America And Materialism Essay

968 words - 4 pages

In the past years more and more people are starting to believe that America is turning into a materialistic society. This is in fact true because, as the years pass, we as Americans are becoming increasingly materialistic. We buy things that we “want” but do not necessarily “need’. It seems that we are beginning to care more and more about trends and what is “in the new” or what is “popular”. Many people say that Americans are simply overly materialistic. Although this is true, such a claim is, in fact, too simplistic.
There are many factors that drive Americans to be so materialistic. One example can be found in the media. With influence of social media, we have created these social classes that we put others and ourselves in, such as rich and poor, or, pretty and ugly. Most of the time, we determine who fits in each of these “classes” by what he or she has and what he or she looks like. If they are beautiful or have an immense amount of expensive “things” like cars, jewelry, or suits and dresses we see that individual as being rich. And if one does not possess those things than he or she is seen as poor or unprivileged. So we begin to start this competition of who has the most “stuff”. In her essay titled, Shopping and Other Spiritual Adventures in America Today, Phyllis Rose writes about how many believe that shopping is a form of therapy and that she believes one does not really need to buy another sweater. She believes that, “ You need the power that comes with buying or not buying it.” How many times does an individual want to buy something for the sole purpose of showing it off to their friends and family or to receive compliments from strangers on the street? We as humans “want” and “need” attention, even if we have to spend hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of dollars to get it.
Juliet Schor believes that we consume competitively and that we are increasingly dissatisfied while our “buying power” is increasing. However, such claims, again, are too simple to describe America’s materialistic society. Joan Smith writes an essay, titled Shop-happy, in which she refutes Schor’s arguments claiming that, “ the urge to buy is much more complicated than Schor…even begins to suggest.” She believes that status isn’t the only reason why people buy things. She suggests that wanting things comes natural to us, just as breathing does. She describes how we sooth our babies with “shiny” things and how they want to “touch things, taste things, and bash them against the wall.” From these statements, one can see exactly how complex and intricate our materialistic society actually is.
Another aspect of this problem is that we are overly focused on these chain stores because all we want to do is...

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