Unfortunately, each of us is a slave to consumerism and we tend to engage in a lot of (sometimes unnecessary) purchases. On a more positive note, the consumer is the key agent of the market economy so it would seem that we are very important.
The picture of a consumer is inherently gendered but it is ignored. This person is presented as a gender-neutral, self-reliant, and entrepreneurial creature. It is claimed that consumption is genderless but a consumer is usually presented as a ‘rational economic man’ promoting ‘rational apathy’. So what, does that mean that neutrality equals manhood? Seems hypocritical, right?
The definition of a consumer should be diversified and include all kinds of purchasers, including women, to improve how markets work. Although the definition of a consumer does not explicitly differentiate between men and women, women should be explicitly taken into consideration since the universal consumer has historically been understood as a man (aka the ‘rational economic man’).
The practices on the market of women differ from the ones of men as every consumer buys different products that are targeted to them. However, this gendered aspect of consumption is not taken into account and goods on the market are not looked at through a gender lens. It is assumed that all consumption is man-oriented, which can lead to negative consequences for other groups. For instance, corporations can get away with the ‘pink tax’, through which products catered to women are more expensive, simply because competition authorities only look at men’s (‘genderless’) consumption. Women pay more than men for the exact same products and services such as razors or sanitary products. These products seem to have different market definitions and prices depending on who the targeted consumer is and cannot be.
The definition of consumer should differentiate between them, including women. In the end, we all fuel the markets, don’t we?