Hey y’all, recently I’ve decided to make a few large changes around here, and if you saw one of my most recent instagram posts about this topic…you know what I’m about to say, but I’m going to regurgitate it all right here and then get into our very first new and exciting topic all about my feelings on Materialism, Consumerism, and Social media.
A lot of you have been curious as to where my blog has gone and why I’ve been absent. Long story short: I’m over it. After I posted my last blog post about my childhood, linked HERE, I realized that’s why I started blogging. To write real life stories, to talk about real life situations, to raise awareness about important things; to make a difference. I’ve become tired, worn out, and a bit confused about all the “blogging community” is and what it stands for. So materialistic and trivial and that’s not what I want for my writing. I want to write real life stories, expose injustice, and write about what I feel is important. Sure I can give y’all outfit posts and makeup tutorials here and on Instagram every now and then if you’d like but from now on locatinglifestyle will be so so so much more than that and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for this transition.
So now that you know what this website is going to look like from now on let’s get on into today’s topic of Materialism, Consumerism, and Social Media. This post might get a little messy and confusing because quite honestly I’m not sure exactly where I’m going to take it, but stick with me and if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below or email me!
I think I knew the whole time I’ve been blogging that I wanted more from myself than this. I didn’t want to speak on trivial things like a new clothing brand, or a makeup look I’ve been wearing most frequently. I knew that I wanted to reach a larger amount of people with something that almost anybody would enjoy reading and topics that, once again, weren’t so trivial and kind of effect everybody life in a way. So since we are on this track, let’s go ahead and talk about this idea of materialism and how I feel about it. Materialism is defined as a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. Obviously this is an idea that most of us Americans have and something that isn’t even really thought about. Essentially I believe it is more ingrained in us that we should care more about what we have, how we got it, how much we spent on it, and how it makes us better than the next than caring about our relationships with other humans, what this materialistic mindset is doing to our world, and how we can better ourselves as a human race. After siting and thinking about this for a while it really started bothering me. I can link you to post, after post, after post of where I think this materialistic mindset was driving me to create a read for y’all that I didn’t even really have fun creating. I was just a part of this materialistic blogging community where I thought that that is what I needed to do to create good content and keep readers coming back, however I wasn’t really having fun with what I was doing. This is the bit where the whole idea of social media also started to get to me. Like I said, I was creating content, mostly, for others and depending on what was trending and what it seemed the rest of the blogging community was doing well with. I started to become a bit worried about how many likes I was getting, my follower count, how many people were interacting and due to that I became somewhat drowned in anxiety and depression worrying constantly about what others were doing and thinking that I wasn’t doing enough or doing good enough. Let’s pause here with this though and come back to it later. I think we need to talk about the start of my “transition” more.
I think this whole idea of materialism, consumerism, and social media really started to rub me the wrong way when we started the process of building our tiny house. As soon as we even started looking into the idea of living in the tiny house I knew this was my time to change into the lifestyle I really wanted for myself and really reflect on all that I’ve been doing. I began to realize that us, as humans, really don’t need anything to survive and thrive. It’s simple; food, water, and a roof over our head. Literally, that is all we need. Everything. Nothing more. Why do we spend so much money on house decorations, things to look nice, and SO MANY CLOTHES? What are we doing with these purchases other than satisfying ourselves for a short period of time and simultaneously leading to a more polluted planet? I just don’t get it anymore. Well…I do, but I also don’t. Why do we have this urge to spend, spend, spend, and take, take, take, and then simply just toss it out when we are done with it? Why do we feel it necessary to place our value and worth in what we are wearing, how big our house is, and and how lavishly we are able to live our life? I don’t have the answers to this. I have some ideas, but I don’t think I should get into all of that because we will end up off track and talking about so many things I want to save for future posts. What I am going to do is recommend that you watch this incredible documentary on Netflix entitled minimalism. This documentary says in the most eloquent ways everything I want to say but find myself rambling on about when it comes to materialism. I also highly recommend just educating yourself a bit more on all of these topics. Please don’t let this post be your end of the line and only information when it comes to things of this nature. Like I said, I highly recommend you check out that documentary, a few podcasts, and a few articles I will link below about these topics. For now, let me get on the point of consumerism.
