THE IMPACT OF MATERIALISM IN THE YOUTH CULTURE
According to the dictionary of Cambridge “materialism” is the belief that having money and possessions is the most important thing in life. In today’s world this notion has a strong place among people-especially in the culture of youth- regardless their social classes.The economic system of our age relies on the customers and consumption therefore the culture of consumption pumped through by advertisements specifically take aim at the youth-which is the largest growing population-, as a result teenagers become more eager to believe in the notion of “You are what you possess”. Lack of emphasis on moral values and spiritual belief systems by parents, teachers and social establishments- deepens the magnitude of this problem. On the other hand there is a serious youth movement across the world who opposes global capitalism, which has a huge role in pumping materialism, and state authoritarianism while proposing humanism. To summarize, majority of the youth tend to be more materialistic than to be driven by moral values however there is still a minority who actually be more involved with the ethical principles, democracy and human rights.
Bell Hooks, in an essay on materialism among the youth, points out that: “For young people, the world is their marketplace. All one’s worth, mass media advertising tells them, is determined by material things.” (81). It is true, as the author states, that through mass marketing techniques, the corporates manipulating the consumer demand to the advantage of their business interests and the youth, as a significant part of the society, is their most prominent target as potential customers. As a part of their strategy those firms have focused on television, internet, newspapers and radio as the media to reach this broad audience. In the advertisements which take place in these mass media organs there is an unreal world demonstrated where there are no social problems, no hardships and where everyone can belong to as long as they have money (Hooks 82). As a result of this distorted presentation of reality, an impression comes out as if the money is the only answer for seizing the true happiness. Furthermore the young people today identify themselves with their possessions, such as clothes, phones, cars and so on, instead of putting forward their personality and character. All these effects lead to an inevitable psychological concept of materialism which causes the majority of the youth to feel that as if all other values are worthless.
The establishments such as; families, schools, governments who are supposed to educate the youth and raise awareness regarding social issues not only neglecting their responsibilities, but also are sometimes the causes of increased materialism among the teenagers. At birth, a human is a plain portrait. He/she cannot have a view or an idea about the importance of anything in the world. His parents teach him to cry, laugh and smile, then help to understand the some basic values and the primitive social codes. The school and the social environment add some other values to them. A human character is a composition of all these effecting factors. As the education starts at the family, the problem also starts in the family in the first place. The parents of all classes who are themselves critical of worship of money still feel compelled to teach their children that money is the most important thing in life (Hooks 85). They often encourage materialism in their children, by saying “We want you to enjoy a better life than us.”; but implicating that a better life is a life with more money. As the children grow older, parent involvement declines while the problem still continues to dwell in schools. The educators can not interest enough with their student’s area of interest; hence they could not reach their minds to promote pro-social thoughts, values and behaviours. What causes teaching a tough process is the variety of...
Cited: Hooks, Bell. "The Me-Me Class: The Young and the Ruthless." Where We Stand. New York: Routledge, 2000. 81-88. Print
Hettingh, Shawn. The Youth are the Global Anti-Capitalist Movement. 02 June 2011. 24 March 2014. www.ilrig.org
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