For this assignment, I decided to explore militarization in a location that I thought would serve as a microcosm for the day-to-day goods and media the average American consumes and is exposed to, the local Gainesville Super Wal-Mart.
This sale display highlighted mainstream gaming's preoccupation with war and military imagery as the central theme of nearly all marketing, narrative, and gameplay elements. Considering the target demographic of most video games are young men, it is understandable why military imagery is used as it evokes some the most revered traits of masculinity. Immersing the player in a world where their actions exemplify physical power, leadership, and virility whilst also allowing them to compete against other players for recognition of these traits could satisfy an innate adolescent desire to affirm their connection to the male identity.
I found the use of Christmas imagery, with its connotations of joy and domesticity, to be a surprising display choice for these knives. Implying that one should give and receive items of great lethal utility shows how we are encouraged to normalize military values within the family unit
The guns and ammunition section of the store combined what are ostensibly armaments of war with an open acknowledgement of the ever-present surveillance system in place to monitor their use.
Extending the allure of combat to a protein powder brand seeks to connect physical strength and power, essential to soldiers, as also equally essential for an individual to embody to authentic maleness. However, more importantly this product might suggest that we are encouraged throughout our lives to somehow appropriate the behaviors and attitudes of soldiers in combat for situations we navigate in civilian life.
One of the things that surprised me most about this assignment was the sheer variety of items one could find that were bestowed with military designs. Even an article as clothing as mundane as a bathrobe can be found with a camouflage pattern.