Am I the only one who gets fed up with our consumer driven culture?
I sure hope I’m not alone in this thinking. Actually, I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to many people who share the same annoyances that I often feel day to day. And yet, more regularly I just choose to ignore these aggravations because I’m too busy to process and it’s just plain ol’ easier to deal with all of the backward and selfish manifestations and messages if I simply choose to not think about them.
However, when I pause to reflect and truly think… that’s when I begin to feel frustrated and fiercely annoyed at my own culture which I have come to both love and hate.
Last night, I briefly saw a portion of the Victoria Secret Fashion Show because my roommate was watching it on our TV in our apartment as she did homework.
And let me tell ya, it was intriguing… and mesmerizing… and strangely beautiful… and yet incredibly disturbing and disgusting all at once. It was the most ironic thing in the world to be feeling such polar emotions simultaneously. I realized that it was the different sides of me appreciating and critiquing the various aspects and components of the show.
I was appalled by the apparent and blatant objectification of these women as they strut down the runway, stared at as if they were something to eat by the musicians who were sharing the stage with them. Additionally, I could not get over the fact that each of these stunningly gorgeous models made Lady Gaga appear big. Lady Gaga is by means a large woman.
In fact, she’s 5’ 1’’, 110 pounds to be exact (according to Wikipedia). An incredibly petite individual compared to the majority of the world’s humans. And yet, somehow she appeared large. It is no wonder that people – specifically girls – have eating disorders in our society. I know it’s an argument and critique that most people have heard at this point in time, but if we’re being sent messages that 5’ 11” and 115 pounds is the pinnacle of beauty, than golly g… of course girls are going to resort to means such as starving themselves in order to try to attain this level of gorgeousness.
Yes, I realize that many of these models say that they do eat; however, it must not be much because to be that small… well. Science people. Aside from genes (which obviously plays a significant role in their physique) being 5’11” and 115 pounds is not exactly what the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends for a BMI (www.nhlbi.nih.gov). Unsurprisingly, these models’ height to weight ratio is significantly under the recommendations.
However, on the flip side, despite the arguably skimpy outfits each of them wore, I was awed by these outfits because they were evidently masterpieces of art that had indeed had hundreds – if not thousands – of hours invested into creating every single one of them. I was mesmerized by the nearly unattainable beauty that was on display – the art forms, but also the people modeling the works of art. They were undoubtedly physically beautiful… and yet, a part of me felt sorry for them. A good portion of their lives – arguably the entirety of their lives - revolve around our consumer and materialistic culture, with them being the face of it. What high pressures to maintain! The expectation to always look fabulous and good…. uffda. No thank you. But they have to, because it’s their job. And it’s what they’re obviously good at and find pride in. So for that reason alone I do not envy them. Despite the praise and mysteriousness of their glamour and so-called “perfect” lives, I could never live with that kind of pressure.
So this consumer driven culture… what drives it?
Our blatant and obvious need for more… obviously.
It’s incredibly difficult not to “buy” into it, both in actuality and mentally. We are constantly bombarded by advertisements and stuff stuff stuff and more stuff…. Our lives are overwhelmed by our STUFF.
Does it not become overwhelming at times? I know for myself it sure does.
Don’t get me wrong – I like my stuff. Well, at least some of it. But to be honest, most of it I forget I have half of the time.
Consequently, a goal for myself in this coming year is to simplify my life. An initial step I’m taking to do this is to declutter my room and closet at home over Christmas break. I realized that I have nearly an entire closet full of clothes at home that I don’t need nor care about, so, why do I even have them? By the time I graduate from college (and ideally, perhaps even after Christmas!) I hope to have given away half of my wardrobe because honestly, it has come to clutter my life.
I’ve come to realize is that despite the initial happiness that comes from gaining a new “thing”, unless I use it regularly, it will more likely just end up taking up space and further cluttering – yes, cluttering – my life. And the thing with clutter, is that it not only takes up space, but also time. And I want to be investing my time into worthwhile projects, ideas, and people … not into stuff.
Life is too short as it is; thus, shouldn’t we all be investing our lives into things (*not actual things… you know what I mean) that really matter? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all simplified our lives? A few inspirations I found:
Take a look :) And perhaps you can join me and simplify your life by going through your closet over Christmas break. It’s not something big, but hey, baby steps. At least it’s something. And baby steps lead to big steps.
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.