Story of Stuff

This week we have the Innovation&Sustainability project in our school. I am very happy about it first of all because I learn a lot, and second, because the school actually tries to spread the message and educate a responsible designer generation.

Although the intention is very noble, I’m skeptical about the effect. It is just not nice to see, while the lecturer talks about effects of consumerism, some students are checking out the latest arrivals on ASOS.

Anyway, I saw a very informative video about the Story of Stuff.It perfectly describes what is the problem with our material society. You can check it here (highly recommended!)

Or here is my interpretation in a picture:

storry of stuff

economia

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SOCIAL MEDIA aka FAKEALITY

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What people use social media for? To show the life to others that they want them to think they have. Fancy places, fancy food, beautiful people, endless money. This become the standard. We accept that this is how it should be. Most of the people want to fit in. This is human nature. We want to feel safe, welcomed, accepted, admired, loved, and we act as it is “expected”. To fit in, people have to start to consume the same things, and consume more.

Currently I am reading a book: The Green Marketing Manifesto by John Grant, and he describes it properly: (by the way I love the book, I can only recommend)

“The ‘frenzy’ of consumerism and its wasteful excess is due to a doomed attempt to achieve status.”

“We waste to prove that we are not poor”

And this is true as it is, although I would add some more: We waste to prove that we are better than others, that we are a part of the society, or that we have power.

Simply put: people want what they see in social media.

Unfortunately the most visible are the celebrities with fake lips, (or other fake body parts) with different boyfriend every week, with designer clothes, with tons of makeup, with no added value to the society. Teenage girls and boys, at their most vulnerable period of personal development, consider these people as role models.

Social Medial affected consumerism not only by communicating these false images but also by allowing 24\7 communication between company and consumer (reviews) or consumer and consumer (recommendation) excessive advertising and promotion.

The conclusion is that the more time we spent with checking our social media feed the more pressure we feel to live up to the “expectations”: CONSUME MORE TO BE COOL.

I think the basic problem is that we lost our self-esteem, and self-consciousness, and now need the approval of people who we don’t even know.

I know exactly how it is. Let me tell you a short story: I started a fashion blog because I wanted to be like the other fashion bloggers; fancy, go to events and fashion shows and get free stuff. But along the way I realized that “I want to be like others” is not an option. To live a happy and fulfilling life the first thing is to accept myself, set my own goals and fight my own battles. Until I want to live in someone else’s life, I cannot be successful. I cannot fight for other’s dream as hard as for mines.

I started to buy new clothes to shoot for every new post. I was influenced by their perfect life, I wanted to be a part of their community. But I failed (thanks God). And do you know why? Because that was not me. That was a lost girl, who was looking for her identity. Lacking of my own dream, I stole others. And I did not have the motivation to fight, to struggle, to work for that.

Since then, a lot happened. Today, I accept that I am not a fashionista, I am not a stylist, and I am never going to work for Vogue. And I don’t want any more. Because today, I have my own dreams, my own style, I am aware who I am, and I am proud. Even if I cannot fit in the mass.

Therefore my message is:

Do not let the fake social media images influence who you are. Please don’t go to Starbucks because you have seen a lot of cool picture on Instagram, or shop continuously new staff, because bloggers feature them. Before you consume, think about the consequences, and the impact you have on the environment.

WHY CONSUMERISM HAPPENS by anna rátkai

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In this post I listed the factors that influence our buying behavior. In the following posts I am going to explain one by one exactly how they affect the way we think, and why we buy what we buy. But first lets see briefly why does buying goods makes us happy

REASON NO 1: SOCIAL MEDIA aka FAKEALITY

We are living surrounded by social media platforms which communicates illusions. On one hand, they make the people feel that their life is miserable and thus people turn to shopping as an antidepressant. On the other hand, they promote consumerism right into your face by allowing advertising and featured contents.

