Purchasing Power: Women and the Rise of Canadian Consumer Culture

By Donica Belisle

Exploring the roots of Canadian consumer culture between the 1890s and the Second World War, Purchasing Power uncovers the meanings that Canadians have attached to consumer goods. Offering a new perspective on the temperance, conservation, home economics, feminist, and co-operative movements of this period, this book brings women’s consumer interests to the fore. Due to their exclusion from formal politics and most paid employment, many Canadian women leveraged their consumer roles into personal and social opportunities. In the consumer sphere, they sought solutions for their isolation, their desire for upward mobility and personal expression, and their families’ survival. Through their purchasing power, Canadian women transformed consumer culture into an arena of political engagement.