Purchasing Place: An Analysis of Contemporary Home Marketing through a Spatial Reading of The Second Sex

Authors: Sarah Brown*, University of Colorado - Denver
Topics: Gender, Geographic Theory, Urban Geography
Keywords: Beauvoir, absence, presence, feminist geography, home, women, authenticity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “The representation of the world itself is the work of men; they describe it from a point of view that is their own and they confound it with absolute truth” (2010, 162). While we often interpret this statement to be about the social world, we can read both this passage and much of The Second Sex spatially. Beauvoir is particularly concerned not only with women’s lack of access to different spaces, but their fundamental inability to make place while they are constantly disciplined by a masculine spatial and social world. These disciplinary mechanisms cast women’s relationship with the physical world as one of immanence. Women, Beauvoir argues, cannot begin to establish themselves in an environment they did not shape; they remain ontologically absent from their own lives. In the time since Beauvoir published, women have gained access and ownership over both private and public space. However, the question remains whether modern women can make place in a way Beauvoir’s woman could not. In this presentation, I juxtapose Beauvoir’s critique of home space with modern apartment advertisements geared toward the female consumer in Denver, Colorado. I grapple with the differences between consuming and making place and question whether or not it is possible to be fully present within the current spatial relationship.

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