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Bridging the Gap: Feminism, Fashion and Consumption

Angela McRobbie
Feminist Review
No. 55, Consuming Cultures (Spring, 1997), pp. 73-89
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1395787
Page Count: 17
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Bridging the Gap: Feminism, Fashion and Consumption
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Abstract

The article confronts two issues, first the question of women and consumption and second the fashion industry as a feminized sector. In the first instance the argument is that recent scholarship on consumption has been weakened by an inattention to questions of exclusion from consumption and the production of consumption. Income differentials as well as questions of poverty have dropped off the agenda in this debate. Attention instead has been paid to the meaning systems which come into play around items of consumption. This has led to a sense of political complacency as though consumption is not a problem. For the many thousands of women bringing up children at or below the poverty line it clearly is. The second part of the article takes the fashion industry as an example of a field where perspectives on both production and consumption are rarely brought together. This produces a sense of political hopelessness in relation to improving its employment practices, especially for very low paid women workers. The argument here is that greater integration and debate across the production and consumption divide could conceivably result in policies which would make this sector whose employees on a global basis are predominantly female, a better place of work.

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