This may be why you just bought your Louis Vuitton bag...

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  1. #1 Apr 24, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
    Here is a brief article regarding an interesting study conducted at The University of Minnesota. It may, in part explain why we drop so much $$$ on a Louis Vuitton bag! At the very least, it raises fascinating questions about the role of luxury goods in our social life. Enjoy! ����

    Does purchasing a designer hand bag or a high-end sports car play a role in a romantic relationship?

    According to new research, the answer is affirmative although men and women use the acquisition of luxury products for different and sometimes paradoxical reasons.

    Scientists have known that purchasing designer handbags and shoes is a means for women to express their style, boost self-esteem, or even signal status.

    In a new study, University of Minnesota researchers discovered some women also seek these luxury items to prevent other women from stealing their man.

    Researchers used five experiments featuring 649 women of varying ages and relationship statuses to discover how women’s luxury products often function as a signaling system directed at other women who pose a threat to their romantic relationships.

    “It might seem irrational that each year Americans spend over $250 billion on women’s luxury products with an average woman acquiring three new handbags a year, but conspicuous consumption is actually smart for women who want to protect their relationship,” says associate professor Vladas Griskevicius.

    “When a woman is flaunting designer products, it says to other women ‘back off my man.’”

    Griskevicius and PhD student Yajin Wang first investigated what other women infer about a woman’s relationship partner based on the luxuriousness of her possessions.

    “We found that a woman who is wearing luxury items and designer brands is perceived to have a more devoted partner and as a result other women are less likely to flirt with him,” says Wang.

    “Regardless of who actually purchased the items, other women inferred that the man had something to do with it and is thus more devoted to her.”

    In another study, Griskevicius and Wang made participants feel jealous by having them imagine that another woman was flirting with their man. Shortly afterward, the women completed a seemingly unrelated task in which they drew a luxury brand logo on a handbag.

    The result? When women felt jealous, they drew designer logos that were twice the size of those in the other conditions.

    “The feeling that a relationship is being threatened by another woman automatically triggers women to want to flash Gucci, Chanel, and Fendi to other women,” explains Wang.

    “A designer handbag or a pair of expensive shoes seems to work like a shield, where wielding a Fendi handbag successfully fends off romantic rivals.”

    Another of Griskevicius and Wang’s studies revealed that when romantic relationships were threatened, women not only desired more expensive handbags, cars, cell phones, and shoes, they also spent 32 percent more of their own money for a chance to win an actual luxury spending spree.

    Investigators believe the study shows that luxury products serve an important function in relationships, but that men and women use conspicuous consumption for a different purpose.

    Past research by Griskevicius has found that men often seek expensive products to show off to the opposite sex in order to attract them as mates. The current studies reveal that women often seek expensive products to show off to the same sex in order to protect their turf.

    “The fact that most women’s luxury products are aimed to impress other women helps explain why men have a hard time figuring out if a woman’s handbag costs $50 or $5,000,” adds Griskevicius.

    “Women’s designer products are geared to show off to other women not men.”

    Researchers were surprised to find that jealousy triggered a desire for luxury products not just for women in committed relationships but also for single women.

    “Many single women obviously want designer products, but instead of these products saying back off my current man, the single woman is saying back off my future man,” adds Wang.

    “Conspicuous consumption for women has a lot to do with subtle status within the female group.”

    The study will be published in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.
     
    shazzy quijano likes this.
  2. Could they not have spent the research money on finding a cure for something worthwhile. Perhaps women buy luxury goods cause they like nice "stuff"
     
  3. Of course, every woman's reason for any decision in her life revolves around men. What a load! :roflmfao:
     
  4. Actually, the point of the study is that it revolves around female to female interaction.
     
  5. I'm always amazed at how much women care what other women think about their clothes, style, handbags, shoes et al.

    I'm slightly conceited but I never think "back off and don't look at my man" when i know I look good or great even. None of my fashion is meant to impress much less ward off women
     
  6. MarraC, I think all the researchers involved in this study would agree with you. It seems to me they are attempting to explore passed that given component. Obviously, handbags and accessories, just as clothing, are ways we communicate to others on multiple levels. How does it impact our social behavior? I find that question fascinating.

    As for your comment about why the funds were allocated to this particular research project, I am pretty certain the department that funded it (probably in part through an external grant) believes it is indeed worthwhile.
     
  7. Interesting article, but not a portrayal of me, at all. I purchase items for me and me alone. Nothing to do with wanting women to stay away from my husband, or wanting to impress others.
     
  8. +1.
     
  9. You would not know. It's completely unconscious behavior. They are not saying women march to the store shouting "let me buy that Alma to fend off other women." :biggrin:
     
    BULL likes this.
  10. ANYWAY... It was probably a mistake to post this on TPF. To be honest, I was hoping people would read this with an open mind. Maybe chime in with a little "that's interesting! I never considered that!" If I were lucky, someone may discuss other sources and articles. There are many out there! Just check out JSTOR!

    Maybe I am just a hopeless academic who lives in a world of anti-intellectualism. Maybe I buy Louis Vuitton because "I just want nice stuff. And that's all. Period. No alternative. No discussion allowed."
     

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  11. That quite interesting. :P
    This post could be better off in the general topic to have a broader of opinions than in LV. :smile:
     
  12. Thanks for the clarification.
     
  13. The gender ideas embedded in this particular research--and in the two fields of marketing and psychology, the domains of these profs--are fantastically retro. Snort.
    It's almost as if they think women don't buy and dress to display personal achievement, as just one possible symbolic meaning . Hello there, Don Draper.
     
  14. I think everyone subconsciously or not buys things to project the image of their vision of success. Whether it be new car, handbag, new electronics, new clothes, whatever.

    If they want to project their successes via things to show possessiveness of a person, that's how they thing they'll be successful in retaining or acquiring that romantic interest. Think of in the media someone freshly dating someone suddenly has a new car, new home? It projects their supposed success in the relationship.

    Do I use designer items to impress others, sure. I didn't start buying LV out of the blue. I saw an awesome dressed lady and wanted what she had. Do I buy for my own pleasure? Of course.

    Do other women judge other women for what they carry? Of course, look how many threads there are on judging others. So of course there are people who buy LV to show up the other women, but there are also many other reasons for buying luxury items.
     
  15. Yes I agree, there are many reasons why we do what we do. The purpose of this study focuses only on one part of the puzzle, obviously. I may add that I find your honest and blunt analysis of your own behavior quite refreshing in fact.