Consumerism in Children

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Felicia Gardner
HMXP 102
Dr. Matthew Fike
October 13, 2010
Consumerism In Children
Introduction
When I was two years old my mother enrolled me in gymnastics. Gymnastics was a huge part of my life for the next four years. After moving up to be with the fourteen and fifteen year olds my mother realized that something was not right, because I was having body issues at the age of six. In the text “How Do Our Children Get So Caught Up In Consumerism” by Brian Swimme he addresses the issue of how deeply affected the children of America are due to consumerism. Unlike Swimme I do not believe that all of children’s psyche problems come from ads or television. I think they also come from people who our children highly trust. Although Swimme is right about consumerism affecting many children, I will argue that it is not only the media and ads affecting our children but also people that our children trust, because my psyche was deeply affected by one of my gymnastic coaches as a child. Background One

There are different ways that a child can be tricked into the thoughts of consumerism. “The last thing we want to think about as we’re lying on the couch relaxing is the philosophy of the ad. So as we soak it all up, it sinks down deep in our psyche. And if this takes place in the adult soul, imagine how much more damage is done in the psyches of our children, which have none of our protective cynicisms but which draw in the ad’s imagery and message as if they were coming from a trusted parent or teacher.” (Swimme 148) This quotation is one example of how consumerism enters into our brains. This is by far the most common way that my generation has been tricked by consumerism. Children are much more susceptible to the affects of consumerism than an adult, because they do not have a filter in their brain to tell them that they do not need something. As stated in the quotation imagine how much more damage is done to the psyche of a child due to consumerism. Consumerism is part of the reason why there are five and six year old girls on diets trying to lose weight. Children trust easily, causing them to sometimes believe false truths. “An ad’s job is to make them unhappy with what they have” (Swimme 148). This is another great point that Swimme brings up. Children are typically unsatisfied with what they have because that is what they have been taught. Commercials, magazines, and celebrities bring with them an essence of want and need. Because of this, children strive to be rich and famous, thin and beautiful, and always want more. These things can be a good dream, but they can also turn unhealthy like they did for me. Background Two

At the age of six I lost my dream of going to the Olympics because I turned to bulimia after receiving this advice from someone I trusted. I started gymnastics when I was two years old. Gymnastics and school quickly became my life. By the age of six I was so advanced for my age that my coaches put me in with the fourteen and fifteen year olds. They believed I could be in the Olympics by the time I was twelve. With moving up a class I also received a new coach. I do not remember his name but he changed my life forever. After going to a few classes with him he told me one day that I needed to lose weight because I weighed too much. His exact words were, “do like the big girls do, make yourself throw up”. I weighed 36 pounds at the age of six, which is very under weight, but I went ahead and began to stick my fingers down my throat after every meal to make myself throw up. My mom started to suspect that something was wrong because I started to go to the bathroom after eating. She asked me if I was feeling alright and I told her I was fine. She believed me for a while but then one night she heard me throwing up and walked in to find me with my fingers down my throat. After that she immediately pulled me out of gymnastics. Ever since that incident I have always struggled with my weight and...
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