Marketing Molly and Melville: dating in a postmodern, consumer society

Elizabeth Jagger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Based on a content analysis of a hundred heterosexual dating advertisements, the paper, in part, seeks to build upon the findings of previous research emerging mainly from the disciplines of sociobiology and psychology, which shows that when selling the self, men market their financial and occupational resources, whereas women offer physical attractiveness and appealing body shape, consistent with traditional ‘sex-role’ stereotypes and mating selection strategies. The main focus of this paper, however, is on the repetitive and changing meanings of masculinity and femininity. Locating analyses in the context of a postmodern, consumer society, it shows that whilst consumer culture appears to provide men with a wide range of resources for the creation of identities, reflexive self-fashioning is more problematic for women. It argues that although what constitutes a ‘feminine’ identity has now diversified as men and women deal with a novel set of social conditions, women's subjectivities remain more fixed and stable than those of men. It concludes, therefore, that access to cultural resources for identity construction are not equally available to men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001


  • femininity
  • dating advertisements
  • masculinity
  • self-identity


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