Gender and Situational Influences on the Syntax of Consumption Rituals

Trudy Kehret-Ward, University of California-Berkeley
Anya Goldin,
ABSTRACT - Interpreting the role played by manufactured products in the fantasies that accompany everyday consumption rituals, Rook and Levy (1983) argue that such products afford "complex ways of expressing sexual and social strivings." Their reference to the "grooming vocabulary" implies the use of products as linguistic units in the language of grooming, a language acquired by socialization to age- and gender-appropriate grooming rituals. The conventionalized languages acquired during ritual socialization permit individuals who share the same socialization experiences to make "forceful judgments about the appropriateness, normality, and even morality" of ritual outcomes. (In grooming, the ritual outcome is 8 particular "look"; in meal planning the ritual outcome is a menu.) Social judgments of the outcomes of an individual's consumption rituals appraise both the semantic content and the syntax of the outcome. Were the attributes of the Products chosen appropriate for the age and gender of the user, and for the usage situation? Was the way in which the products were combined/arranged appropriate for the age and gender of the user, and for the usage situation? (Judgments of syntactic appropriateness include, for example, whether items chosen were combined in the correct order, and whether their arrangement conveys the correct degree of complexity.)
[ to cite ]:
Trudy Kehret-Ward and Anya Goldin (1987) ,"Gender and Situational Influences on the Syntax of Consumption Rituals", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 14, eds. Melanie Wallendorf and Paul Anderson, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 203.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 14, 1987      Page 203

GENDER AND SITUATIONAL INFLUENCES ON THE SYNTAX OF CONSUMPTION RITUALS

Trudy Kehret-Ward, University of California-Berkeley

Anya Goldin

ABSTRACT -

Interpreting the role played by manufactured products in the fantasies that accompany everyday consumption rituals, Rook and Levy (1983) argue that such products afford "complex ways of expressing sexual and social strivings." Their reference to the "grooming vocabulary" implies the use of products as linguistic units in the language of grooming, a language acquired by socialization to age- and gender-appropriate grooming rituals. The conventionalized languages acquired during ritual socialization permit individuals who share the same socialization experiences to make "forceful judgments about the appropriateness, normality, and even morality" of ritual outcomes. (In grooming, the ritual outcome is 8 particular "look"; in meal planning the ritual outcome is a menu.) Social judgments of the outcomes of an individual's consumption rituals appraise both the semantic content and the syntax of the outcome. Were the attributes of the Products chosen appropriate for the age and gender of the user, and for the usage situation? Was the way in which the products were combined/arranged appropriate for the age and gender of the user, and for the usage situation? (Judgments of syntactic appropriateness include, for example, whether items chosen were combined in the correct order, and whether their arrangement conveys the correct degree of complexity.)

This paper reports the results of a study of the effects of gender and situation on the syntax of consumption behavior. The hypotheses tested were confirmed: (1) more formal situations favor complex syntax; (2) feminine gender favors complex syntax. Implications of these findings for marketing strategy are discussed.

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