URBAN SPACE, WOMEN AND THE CULTURE OF CONSUMERISM IN SHOBHA DE’S ‘SISTERS’ AND ‘SNAPSHOTS’

Shristrishree Bordoloi Baruah,
Research Scholar, Department of English
Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh, Assam, India


Abstract
This research article addresses the problematic of an urban space in the grip a consumerism-driven culture and the discourse of urban woman’s role in it. It seeks to explain how the perpetuation of a consumerist culture has led to massive changes in the social setup, redefining identities and their respective commodification. With consumerism on the rise, numerous spaces have also been made available for participation of the urban woman. These spaces often use representations and images of woman for selling a commodity, thus giving way to commodification of women. Shopping malls, restaurants, resorts, amusement parks, the ad-world itself and a number of other consumer-related spaces have invariably opened the doors for women empowerment, leading to financial security and social identity for the women, but if these spaces are actually safe for the women is yet to be analysed. With increasing girl-child education and women empowerment, girls and women form the new set of consumers in the city. Thereby, the various consumer spaces with the woman playing the role of both the consumer and the commodity, the empowered and the disempowered, give way to analysis and contestation. The fictions selected for study- Shobha De’s Snapshots and Sisters- situated in the megalopolis Bombay explore how consumerist culture perpetuates in these new urban spaces of consumption, transforming the common everyday life of the urban woman into a critical space for polemical study.

Key words: Urban space, consumerist culture, consumerism, consumption, empowerment


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