This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This granted women the right to have a credit card in her own name. This translated into an unprecedented degree of independence for women. Feminists and their allies fought for this new world and it’s a good thing because we love to buy things with our credit cards sooooooo muuuuuuuuch!
And, thankfully, credit card companies like Banif know just how to make us comfortable, by combining feminism and infantilization and kissing our asses because We. Are. So. Special. “Every day is women’s day!” Wheeeee!
The husband in this ad, though, likely thinks he would have been better off if his wife wasn’t allowed to make financial decisions without his approval. Stupid women and their stupid financial decisions. Ruining everything.
Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
marcia — January 6, 2014
In the late 70s I worked for a credit reporting company. They were storing married women's info as a subset of the husband's record. I was a systems analyst and wrote a long, detailed report about this and how it could not be legal
under the new law. Someone leaked my report to the FTC and I was subpenaed
to testify against the company. It never went to court but it ended my career.
I did the right thing and got punished for it. I have no regrets but I did keep my name when I married so as not to become a subset of husband's file.
Conuly — January 6, 2014
People laughing while holding credit cards. Eerily reminiscent of the women laughing alone with salad pictures.
Greg392 — January 6, 2014
The man in the Chase ad doesn't look all that upset, really. I did find it amusing, though, that in his imagination she's wearing the gown and he's still wearing the flipflops.
#confuzzled — January 6, 2014
"I am deliriously happy while using this product" is actually the premise of most ads. If that's infantilization, it happens to everyone.
Bill R — January 6, 2014
Pay your bill in full every month and get free loans for life. Only way to go!
[links] Link salad in the Arctic cold | jlake.com — January 7, 2014
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naath — January 7, 2014
I am pretty darn happy I can get my own credit card.
Yeah, a lot of these adverts suck. But much more infantilising that anything you can print on a credit card, or claim that I might do with mine is to deny me credit in my own name by virtue of my gender. That I can get my own credit card, my own mortgage, my own student loan... this is independence.
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Emily — January 7, 2014
This is probably the wrong thing to get out of this article, but I NEED that Hello Kitty credit card.
brucearthurs — January 8, 2014
If you're going to use images from Shutterstock, maybe you could -pay- them for the use of their images and not have to have that annoying watermark across the center of the photos?
I believe they accept credit cards.
Nellie Athome — January 8, 2014
Hmmm... my mother had a credit card in her own name, while married, in 1960. I got my first credit card at age 13 in 1965
James McRitchie — January 10, 2014
Under coverture, husband and wife were one person as far as the law was concerned, and that person was the husband. A married woman could not own property, sign legal documents or enter into a contract, obtain an education against her husband's wishes, or keep a salary for herself. If a wife was permitted to work, under the laws of coverture she was required to relinquish her wages to her husband. In certain cases, a wife did not have individual legal liability for her misdeeds, since it was legally assumed that she was acting under the orders of her husband, and generally a husband and a wife were not allowed to testify either for or against each other. As recently as 1972, two U.S. states allowed a wife accused in criminal court to offer as a legal defense that she was obeying her husband's orders.
Many feminists understand the fiction and fraud of the coverture "contract." However, there seems to be little recognition of the same type of fraud involved in the employment contract where the employer takes legal ownership of produced products or services and caries the legal liability of employees. Carol Pateman's "The Sexual Contract" was one exception:
"The contractarian argument is unassailable all the time it is accepted that abilities can 'acquire' and external relation to an individual, and can be treated as if they were property. To treat abilities in this manner is also implicitly to accept that the 'exchange' between employer and worker is like any other exchange of material property. ...The answer to the question of how property in the person can be contracted out is that no such procedure is possible. Labour power capacities or services, cannot be separated from the person of the worker like pieces of property."
This same fiction of separation is operating in our failure to prosecute the bandits of Wall Street because the company takes legal ownership and carries the legal liabilities for the de facto jointly created activities of its employees, except in the case of outright criminal activities by individuals. Slaves were also seen as mere tools of their masters but if they killed someone, all of a sudden they were human, with their own will that must be punished.
With their historical experience of coverture are the eyes of feminists any more open than those of men to the idea of seeing businesses as democracies and all that entails? Neither workers nor shareowners should be expected to give up inalienable rights through explicit or implicit contracts that strip them of voluntary independent action and thought. Just as those who wield political authority over citizens do so as their delegates -- as their representatives -- so should business leaders evolve into trustees of shareowners and employees if we are ever to free ourselves from business royalty.
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