Gender, marketing, and emotions

A critical, feminist exploration of the ideological helix that defines our working worlds

Authored by: Lorna Stevens

The Routledge Companion to Critical Marketing

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138641402
eBook ISBN: 9781315630526
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter offers a critical discussion of gender in marketing, arguing that binary thinking continues to reinforce traditional gender roles, despite the much anticipated ‘feminization’ of marketing in the 1990s. The chapter reviews the services marketing literature, specifically the role of ‘feeling bodies’ in the workplace, and the gender issues therein. This then leads to a review of the emotional labor literature, and a focus on the higher education sector, which increasingly draws on a services marketing paradigm to better serve its customers. The discussion then turns to the education sector, which now draws on the values and managerial practices of private industry in order to be more marketing-oriented and productive. This new managerialism or marketization, it will be argued, has reinstated more ‘masculine’ models of management, and has led to a reinforcement of the binary division of labor along gender lines. One of the arguments that this chapter will therefore make is that sex-typing and gender-typing are alive and well, deeply ingrained in institutional ideologies, and perhaps nowhere more tellingly than in the higher education sector, where research shows that women as ‘feeling bodies’ do most of the hard (emotional) labor. Finally, I will argue that by applying a more critical lens, we can sensitize ourselves to that which is assumed and taken for granted as the norm in relation to gendered marketing in the workplace. Furthermore, if we interrogate and critique the underlying ideologies and assumptions behind this binary system and its underlying ideologies and assumptions, we can challenge and begin to change our working worlds.

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