Aspiring, consuming, becoming: Youth identity in a culture of consumption
Deutsch, Nancy L.
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This article focuses on how consumerism, as a social ideology, and consumption, as an individual activity, are used by adolescents to mark and mask differences in the process of identity construction. Data are drawn from an ethnographic study of urban youth. The act of consuming for the adolescents in this study forms an integral part of their identity performance across the intersectionality of the self's experience of gender, race, and class. For females in this study, consumption is linked to gender performances based on the maintenance of an attractive and fashionable appearance as dictated by social perceptions of femininity. Girls' future aspirations are indirectly associated to consumptive acts through the ambition for financial emancipation. Consuming, or aspiring to consuming, for males in this study facilitates the achievement of a morality realized through the fulfillment of male responsibility toward the traditionally perceived 'dependent' members of the family: mother, wife, and children.