Materialism Governs Society Essay

1014 words - 4 pages

When I was in high school there was a girl who would walk around in dark depressing clothing; I over heard her talking one day saying that she handmade most of her own clothes . This was before Hot Topic was in every mall in America and goth became main stream. She stood out from everyone one else and she enjoyed the attention people would give her as she walked down the halls. I have to admit she was original and unique, until her only friend started to copy her “style”. Then all of a sudden there were two of them. By the time I graduated there were a group of them walking around; their private community in full force. I would like to think that as you get older you grow out of this; but that would be a lie. In fact we do the same thing as adults. We move to a neighborhood that we find suitable; then we conform to the life style and characteristics of that area. We make informative decisions that create the world we want to live in. We start to buy houses, cars, and clothes that are accepted within that community. In modern-day society materialism is inescapable, which is exactly why we should embrace it.
Clearly, businesses understand this and spend billions of dollars on marketing ploys. Joseph Turow a professor at University of Pennsylvania's describes in an article that advertising industries has gone to the extent to promote images about our place in society. We exhibit this through our appearance and what Turow calls psycho-physical identities. Marketing focuses on this concept and sells the lifestyle through advertisements. The important question we must ask ourselves is whether or not this a bad thing?
With as much money that can be made from selling a lifestyle to its consumers, it can start to become extremely difficult to sort out what lifestyle is right for you. Douglas Rushkoff a media theorist speaks about the gruen transfer. Ruskoff states that the gruen transfer is “mental paralysis” from all the choices and advertisements thrown at a consumer. In the article Which One of These Sneaker Are Me; Ruskoff gives a great example of a teenage kid at the mall staring blankly at a shoe rack trying to figure what sneaker is “me”. We probably all have experienced this confusion at one point or another. With every negative there is as positive. We have mind boggling amounts of clothing brands to help us express the way we want to be perceived in society. Yet, if we place too much emphasis on brand names it makes us materialistic . A yuppie is no different from a hippie that buys hybrid cars and goes green . The same can also be said about a person that buys a Harley motorcycle; with their arms full of tattoos riding to “live”. We all want to be seen in a certain light. For many of us, material things makes us happy. It entertains us with plasma TV’s, video games, cell phones, purses, motorcycles etc. Materialism has much to offer. It can motivate people to work hard and set goals. Some people...

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