Smut Reporting

Bitches Be Shopping

It’s time for a poll!

Given the title of this post, you might have already guessed that I am FIRMLY in the category of “Thanks, I hate it.” In fact, a shopping trip in the middle of the story sometimes goes so far as to ruin a book for me. Is this completely irrational? Probably. But since this is my hot take, let’s break it down. 

I’ll start with a caveat. I thought Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic books were friggin’ hilarious. So I am not opposed to characters shopping – as long as it has already been established that this shopping spree is part of their character or important to the plot in some way. 

What I really oppose here is the “suddenly.” Imagine a bunch of characters with a wide range of traits – but who all identify as female. They are having all kinds of adventures and sexytimes and what have you, but give them an AmEx black card and the internet / special access to a fancy boutique / an appointment at Tiffany’s and they all, to a one, turn into a blibbering mass of consumerist spending. 

Here are some questions that immediately pop into my head when this happens:

  1. Do NONE of the women in the room hate shopping? Maybe she finds trying on pants stressful because they never fit right!
  2. Why aren’t the male characters getting excited about buying video games / guns / whiskey?
  3. Are these women really so easily distracted by *shiny* things that they ignore bad behavior when there is stuff to acquire?
  4. Excuse me, ma’am, but do you really need another scarf? 

My beef with comes down to two realms of criticism: gender essentialism and capitalism. 

I am tired of the idea that women, no matter what other interests we might have, can be easily mollified by the new and shiny. 

I am tired of the emphasis in our culture on buying more stuff. The amount of stuff I already have stresses me out. If there’s nothing the current pandemic has taught us, I hope that we have learned that we can’t shop our way out of economic insecurity (we haven’t). 

Don’t get me started on the intersection of gender and capitalism, and the real economic insecurity experienced by many women in the United States, and the fantasy of being able to go on that shopping spree and not worry about it because your royal billionaire vampire boyfriend is footing the bills. I guess I know why authors include this scene after all. 


This Hot Take By Holly is brought to you by books that might have other things to recommend them, but were ruined by shopping scenes. I’m looking at you, Marrying Winterborne and A Hunger Like No Other

3 thoughts on “Bitches Be Shopping”

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