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 7: Critical consumers: discourses of women, sexuality, and objectification

Gry Hongsmark Knudsen

Abstract

This chapter discusses how feminist marketing research forwards a problematic understanding of female consumers as passive and lacking in critical sensibilities. The theoretical section details how this understanding is maintained in research through systematic silencing of female consumers' critical voices. The theoretical section traces this silencing to paradigmatic differences in feminist research. In contrast, this chapter outlines an example of critical female readership, through a reception study of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Building on interviews with female readers and online fan-fiction and discussion forums on social media, the chapter argues that women indeed are critical and reflexive readers. Further, that by paying attention to and acknowledging the paradigmatic differences within feminist scholarship, we come to understand why and how feminist research can forward opposing views of women, men, and their abilities for critical thinking and action.

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