Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How Deep is Your Love?

As I mentioned yesterday, Daniel Miller theorizes that shopping, particularly grocery shopping, can be understood as an objectification of love. What do you think? Is it appropriate to see purchases as a means of conveying love? Or is this the lie peddled by jewelry stores--prove your love by plunking down some cash?

Miller argues that our romanticized culture is unique in resisting the mediation of our love for others through commodities. I think that the problem isn't so much that we can't think of mediating our love through commodities; the problem is that we only think of dramatic purchases as demonstrations of love. We don't have a category for love expressed in mundane activities like buying bananas and cans of soup.

1 comment:

Special K said...

I guess your view of gifts and value depends on your "love language." If you value gifts first and foremost, then jewelry is key. But if you value time and service (which I do), then grocery shopping and the food prepared afterward are the real demonstrations of love. I think that women doing the grocery shopping as their way of loving their husbands is rooted in the history of men holding the financial power in a marriage. Women could never buy their husbands anything because any money they had was given to them, so they had to prove their love with the only resources they had--time and servitude. Although the economic situation has changed much for women in the U.S. today, I feel that they continue to be expected to prove their love in these little ways, essentially making them slave to such tasks. Now, if women get great joy out of shopping and cooking, more power to 'em. But I don't personally enjoy such tasks. Maybe the love is in the sacrifice, but maybe the roles need to be reversed.

I guess all this to say that I don't personally like jewelry, so I don't really see it as love. I see it as an easy way out of spending time and energy on someone.