Friday, November 27, 2009

Sexualized ads and the poor as immoral

This is a flyer for a company that sells rent-to-own household items at outrageously high prices that is trying to sell laptops. It was posted on the window of one of their retail outlets, clearly visible from the road. It seems like a rather common attempt to get people's attention as they drive by the store and see a pole in the window.

Nevermind the ethical issues that come with paying $9 per week for more than 150 weeks, adding up to $1400 for a mini-notebook (which you can get at any electronics or department store for under $500).

In Excerpt- Notes of 1844 Karl Marx writes that "a man without credit is poor, a judgement that he is untrustworthy and unworthy of recognition, a social pariah and a bad man." This belief, that the poor are somehow not only less deserving, but morally inferior to people in middle and upper class, is the only reason that these stores are allowed to exist. People who cannot get credit or do not have the resources to save enough for large purchases must pay more than 3 times the cost of an item.

The combination of "sex sells" or the concept of women as sexual objects available to the male gaze, along with the way these stores are taking advantage of the poor, who already have to pay more for so many things (ie. laundry at the laundromat, higher banking fees by not qualifying for low fee accounts, and not having the ability to drive to the cheapest grocery store if you don't have a car), makes this an important issue.

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