Handbook of Research on Gender and Marketing
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Handbook of Research on Gender and Marketing

Edited by Susan Dobscha

Susan Dobscha and the authors in this Handbook provide a primer and resource for scholars and practitioners keen to develop or enhance their understanding of how gender permeates marketing decisions, consumer experiences, public policy initiatives, and market practices.
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Chapter 6: Patriarchal myths debunked: applying a dialectic of extremes to women’s erotic consumption

Luciana Walther


This chapter presents a qualitative study on women's erotic consumption in Brazil, conducted under a dialectical consumer culture theory perspective. It examines: 1) how social structures and gender relations, present in that particular society, impact and reflect erotic products’ consumption and marketing practices; and (2) how erotic products’ consumption and marketing practices may, in tum, influence and help transform social structures and gender relations. Resistance to women's consumption of vibrators emerged as an emic category informed by masculine fears of substitution and feminine fears of addiction, which arise from a patriarchal system of gender hierarchies. The dialectical juxtaposition of extremes has debunked a myth: the study of erotic consumption among a particular group of women suggests that hegemonic fears are not mirrored by practices. By offering scientifically sound arguments that could lower resistance to feminine erotic consumption, this study aims at helping women to more freely exercise their sexuality.

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