This book develops theoretically and historically the notion of consumerism and links observations concerning consumer culture, social class division, patriarchy and capitalism. The author describes the entry of women into the work force as a response to the values of consumerism, which superseded patriarchal values. This rising consumerism was due to a capitalistic social structure which denied the working class the choice of work hours. Consumerism required the breakdown of class boundaries and undermined the essential European culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Comparative consumption became an external measure of social differentiation. The demise of the homemaker ideal and changing social norms regarding women interacted with consumerism to create motivations for wage work. Housewives increasingly engaged in wage work to improve living standards and as a vehicle for marital power.
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Subtítulo: CONSUMERISM AND THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEWIVES INTO WA