retail nation Essay example

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The development of department stores in Canada gave way to a new modern era of Canadian society. Through the development of mass retail in 1890 and 1940, Canada experienced a spur in the retail industry as large stores such as Eaton’s, Simpson’s and HBC emerged. Donica Belisle's book “Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada”, is useful to understand the expansion of the retail industry as it examines department stores activities along with the responses of consumers, employees, governments and critics to gain insights on the evolution of consumer capitalism in Canada through a feminist perspective. In this essay, I will give a brief summary of the book as well as a review based on my opinions of the book and …show more content…
Paternalism had some drawbacks such as gender, race and class hierarchies where white were superior than non-whites, and men assumed authoritative roles over female customers and employees. This created a repressive environment for the visible minority and women. Labourers were also used to enhance consumer culture and image making. Canada's department stores utilized employees' activities, bodies and appearances for advertising and publicity (124). This chapter also discusses the alienating and unethical side of the consumerism. Employees became commodities which the employers used to attract customers and generate greater profit. Chapters 5 and 6 look at how department stores affected women, specifically their female customers and employees. Women made up a large proportion of the consumer market for department stores. It suggested that there was a gendered division of labour. Department stores provided leisure, which attracted women as consumers. Some women enjoyed their shopping experience whereas others found it irritating. Moreover, some felt alienated due to class inequality and racial prejudice. Also, there was a significant quantity of women working for department stores. Department stores were one of the first employers to hire women for service jobs (158). Nonetheless, the work environments were not perfect, women faced several obstacles such as gender and racial discrimination. Although they were able to

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