On December 11, 1976, Saturday Night Live aired its first “Consumer Probe” sketch on the sale of unsafe toys. Drawing on print and broadcast safety warnings from organizations like Consumer Reports and the recently-established Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the sketch lampooned the U.S. toy industry for endangering kids to maximize profits. Featuring Candice Bergen… Read more →
Tag: Consumer culture
A few months ago, a friend and I were chatting about plans for a baby shower that she was hosting for another friend of ours. She told me that our friend’s mother had called to ask what the theme or the designated color of the shower would be in order to have matching flowers and… Read more →
“I had been completely run-down. I would try to do my housework and could not. I would want to just fly, if only I could. I would lie down but wasn’t satisfied there and would have to get up and do whatever I could to content myself.” So wrote Mrs. Dora Sanders of 112 West… Read more →
A few weeks ago, I found myself in an increasingly common situation: I decided to go grocery shopping at Whole Foods (sale items only please, I’m a grad student). As usual, I had to follow up my trip with a second stop at a “regular” grocery store to fill in the gaps on my grocery… Read more →
This past December, the world saw another celebrity sex scandal. Suzy Favor Hamilton, the three-time U.S. Olympian, was outed as having a “secret life” as a high-priced escort. As a resident of Madison, there was no way I could have avoided hearing about the fall from grace of one of Wisconsin’s golden girls. Her name… Read more →
By Cheryl Lemus
Two nights ago I ran across a story about Farrah Abraham, who set off a firestorm when she posted online that she waxed and tweezed her 3-year-old daughter’s eyebrows because she had what Abraham described as a unibrow. The moment she admitted what she did, people called her insane, ignorant, and labeled her a “bad mother.” Farrah Abraham is known for her appearance on Teen Mom, a show that glorifies teenage motherhood and turns its participants into minor celebrities. Now as a mother myself, I could throw myself into the mix and condemn Abraham for falling victim to the rancid consumer culture that plagues motherhood, but I’ll refrain mainly because I, as well as most mothers, have acquiesced to the rampant consumerism that shapes our opinions, criticisms, and habits of mothering. In fact, when it comes to beauty and clothing, many mothers have become comfortable with our children mirroring our fashion choices. There are many reasons for this, but seemingly since the 1950s middle-class mothers and daughters looking like twins or looking older/younger than they are reflects changing norms regarding girlhood and motherhood. Girlhood and motherhood has become increasingly sexualized, as the pressure to look older or younger has grown.