Gender differences in consumption aspirations: A cross-cultural appraisal

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Wendy Bryce
T. T. Olney
Cite this article:  Bryce, W., & Olney, T. (1991). Gender differences in consumption aspirations: A cross-cultural appraisal. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 19(4), 237-254.


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This study explores the possibility of gender and cultural differences in consumption aspirations using two different approaches. The first approach is designed to elicit stereotypes with regard to consumption dreams or the "good life": "What do you believe most Americans (New Zealanders) wish for or want to achieve in their lives?". The second approach probes for individuals' actual aspirations; "Three years after graduation, how do you want your life to be in terms of..." Specific consumption categories examined in both approaches allow an assessment of individuals' relative emphasis on Having, Doing and Being (Sartre, 1956). Priority rankings of these categories provide information regarding the relative importance of each class of possessions/experiences. In addition, materialism and life satisfaction measures are included to assess the relationship between these two constructs and consumption aspirations and dream stereotypes. Content analysis of the data indicates that (1) significant gender differences in consumption aspirations and dream stereotypes do exist, although the form of these differences varies as a function of culture, and (2) culture has a more significant effect on aspirations and dreams than does gender. Findings are discussed in terms of gender theory and cultural differences between the two countries.
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