Materialism in Today's Society

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The Constitution states that we all have the right to pursue happiness. For some, fulfilling their happiness is buying new “stuff”. Across our nation, materialism seems to be prevalent above personality. Kindness, truthfulness and education don’t seem to matter as much as owning the nicest clothes or newest phone model. This is a problem among kids and adults alike.

It is a large issue in schools as well. It seems to determine friendships and define “popularity.” As a female middle-schooler going into high school, I have noticed the ways materialism affects teenagers.

According to the Dictionary, materialism is defined as “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual or cultural values.” In this day and age, it can also be defined as owning the most popular clothing brands, newest phones and the name-brand shoes.

There are brands that can be seen across the school year-round; Vineyard Vines, Adidas, and American Eagle are just a few. Walking down the hallway each day seems like deja-vu from every other day. There are backs sporting whales and elephants, black and white super-stars and leather tags labeled with “Ugg”. In a preppy town in Connecticut, everyone is able to recognize the labels without a second glance.

While media may suggest that everyone wears these top-notch brands, that is not the case. Not everyone cares about being in with the new trend or some simply can’t afford the overpriced material. Social platforms also increase the sense of pressure to follow the materialistic crowd.  Less materialistic people find that other things take precedence over what they can hold. These people care more about the fundamentals of a person instead of their appearance. In other words, they don’t judge a book by its cover.

I notice the looks of disdain to those wearing off-brand Uggs in the winter or non-Hunter Boots, as if saying “Are you really wearing those?” People considered popular in my school are usually the ones wearing the most well-known brands everyday and hanging out with others wearing the same brands. The judgemental attitude from these kids, I’ve noticed, can decrease the self-confidence of the people from different crowds.

The point of this is not to diminish people who are obsessed with material items; I have clothes from most of the brands mentioned. My purpose is to put emphasis on how material objects have become so prominent in everyday society. There is a fine line between having a few things from popular (and usually more expensive) brands and being obsessed with needing to have everything from them. In schools, the people preoccupied with having things they can show off rather than highlighting their personality seem to be the ones who are less accepting of those who don’t value materialism as much.

At one point in most people's lives, they will begin to realize the time spent obsessing over having the materials could have been used for something to better the world or themselves. In sixth grade, my teacher had a quote on her wall that has inspired me ever since I first read it… “30 years from now, it won’t matter what shoes you wore, how your hair looked, or the jeans you bought. What will matter is what you learned and how you used it.”

 






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MellyBee said...
Jun. 19 at 9:02 pm
Awesome writing! Sums things up very well. Keep up the great work!
 
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