By Lauren Coronado
Americans across the United States celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, dedicating an entire day to being thankful for life’s blessings, only to wake up the next morning to battle vicious crowds of consumers.
Yup, Black Friday fever, as I call it. But how did Black Friday evolve into what it is today, and what types of images are our society absorbing that contribute to extreme consumerism?
In today’s day and age, people see hundreds of images through social media, television and print media on a daily basis. Images have never carried such strong messages before.
After seeing an image, a person may not think much about the image itself ” he or she may even forget about the image all together ” but for a moment that person has absorbed the image’s content and stimulated his or her brain via imagination, memory or expectation.
Images used for advertising purposes are everywhere: on billboards while we sit in traffic, in every page we turn in a magazine, in every scene we see on TV.
While the images are very much present, they never refer to the present. The images often focus on the past and future ” what was and what could be.
These images are forced into our minds so often that we tend to overlook the image’s true intention, and ignore its underlying message.
Of course, publicity is based on competition. Which car is better? Which cream is most effective? Images like to make the consumer feel in control, often referring to freedom and choice.
Yet, each message seems to belittle consumers and force them into thinking that they are in need of certain products to make them feel or look better.
Most images work effectively because they focus on real aspects of life: clothes, food, transportation, toiletries. Ultimately, publicity offers the idea of pleasure, but it does not promise it.
The messages in advertisements are simply saying, “You’re not good enough.” But worst of all, the receiver passively accepts this skewed message by giving into consumerism.
The more glamorous advertisements are, the more the consumer realizes how distant their lives are from those images.
The idea of the unattainable can lead to self-hate and jealousy, while it coerces the viewer into wrongly associating publicity images with social relation and class.
Nowadays, it is socially acceptable, if not expected, to believe in the happiness of being envied by others. After all, it seems as though being envied is a solitary form of reassurance.
These images continue to persuade people into believing that the advertised item will make them feel and look richer, according to society’s standards.
Ironically, however, consumers become poorer by spending money on unnecessary items. That is when the consumer cycle begins.
According to CNN Money, the average American household has a debt of about $15,950 in credit, a national total of $856.9 billion.
According to USA Today, some of the most common images that reel the public into purchasing the advertised product are ones of coffee shops, lottery tickets, gym memberships and designer clothing.
There seems to be a common trend in these items: they all offer happiness in the forms of energy, money, a physically appealing body and, of course, the image of being “rich.”
Don’t be another member of society who falls victim to this consumer frenzy. Realize the meaning behind the images presented to the public by advertisers and marketers.
Educate yourself on the products you purchase before you impulsively get sucked into the consumer cycle.
Monica Lopez / The Poly Post
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