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Posts Tagged ‘women’

I am not a compulssive shopper. Big malls haven’t succeeded in tempting me with the tricks up their sleeves. I go around, enjoy window shopping to my heart’s content and do some real shopping for something essential. I try my very best to stick to the list of things to be bought.

If I buy something that I don’t want, I get a feeling I have wasted money on something that’s not worth. I prefer blowing up money on something I enjoy. Now what they are, can be the subject of another post.

I know, not all are like me. For some, shopping is a habit; for some others, it’s even an addiction. What I haven’t been able to make sense of is that for some it’s even a stress buster. Some people when they are depressed walk straight into a department store, lose themselves amongst cookies, chocolate bars and junk food, besides consumer durables.

shopping

One of the popular stereotyped — and possibly sexist — characterisation is that a number of women use shopping as a stress buster. In fact, a survey in Malaysia did indicate that “nearly 75 percent of women in Malaysia believe in retail therapy, saying shopping was therapeutic and a stress-reliever”. (Source – Malaysia Sun).

Women go on shopping spree

Closer home, my friend was witness to something that seemed to confirm this theory. Recently, employees of his office got an official letter around 11 am informing them of a rollback in their salaries as a countermeasure to the economic slowdown. Needless to say, the mood in the office sank. There were no smiles, grim faces all around; hushed conversations as to how EMIs will be paid, and how many plans will have to be put on hold.

After the lunch break that day, my friend noticed a number of women employees walking in with bags of buys; evidently they all had gone shopping at the nearby department store. He couldn’t believe it. “When our pay is cut, you all go shopping!.. only you women can do this..!!”

Apparently one woman confirmed to my friend that shopping indeed was a stress buster for her. She feels good buying off things that she fancies. Another woman said, “This is the last occasion I can buy something going by what I am going to get from next month onwards.”

It’s too much of a coincidence for so many women to go shopping simultaneously when the mood was grim. My friend is convinced: “Shopping is indeed a stress buster for women.”

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A few days back, I was at a health product retail shop looking for a skin cream. While I was checking out various products, I noticed a 20-something guy and 20-something girl in conversation beside me in front of the rack adjacent to the one where the creams were kept. They were obviously discussing what they had to buy, and here is a part of their conversation:

Guy: Hey how about this?
 
Girl: A new one?
 
Guy: No… no… it’s been there for some time…
 
Girl: Is it?…  How come I didn’t know…

(An exchange in hushed tone, followed by giggles)

Guy: I am picking this….
 
Girl: Hey no… It’s no good… Instead you take this… Remember, you had got this once before…?
 
Guy: Ok ok… it’s your choice ….

Without lifting my head so much as to appear improper, I sneaked through the corner of my eye to see what it must be all about… What was on display on the rack didn’t surprise me. But the conversation did…. In fact, the sort of openness with which the couple were discussing what they wanted to buy, was something, at least, I hadn’t seen before. They were trying to choose between Moods and Kamasutra.

This is a clear indication of the breakdown of traditional barriers and taboos at least among the city folk. I am sure these must be rare couples who are in near-perfect harmony. The average guy, I guess, is still shy when it comes to condoms.
 
Look at the way women react when it comes to their personal product. A packet of Whisper or Carefree along with other articles of purchase in a shopping cart is no rare sight in a mall nowadays. Mind you, this is not when a woman is shopping alone, but when she is with the entire family. Gone are the days when they worried about what others, especially children, would think.
 
Well, not surprising, since these are the liberated women of cities. Probably such instances are rare in smaller towns, more so in villages.
 
But, what about the liberated men of cities? At least, I haven’t found packets of Moods or Kamasutras in shopping carts of families.

Why so?

Is the average man actually shy even while putting up a facade of boldness? Is it because one is a necessity, the other is an option; and therefore sanitary napkins can in no way be comparable to condoms? Or is it because one is more like an extension of lingerie but the other is associated with an act that has potentially lot of implications physically and emotionally?
Whatever be the difference, the big similarity lies in the taboo-tag both have in traditional societies. When both condoms and sanitary napkins are at the same level on a shopping rack, there is definitely a difference between men and women when it comes to buying them.

So can we conclude that liberated women of cities are far bolder than liberated men while confronting and breaking personal and social taboos?

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