Monday, September 27, 2010

Confessions of a Shopaholic

While reading “The New Politics of Consumption” I immediately thought of the stereotypical consumer; one who buys in excess without the need for the actual products themselves. As a society we tend to evade the idea that we shop to fill a void. Many people shop to gain a short-lived high until this wears off, and one begins to want the next “new” item. This idea and continuing cycle is well represented in the film “Confessions of a Shopaholic”. The film goes along the path of a young woman who clearly has an unhealthy obsession with buying. They have even named her as being someone with a “shopaholic” issue, likening this problem to that of alcoholism or drugs. Social critics in this article however suggest that “the good life…could be achieved by attaining comfortable, middle-class standard of living.” (184). This idea is implemented throughout society as to be successful one should simply be happy, however the path of consumers may suggest otherwise. Our society as a whole creates a world filled with the idea that without the “newest” product we cannot obtain happiness. This relates to the numerous issues surrounding the effects of media and advertisement messages, both obvious and subliminal, that are accepted by consumers. If we are constantly “told” that we will not be accepted if we do not fulfill our material wants, then maybe this issue isn’t shopping too much, but rather why we consume. The reasoning behind it is much more psychological than anything else, a disease where we are cycled into thinking how society wants us to, rather than for ourselves. The main character of “Confessions of a Shopaholic” realizes this truth as she accepts that her need to consume isn’t a product of her own thoughts but rather the ideas our culture has created.

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