Monday, February 28, 2011

The North Platte Canteen

In Cohen's Rise of the Citizen Consumer, she speaks of the role of the citizen consumer that gained representation and a political voice through buying power and consumption. In doing so, traditionally marginalized voices (women and African Americans) could gain power and civic authority through their role as a consumer (p. 63).  Significantly, during WWII white American women gained the ability to wield not only their power as consumers, but also within traditionally male dominated active public roles (p. 81).  This transition worked due to media's ability to make connections outside the traditional neighborhood that many Americans had operated in during the 20's and the Great Depression (p. 38); and the fact that as consumption was moved into the civic real during the war giving women a larger stake within political participation (p. 84).  I have attached a (somewhat campy) video of the North Platte Canteen. An organization where women would exercise their dual role of active public agents as well as citizen consumers operating within the confines of war-time rationing.  Pay particular attention to the add that flashes at the 1:31 where Rae Wilson urges the women of Western Nebraska to "do something and do it in a hurry! We can help in this way when we can't help in any other." It is statements like this that illustrate the significance American's placed on the role citizen consumerism, while showing the women of the region growing into the now vacant public agent roles.

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