Moral Consumption

Erin Hodgkiss asks if today’s Consumer Society has become a market place of morality.

Has the consumer culture in America become politicized? If the makers “Century of the Self” were to document consumer culture in America today, they would find that things have changed. American consumers are being asked to be play a much more active role in their buying. This is because everyday products are becoming more and more politicized Consumers can no longer choose to purchase and item because they like it; they must take into account moral and political aspects of the product.

Food is a prime example of this trend. Recently, the fast food company Chick-fil-A caused controversy when its CEO declared that he was against gay marriage and that the company donates money to anti-gay groups. As a result, where to go to buy a chicken sandwich became a hot-button moral and political issue. Some people protested in front of store locations, while Chick-fil-A supporters declared a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” The nation found itself divided because of one man’s opinions. This man happened to own a business that was part of the lives of millions of Americans.

Kraft Foods is another company that chose to take a political stance. Kraft introduced the Oreo Rainbow Pride Cookie in support of gay rights. Now, people who felt guilty about eating from Chick-fil-A could still satisfy their junk food craving with a guilt-free Oreo cookie. While Kraft did receive some criticism from various groups, the overall response was positive.

Consumers can no longer be blissfully ignorant of their favorite brand’s political and moral stances. Do customers have a moral obligation to investigate the practices of a brand before purchasing a product? Are these companies choosing sides politically because they really believe in the cause, or are they simply trying to draw in a loyal customer base? 


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