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Consumption - Symbol of Egalitarian Citizenship

The stratification of people and citizens in society is believed to be on the basis of specific and definite terms for instance as taxpayers, consumers, businessmen, welfare dependants and so on (Ong, 2004).  The development of social and political theory initiated by scholars like Marx stratified society into two essential domains including the private and the public spheres, the former being the domestic domain with women as consumers which ironically was of little interest to social theorists while the latter representing the public sphere with males or men as producers (Ong, 2004).
Feminist scholars argue that the rise in capitalism and patriarchy are the basis of structured society in which physical works resulting financial benefits being more valued than the jobs and tasks of women which did not yield direct economic results (Mies, 1986). When men went to wars, it was the women who stayed back and looked after their families and children. Even in wars, the roles of women were restricted to nursing soldiers and caring for the ill and sick. Men were in charge of the masculine tasks which needed strength and vigour. What began as masculine tasks of physical wars and conquests ultimately led to intersections between masculinity and feminism and ultimately resulted in the development of hierarchical associations in society, from which the male members benefitted tremendously as compared to women who had to bear the outcome of becoming mere house wives (Miles, 1986).
According to Mies (1986) the entire women sphere in which females were a disorganized segment of hidden workers, rid them of the power and ability to make their presence in politics and rid them of their ability to bargain. Additionally, since the house wife is non-free member of society who is associated with the free male earning member with the power to make financial profit from his ability to sell his freedom, whereas the wife is not entitled to any such benefits, despite being a working member of the household (Mies, 1986).
Female scholars argue that the freedom of men is directly based on the housewife, who looked after the basic needs and necessities of food, clothing, rearing children and the entire smooth functioning of the house, which in turn gave men the power and ability to use their time and energy outside the house for financial and social purposes (Mies, 1986). Being hidden from the social sphere and outside professional lives, women did not share the social stage with males, as proprietor of possessions or material goods, and especially as consumers (Trentmann and Taylor, 2006). Since men were in charge of the outside sphere, all the rights and financial benefits were in their favour, while their female counterparts had neither access nor ownership to any assets and possessions.

However, the latter part of the nineteenth century witnessed a shift in consumer culture with malls and departmental stores being developed for women residing in the metropolitan and even other suburban areas (Bowlby, 2001; Rappaport, 2000). This was also the era which marked shopping as a womanly and feminine task, particularly a pastime for females, even as some shops and businesses developed for targeting the male segment (Bowlby, 2001).
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