REASON NO 2: MARKETING

Marketing is unavoidable. It is everywhere. Even if you don’t realized most probably you are a subject of marketing (e.g. product placement in movies, store experience, and actual ads in magazines or TV). Marketing could be, and should be used for good things: like promoting eco-friendly products and lifestyle, but definitely not for promoting excessive consuming.

 REASON NO 3: MATERIALISM:

We tend to judge people by their material belongings. We measure the success by the size of the house or car, by the number of pairs of shoes, vacation per year, quality of food. This creates a huge pressure on people who depend on others opinion and lives in fakeality.

REASON NO 4: THE MORE IS THE BETTER MINDSET

Closely connected to materialist thinking. People usually feel better if they have more or bigger of everything, because they do not wanted to be judged as poor or unsuccessful.

REASON NO 5: LACK OF EDUCATION

I don’t mean the general education like physics or history, but education about how we pollute environmental by buying clothes, or using cars, and even the bigger picture: the excessive emission of factories, water contamination etc. I believe if people know they will act.

REASON NO 6: ENORMOUS POWER OF CORPORATIONS

The goal is to sell whatever it takes.

REASON NO 7: POLITICS

I don’t know much about politics, only 1 thing: POLITICS SUCKS. Politics is not for the public good. Politics is only for that few people who has enough power to influence the decisions and make more money and power out of them.

REASON NO 8: LOST APPRECIATION OF NATURE

We tend to forget that all the physical belongings we own are possible because we have a beautiful nature which provides the resources. We see these resources endless, and using them like tomorrow does’t exist.

REASON NO 9: SHOPPING AS A FREE TIME ACTIVITY

People go to shopping malls, because they are bored and do not want to stay home. Sadly the only place they know is the nearest shopping center. And if they happened to be there, they buy some unnecessary stuff because… why not?

REASON NO 10: CARRIERIST SOCIETY

As people are more focused on making money, working on their career every day they forget about the importance of time spent with family, with friends, time for relaxation, time to enjoy life. And they replace these feeling with buying stuff, because that is the only thing they know how to enjoy.

And here are my last thought for today:

The human mind is a very complex, the reasons for excessive consumerism are even more complex. It is actually a vicious circle that we have to stop now, and create an appealing alternative, change the way we think about our lives, and what we consider as VALUE.

P.S.: When I write WE, I mean we as a society. Although I am very pleased that there are several movements, organizations, people, who are not part of “we”, and they think differently about things. I consider myself as a part of consumerist society, because I buy stuff, sometimes stuff I don’t need, but since I realized what I am really doing, I have started to change my lifestyle. This is an other topic, I am going to write about it later.

LETS BE THESE PEOPLE

consumerism-escape

CONFESSION TIME

Hey everyone.

Sorry for being lazy and not writing my supersuccessful blog.

Just kidding.

First of all I was not lazy at all lately and second, my blog is not successful (YET!!). Probably because I don’t have that much posts.

But here is the reason why:

I am that kind of person who can only start doing something when she is confident in it. I tried to write a second post several times, but as I was reading articles to collect info I realized that there are soo many things that I have no idea about. I was like: if I want to write about this topic, I need to know about this, and that, and also that one…and it kept on.

reactions excited adventure time finn fangirling

(Me when I read about something new)

So recenty I spent most of the time reading and educating myself. Until now. Because I decided to really start writing, not because I know everything, but because I want to inspire change in the way we think.

Yeah maybe a bit too ambitious but at least there is something that keeps me busy.

The thing is that the more I know about sustainable living, consumerism, waste, recycling etc the more disillusioned I become. I can see now that a rapid change is necessary if we want our children to be able to walk in a forest… or drink water. It sounds serious and it is. But my goal is to show how we can make things better and that sustainability is fun, everyone can do it, and it worth to pay attention on the environment.

I have already started to write my next post, which is an actual post, not a post about promising a post with real content. ( I alreadyhave 2 of that) So wish me luck, and come back in a few days to check out the masterpiece.