Monday, June 3, 2013

Materialism for Good or Bad

Gatsby tries to prove his worthiness to Daisy with an elaborate lifestyle

I recently read an article in Time magazine about materialism in pop culture. More specially, materialism in movies, these movies depicted materialism and the central characters struggles to find happiness through things. The Great Gatsby’s main character tried to woo the woman he loves with all of his stuff. In The Bling Ring, we watch a group of teenagers who covet celebrity possessions so much they resort to crime, and finally in Spring Breakers teenagers once again go on a crime spree to fund their spring break and all its hedonistic pleasures.


The acquisition of things has been a driving force behind commercialism for years. You can’t see an ad on TV, a picture in a magazine or listen to the radio without being bombarded with products that will make our lives better. This is the central idea behind advertising, if you buy this product everything will be okay. There are even advertisements on TV about how prescription drugs will make us feel better or happier, “just ask your doctor.” But do things really make us better or happier?


Teenagers go on a criminal shopping spree in celebrity closets
I know I write a lot about jewelry, fashion and the general trapping of commercially marketed stuff. While I love to rave about a particular garment, handbag or necklace I know that these are just things and one must be realistic in our expectations. I don’t believe a gemstone will make my life complete but I do believe they are nice to have around. I’m just not going to stop buying groceries or skip a house payment in order to have them.


Materialism in itself is not bad. It makes us work harder to achieve financial success. It teaches us the value of a dollar and quantifies the sacrifices we sometimes have to make in order to realize the big picture. Materialism becomes a dirty word when we put ourselves ahead of others, compromise our moral values or seek out property as a way to compensate for feelings of inadequacy. Maybe that is what all those movies are trying to teach us.
Things end badly for a group of girls on a crime funded spring break

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