Buy character, not popularity

As a young woman who dedicates serious time on buying the right hair, clothing and beauty product, I feel the pressure of consumerism constantly — It never lets up.

Currently the media is on a mission to turn American people into consumerists that are constantly pumping their hard earned dollars into the economy. Marketers and the companies they work for make a point of putting advertisements and subliminal messages about products on things that everyone lays their eyes on at least once a day, if not every hour.

Television programming features commercial after commercial jammed into shorter time periods, and if you suspect that commercials have been catching your attention a lot more, you’re not crazy.

Most commercials, especially ones for food, are now made to be louder in volume. Now I’m not suggesting that we as a society go to war against the advertising world. I can understand the necessity to market a product to increase profit, at the same time I understand that the strategies and lengths that many advertisers go to in order to increase profit can be down right abhorrent.

It’s no secret the fashion industry infantilizes women and beauty companies claim to have to bottled the fountain of youth for $19.99.

Also, video games and beer ads present the “macho man” image that is usually accompanied by messages that say being a womanizer and extremely violent is ideal.

When you get to the root of who is orchestrating this strategic assault on our psyche, it leads to marketing corporations, that work for companies and those companies work for … well capitalism.

I don’t think capitalism is the root of all evil. However, if you were to ask your average graphic designer of expensive shoes or CEO of a makeup company, what they think of the public being bombarded with ads they create, they would probably respond they are giving the consumers exactly what they want or that they just enjoy their work and that the people project their own messages and inferences onto it.

In a way, they are right. Numbers don’t lie, and we as Americans love to shop. We eat up every advertisement featuring one anti-aging beauty product after another. We buy food, clothes and technology that makes us feel included or rebellious. We’ll buy anything that makes us feel relevant.

So we buy things we don’t need. I buy collagen mascara, knowing damn well it’s ridiculous to think a $5 dollar tube of black tar will make my eyelashes look ten years younger and ten times longer.

Recently while online shopping and wondering why all the models in the clothes looked unhealthily thin, I thought maybe these companies should be held accountable for the things they do. Maybe they know exactly what message they’re sending but they’re thinking about quick profits not a 13 year old of a healthy weight developing an eating disorder.

I wonder if young men knew what was in those muscle supplements and protein shakes, would they guzzle it like mana from heaven?

These days Photoshop is a given and makeup companies airbrush models, and the list goes on.

Maybe these companies aren’t insidious moneymakers. Maybe, like the rest of people in American society; they don’t know when enough is enough. Are they amoral? Sure I guess. Are they operating in the grey areas of what is truly good for society? I think so. Are they superior to us and brainwashing us into buying their products? No, I don’t think so. When societies finally acknowledge that a practice is detrimental to their health, they will be quick to act.

I’m 20 years old, my mother never bought into the forever-young spiel.

I feel proud of my mother for teaching me, by example alone, that to be a strong, consciously aware woman, you have to be able to see through the fog and have confidence in your own beauty, and that heavy face creams and anti-aging products aren’t what make someone age gracefully, character is.

I hope that our society learns that our character, not the products we buy, is what defines us as a people.