Walmart, the Beast…

On my search for objects that embody a process of militarization for all members of society I traveled to the beast that is Walmart. That place is scary. I decided that Walmart would be an optimal source of militarization in that it is the ‘All American Super Store’ (without being all American at all.) It is marketed as a one-stop-shop for all single parents or busy parents (as I assume from the back to school commercials) needs. It markets itself as a helping hand to the average family, and indeed there was an awesome amount of product geared towards children.
I have attached three images, two of which are geared spesifically towards children. I found them strolling down an aisle, in perfect perpendicular juxtaposition to one another. On my right, an “Essential Covert Ops Camouflage Kit” with a collectable patch and map. The boy on the front of the package is focused and dead pan, pointing an arrow straight at the consumer. This kit turns the typical backyard into a ‘safari’. The product is suggested for children 5 years of age and older–I assume primarily boys. It was nestled between trucks with big wheels and other toys and gadgets geared towards boys. I found it interesting when considering the different facets of militarization that there was such a heavy focus on security and protection (even a subconscious desire to score and own the outdoors in one way or another). There is no predator but the basic outdoors and it’s possibilities…
Walking down the aisle on my left I was overwhelmed by the girls section. Abhorrent amounts of pink, purple, and sparkles threw me off guard (I’ve never liked these colors, even as a child), I was in a weird nostalgic foggy daze when I noticed I was staring at a vacuum. A Dirt Devil to be exact, patent red and pink with sparkles; a true sight to behold. I was confused and angry to see that it was being sold next to a toaster, with two pieces of white toast included by a brand called ‘I Want to Be’, this series was the ‘home’ series. I had a kitchen set so I can understand the toaster (I guess), but a vacuum? What girl aspires to own a pretty vacuum…
Comparing the two, it is infinitely interesting that the life of the girl is supposed to develop and flourish inside while the life of the boy is based outside in flexibility and range of movement and terrain. I don’t know if this is a total stretch, but it seems legitimate to argue that the programming of children to maintain their home and property can be the starting point to militarization and the fight for property (maybe?).

The last photo is one I snapped of a ‘make your own dog tag’ machine. I find it oddly humorous that this machine dispenses fluffy and personalized war-type memorabilia for every member of your family, here the screen captures a well groomed dog sporting a dog tag.




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