Sunday, January 5, 2014

Close your wallet & change the channel



I can’t speak for everyone, but as a 22 year-old born-and-raised American citizen, I have been exposed to my culture’s titanic fixation on wealth and all of its shiny accoutrements. I, myself have probably been a little jaded by this societal obsession, seeing as though I cannot resist designer clothing, makeup, and accessories, and have longed for a Chanel 2.55 bag since I was 13. But I digress; lately I’ve noticed that the American wealth complex has reached some new highs (or lows, in all actuality) with a series of fledgling television shows such as the E network’s “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” and “Party On” advertising the seemingly dipped in gold life styles of the young, rich, and beautiful as something worthy of television air-time.
It is no surprise that the theme of rich, attractive teenagers doing exciting things in exotic locations tends to create automatic television success. The shows "Gossip Girl", "The Hills", and even the original "Beverly Hills 90210" are glowing examples of this phenomenon. How much is too much, though? Ever since smart phone application, “Instagram” rendered the literal photographic bragging of pricey purchases, vacations, gourmet lunches, and VIP nights at the club an unfortunate norm masked with a filter and some cutesy hash tags, I have become increasingly annoyed with how much money takes center-stage in the lives of so many young Americans. The days of being humble about one's familial wealth seem to have become an antiquated relic of the past. 
With a closer look, the lusting for all that is luxe does not just entrap the youth of this nation. In fact, it is commonly lambasted for those within the lower economic ranks to purchase the same luxury items that 15 year olds on MTV’s “Teen Cribs” are handed for barely making the honor roll. We have all seen BMW convertibles parked in front of low-income housing or massive late model pick-up trucks outfitted with costly after-market additions next to miniscule trailer homes. The whole 1980’s rapper-glorified idea of wearing Gucci in the ghetto still conjures up feelings of confusion, uneasiness, and judgment amongst many Americans today.
Poor adults maxing out credit cards to purchase luxury goods are no different from teens and college-age kids on Instagram posting pictures of their spring break at the spa in Cabo or their new coveted gold Iphone 5S. For one reason or another, showing the people around them that they can afford to have these things puts them into a societal category more in line with the fabulous people we see on television, and sometimes even above the people around them. Wanting and obtaining nice things is no where near a crime, but sometimes we need to change the channel when gluttonous programs like “The Real Housewives of Orange County” come on and realize that life isn’t a competition when it comes to Instagram photos of new purses and fancy trips – there are a lot of more important things to actually be competitive about.



Photos courtesy of "Rich Kids of Instagram"
Lunch on a private jet, myriad matching Cartier bracelets, and a high end shopping spree complete with champagne service. Must be nice.