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Womens changing responsibilities and pleasures as consumers: An analysis of alcohol-related advertisements in Finnish, Italian, and Swedish womens magazines from the 1960s to the 2000s


Journal of Consumer Culture

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Since the 1960s, feminist movements have emphasized that men and women should be seen as equal in their roles as parents, breadwinners, and citizens. This conception is not confirmed by the images produced in advertising. This article presents an analysis of alcohol-related advertisements published in Finnish, Italian, and Swedish women’s magazines from the 1960s to the 2000s. The advertisements are approached as performative texts in which gender is made visible "here and now" by placing women in particular consumer positions relative to private or public spheres and by associating specific kinds of gender expectations and norms that reflect women’s shifting responsibilities and pleasures. The article asks what kind of drinking-related identities have been portrayed as desirable in women’s magazine advertisements over the past few decades and how they have changed as we move closer to the present day. The analysis reveals both continuity and variability in alcohol-related consumer identities in advertisements in Finnish, Italian, and Swedish women’s magazines. It shows that as Finland, Italy, and Sweden have developed from modern societies to late-modern societies, women’s responsibilities and pleasures have expanded from the traditional domain of the private sphere into multiple new areas. The expansion of women’s identities has occurred differently in each geographical area. This does not, however, mean that the traditional gender norms have disintegrated and been replaced by equal gender norms. Rather, it seems that traditional gender norms continue to be reproduced with varying nuances in alcohol-related advertising.