Alright, I’m a little (or a lot!) late with this one, but has anybody else heard about Jon Hendron’s retweets last year of the teenage pricks that were bitching about not getting their iWhatevers? I was told about this yesterday so of course I had to go and look it up, and what I found was so disgusting it made me angry. Here’s a screencap of some of the tweets (click on the image to enlarge it so that you can read the text)
Just ….. wow. When I was growing up, of course we would ask for something but if we didn’t get that thing we knew it was because money was tight, not because our parents were deliberately trying to upset us or anything like that. Furthermore, Christmas gifts are just that … gifts. Nobody is owed something just because of an arbitrary date, or because society dictates that your parents must shower you with gifts at Christmas. This is yet another occasion where the media, advertising and society is to blame. How many advertising schemes work to convince you to get someone the perfect present this year? All this does is feed the stupid notion that everyone must go all out to get expensive gifts to impress people. Now that this is considered a societal norm, greedy teenagers hold those expectations of their parents, and as can be seen by the abhorrent tweets above, are not afraid to voice it.
Of course the parents are to blame somewhat for allowing this standard to fly in their households, but a large portion of it is the other kids, again due to the media and advertising. When shows like Gossip Girl are aired, showing uber-wealthy teens strutting around with their designer duds and hot new gadgets while disrespecting their parents, this makes real teenagers believe that this behaviour is not only normal, but cool. So they go to school and it is all perpetuated by their friends, and then it comes home with them – where mum and dad are too busy to sit them down and discuss what is wrong with those TV shows and why they shouldn’t put so much stock in material things. Then you get Mr. iPhone going on and on about how amazing Apple is and how you need to have all the Apple things and all the upgrades otherwise you will die, until it starts to seem impossible for a teenager to fight a war with so many united foes. If they do, they are on the outer with their peers, and although in theory it seems easy to say “so? I’d rather be friendless than act like that”, when you are actually in high school its just … easier to shut up and fit in.
So where does the blame lie for these tweeted attitudes? Is it with the teenagers themselves? Is it with the parents for not instilling in their children a better sense of humility and gratitude? Is it with all media (including social media, advertising and TV? ) I believe that it is the fault of media, I truly do. The parents are not necessarily equipped to battle this attitude with their teenagers, when they are constantly being fed the same kind of bullshit in their adult magazines.
Aren’t people sick of advertising and marketing shaping their lives so much? Aren’t people sick of lining up for hours to get an upgrade of something that isn’t even broken in the first place, when the upgrade they are getting will barely make a difference to their user experience? Aren’t people sick of considering what other people think? I know we all say “I’m different, I don’t care what other people think, I just live my life the way I like”. However I’ll be the first to admit that while I like to think that, it probably isn’t true, and that is how marketing and advertising have gotten their claws so deeply into us. Of course I care what other people think of me. Not in terms of my possessions, but in terms of who I am as a person. And marketing works to turn everyday objects into things that define you as a person. They aren’t just selling you a car, they are selling you the lifestyle of that man who is driving around the hills of Southern California, being all carefree with a stylish woman at his side. They aren’t just selling you an iPod , they are selling you the possibility of being like that cool breakdancin’, graffiti-doin’, hip kid from the ads. Of course I buy some stuff because I am attracted to what it seems to embody. I’m not immune, and neither are many of you. That is what is so wrong with our world at the moment. What will it take to get back to basics and take the power away from the corporate conglomerates? I’m holding out for another economic crisis, this time one where people learn to use their money for better things than buying unnecessary gadgets on credit.
Well, it’s time to go to my retail job now! (Said the hypocrite).
Love, Chelle xoxoxooxoxox