appearance seem to include boys, while girls adopt traditionally male agencies by speaking of fast cars or investing, for example. Although technical objects of consumption such as scooters, mini bikes, iPods and smart phones are part of the day-to -day life of both genders, playing sports or computer games has been labelled boys’ activity. Young people also show generosity and willingness to practice charity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTO BE YOUNG! Youth and the Future
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Conference “To be Young! Youth and the Future” 6-8 June 2012, Turku, Finland
EditorsNina Jentl, Juha Kaskinen
PublisherFinland Futures Research Centre
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-249-266-1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameTutu e-julkaisuja
PublisherTurun yliopisto
ISSN (Electronic)1797-1322

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