Escalated Expectations and Expanded Gender Roles: Womens’ Gift-Giving Rituals and Resistance for Valentine’s Day Events
GENDER, CULTURE AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR, Cele Otnes and Linda Tuncay, eds., Routledge, April 2012
44 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2012
Date Written: July 1, 2011
In this chapter, I focus on womens’ gift-exchange, namely gift-giving, in the romantic context of a holiday event — Valentine’s Day. It is an especially valuable context for studying consumption phenomena for several reasons. For one, it is a holiday where gender roles are highlighted along with womens’ ritual performance common to many holidays and special events in the U.S. For instance, the allure of the white wedding draws many women (and their finances) to help direct, plan, stage and enact a lavish wedding (Otnes and Pleck 2003). Second, such social exchange rituals are embedded in romantic discourse of dating and marriage — an aspect of consumption that may shape much marketplace behavior and one that lends itself to much knowledge seeking. Third,the religious connotation of Valentine’s Day is minimized in the modern marketplace. Where other U.S. gift-laden holidays (e.g., Christmas, Easter) may involve a cultural divide between secular and religious themes, Valentine’s Day is more neutral. Despite these attributes, this event remains relatively under-explored as a consumption context.
Keywords: Consumer Behavior, Event Marketing, Ritual, Gift-Giving, Love
JEL Classification: M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation