Girrrl power and boyyy nature: the past, present, and paradisal future of consumer gender identity

Jacqueline J. Kacen (Visiting Assistant Professor of Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Publication date: 1 December 2000


The new, Spice Girl‐less millennium, “offers an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, to abandon concepts, models and formulations once thought liberatory now considered incarceratory; to start afresh on the other side of the year 2000”. Foremost among the concepts to be updated is gender identity. In a postmodern society, traditional notions of femininity and masculinity come across as antiquated and illusory. The consumption ethic has deconstructed the historical male‐female mind‐body producer‐consumer dichotomy and made identity construction a consuming pastime. It has also turned gender into a pastiche of possibilities. Yet in the utopian cyber future that awaits us, what will become of gender identity? In the ethereality of the Internet, where existence is ephemeral, is gender identity a meaningful and necessary concept? This paper reviews the historical (modern) significance of gender identity to marketing, explores the postmodern consumer condition, and prophesies a paradisal vision of gender identity in the consumer society to come.



Kacen, J. (2000), "Girrrl power and boyyy nature: the past, present, and paradisal future of consumer gender identity", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 18 No. 6/7, pp. 345-355.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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