Postmodern Paralysis: The Critical Impasse in Feminist Perspectives on Consumers
Critical perspectives on theory play an important and valued role in disciplines across the academy. Feminist perspectives might be expected to be at or near the forefront of critical engagement with consumer behaviour theory, especially given the importance of gender in consumer research. Following a brief upsurge during the 1990s, critical feminist voices have been muted of late. This paper explores some reasons for this. It begins with a brief overview of research on gender and consumer behaviour and how insights from feminist theories and feminist activism began to alter our understanding of gendered consumption. It then discusses how postmodern and postfeminist perspectives have diluted feminism as a critique of gendered consumption. Finally, it argues that a return to materialist feminism would open up possibilities for new and more critical analyses of gendered consumption.