Consumerism, by definition, is the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; also : a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods. Let’s break this down a bit. In everyday life, we are the consumers. We see a commercial, we really want the product because of whatever reason, we go out and we purchase the product, sometimes multiple of the product, use it for a bit, get tired of it or it breaks and then we throw it out. This isn’t the end though. Clearly, it’s a cycle. This happens our whole life. Once again, we take, take, take, consume, consume, consume, and then we’re done and we move on to the next thing that we take and consume more of. And for what reason??? Because, like I mentioned before, we need about three things for our survival; food, water, and shelter. So why has our life become so centered upon the idea of consuming and simply being content doing only that? There are so many things that we continue to repurchase that we really don’t need to continuously purchase when we have other items that we could only purchase once that we can use far longer and more extensively than what we are currently using. That was a lot of words, so let me show you this way…Let’s take for example this brilliant invention I saw on a Facebook advertisement- yes, I still do participate in social media but not at the rate of or for the reasons I used to. Zip lock bags…something we buy constantly and then throw out without thinking about what we are doing or how much harm we are causing the world. The simple answer to this problem within consumerism is to buy something that is reusable and doesn’t have to be thrown out repeatedly and then in turn purchased repeatedly. The other day I saw that Facebook ad for Reusable Silicone Food Preservation Bags. Genius. You purchase once and then reuse and you don’t ever have to worry about the continual trip to buy an unnecessary amount of a product we really don’t even need. Does any of what I’m trying to say make sense? This is just one part of consumerism that bothers me. (By the way, I’ll link these reusable bags at the end of this post) I don’t know if I’m making sense because I have so much to say but can’t fully say it. It’s a bit hard for me to articulate all that I feel about this subject because it’s just so sad and upsetting to me that this is what our American culture has become. We are very much a consumer and materialistic oriented culture and it’s so disheartening. The thing that bothers me the most about this consumerist mindset is that it leads to a very materialistic culture. Why is it that we are, in a way, programmed to just keep consuming things without thinking about what we are doing? Like I said, I don’t have all of the answers on why we are this way, but I’d like to once again mention Social Media. I think that’s part of the issue. The whole idea of Social Media.
What do you do when you wake up every morning? Go ahead answer that truthfully. My bet is that most of you said you reach for your phone and go directly onto social media. If that doesn’t tell you how much Social Media influences your life then I don’t know what will. Not only is social media the first thing we reach for in the morning, but it also a lot of the time dictates the rest of our day. “Oh this is instagram worthy” “Oh you should tweet that” or “Ugh did you see what so-and-so put on Facebook this morning” It dictates SO MUCH of our life. Once I started looking more into this materialistic, consumer minded, social media influences life we live I kind of realized how much this actually effects me mentally. There is tons of research that points to the fact that social media (and technology in general) is not good for mental health and can cause extreme anxiety and depression. This is something I felt in my own life at an extreme high so one day I decided to delete all of my social media, and then I realized that wasn’t the answer because social media is a large part of how I stay connected with friends, family, and acquaintances, so I re-downloaded everything I deleted-except for tumblr because fuck that dark hole of depression-and just decided to turn off all of my notifications for my social media apps. THIS HAS MADE ME SO MUCH HAPPIER, LESS SELF CENTERED, LESS WORRIED ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK, AND OVERALL HELPED ME NOT WORRY ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS IN LIFE.
I know this idea of becoming less of a consumer, less of a materialistic person, and by using less social media isn’t the answer to everything and it isn’t for everybody, but I do know it’s a start to a better life for me and a better life for those around me as well. I’d like to open up your minds to see that this is all connected. Being a consumer and leading a life that is mainly just consuming, leads us to become even more materialistic, and then we find ourselves on social media worrying about how we don’t have enough and we aren’t as good as the next person, so we go out and we CONSUME EVEN MORE. It’s a trap, a cycle, and never ending trail of being unsatisfied and trying to satisfy ourselves. It’s just a thought I would like to put inside of the heads of those who might not be thinking about it. Like I mentioned, I’m sorry that I rambled and couldn’t articulate everything I wanted to say that well, but please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below in the comment section and I’d love to speak more with you and I’d love to hear your ideas and feeling son this topic as well. For now take some time to read/listen/watch some of the material I’ve linked down below.
Netflix Documentary: Minimalism