Women and the World of Materialism

Being a woman entails a universe of things in today’s society. Endless qualities can be used to describe a woman in all of her multifaceted moments, but there’s a specific quality that seems to chase after some of us and could sometimes leave a bad taste in someone else’s mouth. In 2019, materialism is a real issue, especially in a society where capitalism and wealth are some pretty nasty monsters under our beds. Multiple media outlets lead us to try and achieve the same lifestyle and aesthetic as America's favorite American Dynasty. Every kind of woman, in different stages of life also feel this pressure; even moms feel pressure to be like the Kardashians.

For modern-day women, materialism revolves indefinitely around us. Society has made us prey to consumerism with the number of things we are constantly pressured to buy. If you think about it, it’s all about pressure: we are pressured to always look our best, we are pressured to be polished, we are pressured to be tamed, we are pressured to have a signature aesthetically pleasing style. Unfortunately, dressing the way you love can leave a crater in your wallet.

Songs like “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande can be perfect for when you’re getting ready for a night out, or for a night of treating yourself. Songs like these speak of flaunting riches and going on shameless shopping sprees. However, those of us who are independent college students relying on loans to pay for our education can’t afford our happiness being the same price as red bottoms. We can’t afford $1,295 shoes, but we sure want them.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Social media constantly makes us want to buy things to look like the Kardashian clan, the Hadid sisters, or Madison Beer. We constantly fantasize about being them—not just spending a day in their shoes, we want to become them. We’re flooded by marketing strategies that are designed to invade our senses and turn everything we see into a product. We can’t help but want the things all of these influencers and celebrities have, because these items prove that they’ve achieved success in their life.

We experience this every day of our lives. When we are children, we can’t wait to reach adulthood, and it seems to take an eternity because we want to start having our own things. However, once we grow up, we end up with a very sad reality. Dr. Sarah Newcomb wrote an article for Psychology Today about how materialism affects women and men psychologically.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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As she follows the studies of Dr. Tim Kasser, a psychology professor from Knox College who specializes in finding the answer as to what is the relation between materialism and life satisfaction. He points out certain facts that can help us distinguish when our sense of materialism becomes unhealthy. All of his research explains how, at the end of the day, all of this materialism is toxic. Dr. Kasser wrote for the Annual Review of Psychology in 2016, stating: “Substantial evidence shows that people who place a relatively high priority on materialistic values/goals consume more products and incur more debt, have lower-quality interpersonal relationships, act in more ecologically destructive ways, have adverse work and educational motivation, and report lower personal and physical well-being.”

We have to remember that most of these A-list celebrities are born into privilege. They've lived in luxury their whole lives; for them, these things are, most of the time, placed on their lap. However, we can’t be too judgemental about these things. Our brains release serotonin when we impress someone, making you feel happy about an item you're proud to show off, maybe because you’ve worked hard to get it. Sr. Newcomb highlights, “Materialistic values become unhealthy when they are highly important in comparison with other values for which we might strive.”

Trying to obtain all of these things shouldn’t be our priority in life. Exhausting ourselves by trying to achieve this only leads to selfishness and sadness. Our goal in life shouldn’t only be to get a good job or to have nice things: this has to come after. There's nothing wrong with wanting nice things, but we must watch our mindset so that this doesn’t spiral out of control, causing us to live unsatisfied and incomplete for many years.

The key to leading a healthy life might be in finding the perfect balance between splurging and not needing everything that is announced on our screens and calming the urge to swipe that credit card. Outer standards shouldn’t keep falling upon us as the years pass, as we never are relieved of being under pressure for countless reasons because we are lead to believe that what we have is not enough when maybe, it’s plenty.