Woman is born free, and is everywhere in chain-stores.
This holiday season, the drop in national festive spending has been worse than predicted; even the last-minute pre-christmas dash hasn’t been enough to recoup losses on the high street. This is causing panic over dried-out mince pies in boardrooms up and down the country. Women wield a level of consumer power that is truly terrifying to those who recognise it, and in the face of spiralling food and clothing costs, we’re starting to dig in our heels just a little.
Let’s not forget that in the macro-capitalist playground in which we live, our power as women doesn’t reside in our looks, nor in our sexuality: it’s in our wallets. Seventy-five percent of global retail revenue is generated by women. That means that, every time an ordinary consumer makes a purchase anywhere in the world, three times in every four it’s a woman handing over the cash or the credit card. We have a huge and terrifying amount of purchasing power – enough to bring world economies to their knees simply by changing our spending habits. Which we might be starting to do, ever so slightly, at this most financially loaded time of the year.
My Christmas wish? That every stressed and overworked home-maker, every dutiful daughter, sister and friend, every woman breaking herself and her bank balance in order to make christmas that little bit more special for those around her, will realise the true nature of the power that she wields. An economy that is geared towards making women consume and expend effort in an established manner can only be maintained if those women continue to do so in those same, very precise ways. And at this time of the year, the effort required, the money involved and the social and financial juggling expected of us in fulfilling those social requirements pinches particularly hard. But, sweating over the mince pies or collapsing under a sea of discarded giftwrap, we are not as disempowered as we might think.
In the spirit of a Socialist Christmas, have a truly amazing short story, written by China Mieville for the Socialist review three years ago. Never say I’m not good to you. And that’s it from me, I’m now going to go and gorge myself on booze and chocolate in the best British fashion. Merry non-denominational festivities to all, and bollocks to all that.