Monday, February 8, 2010

Possessions and Lies

A while ago Chantelle wrote this post about being frugal and refusing to buy non-essentials throughout the month of February. It got me thinking about not buying in to the whole consumerism thing in general. Not just with actions but with my thinking. Then on the weekend I watched a few documentaries about hoarding as a real social problem and started making some connections for myself between the two.

The whole hoarding thing is like watching a car crash. It's really horrible and you feel bad for the people involved, but at the same time it's morbidly fascinating. Anyway I was looking at this site about this poor guy who has just bought endless piles of stuff. I know that there is a mental disorder involved, but something about his need to OWN things really hit home with me.

You know I get heaps of blog posts in my reader each day that have clothes and makeup and furniture and all these other material possessions and I find myself coveting them, and it just seems really wrong. And then when I watched that film I just felt like I was just like them, getting sucked into some false consciousness that if only I could OWN that thing it would make me feel better, more accomplished, that I had arrived, that I was safe.

Don't get me wrong, I love the pretty things in life and wish for certain things and I think that's normal and ok. But only to a point. I've been obsessing about a nail polish for about 3 months now that you can't get in NZ and honestly, I think about it every day. A NAIL POLISH for goodness sake. That's not normal thinking!

There is some part of me that thinks this whole hoarding thing is consumerism on steroids. Corporations want you to buy things so they can make money. They sell you a lie that if you buy a certain product it makes a statement about who you are, and effects how others think of you. The reality is that that is a totally corrupt falsehood - but it's been repeated so often, so much that it has become a social truth. And we are all getting sucked in. Even the 'bohemians' among us.

The whole beauty industry, for example, is all just a corrupt ploy by corporations to make people feel ugly and fat so they can buy a product that "saves" them from themselves. The whole thing is false, but now it's so entrenched in our society that if you see someone who isn't wearing makeup to hide their flaws you feel disdain for them. Even the people that invented that lie in the first place have to conform, or else they are marginalized. I don't even go to the supermarket without putting concealer on anymore - what am I afraid of? That the checkout operator or the guy buying steak are going to look at me and think I'm ugly and therefore a bad person? And tell people they know? There is something seriously, seriously warped about that.

Surely I'm not the only person who feels like this?

Anyway, apologies for the rant. Here's the clip:


  1. Yes, I think a lot of us fall victim to the consumerism and the beauty image of modern day society. I think it's good to realise it, but it's not unhealthy to like fashion and..nailpolish you can't get in New Zealand haha. I think we have to be realistic. Some people waste money, ie buy stuff they'll brag about on their blog but never use it. Or likewise they'll buy some shirt that is ridiculously expensive because of the label, but rarely wear it before throwing it out when the season's over etc.. when they could have bought a similar item for much cheaper, albeit it's not "designer". I'm all for going eco and re-cycling. And there's nothing wrong with bargain buying. It's the money wasting that is a problem. And the design houses that overcharge for a piece of fabric.

  2. I couldn't be more with you. I do think that it is sad to waste money away in unnecessary things and very expensive items just to brag about them or seldom use them. I'm -just like Sammy- very into thrifting and recycling. Incredibly sweet post. =)

    Btw, would love to invite you to join my giveaway!



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