Liberation or Convoluted Optimism?

Contrary to the more common criticism of mass culture and its homogenizing effects, more recent scholars have been leaning toward the liberating possibilities in consumption.

One such argument might run like this: in reading a magazine and its ads, articles, fiction, and images, a person gleans a certain satisfaction from what he or she sees. Advertisements in particular fuel this satisfaction because their audience already looks/acts/feels the way the magazine says a successful person should look, act, or feel. Thus, a person emotionally benefits from feelings of belonging to a larger community. In this way, the individual maintains sovereignty and the ability to be a discriminating decision-maker.
To be more specific, one argument involves the liberating potentials of make-up, especially in terms of the marketing of race in American business history. In a nutshell, make-up challenges the black/white binary on which so many cultural ideologies are based. While providing women entrance to a masculinized marketplace, make-up also situates race on a continuum.
There are numerous other arguments in this vein...taking into consideration the pleasures derived from entertainment, hobbies, and many more aspects of American culture.

Do these arguments merely argue within the parameters defined for them by consumer culture? Have they naturalized the advertisers' promotions of success and well-being through consumption? Or is there merit to their optimism?
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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:41 AM

    this is ridiculous. there is no way out.


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