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Men as Contemporary Shopping Spectacles in London - Essay Example

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The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a growing feminized consumerism. Women have been classified as an active consumer and also a spectacle under the masculine gaze. But what the period also saw is the consumerisation of masculinity; a paradoxical statement but nevertheless, the advertising industry motivated the men to consume male " beauty culture " products and other commodities claiming to modify the male body.
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Men as Contemporary Shopping Spectacles in London

Download file to see previous pages... London's Covent Garden market surfaces as a prime example of a shopping spectacle for men incorporating all pleasures of consumption from packaging, presentation and buying. American Classics is a store located in the area which caters only to men and their accessories in the form of international American type clothing. The layout of the store is designed to inform and incite men into consumption and also as spectacles to be gazed at. Men are emerging everywhere as hungry predators for all things aesthetic. They are even making a go for cosmetics and beauty products like never before. They even make their own choices rather than depend on their partners to do the obvious. They seem to be better informed than most women these days. Men are gradually becoming aware of their bodies and their looks which is what gives proof for today's metro sexual male; shaving creams, colognes, soaps, clothes, shoes, hair and skin products being the order of the day. Gadgets and gizmos follow close by. These products depended on varied ideas to be marketed which gave consumption and masculinity a massive push towards an upheaval in the British society. It soon led to consumer identities being arranged and expanded at a spiraling recourse towards the male species.

Figure 1.Men's Perfumes are Quite the Rage

The long held assumption that consumption is a feminine venture has been proved wrong by these men centric malls and retail stores. Author Christopher Breward posits that male fashion in Britain gave a creative lend and space for masculine innovation during the late- Victorian era, in his book, The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life. Hence, this process put men as consumers at the forefront of modernization at the beginning of the twentieth century itself. This also invalidates the idea that Englishmen of the late Victorian times agreed with the concept of a "Great Masculine Renunciation" (Breward 1) of style and fashion as many have suggested.
Most material evidence of increasing male fashion consciousness are found in stores, malls, novels, films, photographs, magazines, trade directories etc. Breward's book also provides evidence that male fashion ability was conspicuous from the Victorian times itself, with these very proofs he provides in the form photographs and diaries. Clothing and fashion accessories were available to men even then but since the dominant wisdom was patriarchal, the opposite has been
proved. By the help of those photographs and even songs, he posits to examine how many London and Manchester working class gangs utilized fashion to pose different from the rest of the gangs ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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