Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Annals of Fashion, or: Your Raging Narcissism Will Destroy Us All

Oh, Google Alerts. Whatever would I do without you? Live a life less full of outrage and yelling, most likely. However! Had I not Alerts from the Google, I would never see headlines like the following. And I think we can all agree that would be a loss:
Crisis pushes men to therapy, women to handbags

Blammo! Yes, the men, poor dears (we all know that they are THE MORE AFFECTED BY THIS RECESSION, right? Right) are quite literally going insane due to the dark economic times that are upon us. Whereas women, as I believe Judith Butler once said, be shopping!

Do you know what is fun about this article? What is fun about this article is that it provides just about no supporting evidence that men are seeking therapy in greater numbers! What it does provide is some quotes from a "gender marketing expert" (oh, goody) named Diana Jaffe about the tortured male psyche and the fact that a man's very sanity depends on having a big fancy job, like so:

"Women are also worried about their jobs, but not to the extent that they feel their mere existence is being threatened...Many male managers are suffering from a huge loss of status, many feel under an enormous amount of pressure or are suffering from burnout. They just don't have the resources to think about buying luxury goods and prefer to go to a life coach," [Jaffe] said.

Also, there is this, from a dude who has some job relating to handbags:
"Men are more affected psychologically by the crisis than women. A bag can be bought on impulse, whereas a jewelry or watch purchase is not."
Actually, the bags being discussed in the piece are Hermes bags, which (a) cost more than just about anybody could afford without careful financial planning and saving up over a period of time, and (b) actually require you to register on an extensive waiting list in some cases, so "impulse" is pretty much exactly the opposite of what these purchases would be for many or most folks.

But, whatever. Let's talk about how women are buying more luxury goods than men! (Or just more handbags? Because we all know how the men were with their fancy handbags before the crisis, am I right, ladies?) And not how it is driving those men LITERALLY OUT OF THEIR MINDS WITH DESPAIR, or whatever, since the article seems not to prove that this is actually happening. Let's talk about the relationship women have to shopping: why we be shopping as often as we do.

Because we're ladies! And it's our job, basically! There are several entire industries devoted to convincing us that (a) our worth lies in how attractive we are, and (b) in order to be attractive, we need to buy stuff. LOTS of stuff. If you are a lady, you seriously need to be pretty and sexy and cute, because otherwise nobody will care about you. And, obviously, you can't do that in what you're wearing now. What are you wearing now? Yeah, that is terrible. Buy something else!

But here is the problem: if you actually buy into these things, and support these industries, then we get to talk about how frivolous and superficial and silly you are. Stupid woman! You are out buying handbags while the men are tightening their belts and crying noble tears over the economic future of our nation! Need we any further proof that you are of a lesser order?

Now, begone from my sight, empty-headed female! And take your butt-ugly shoes with you. Gladiator sandals are just so painfully last summer.

9 comments:

  1. i love you!

    The only frivolous things I buy for fun are books. I am so unlady like!

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  2. It really seems like someone came up with the title, and then floundered around for something approaching facts to back it up.

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  3. "They just don't have the resources to think about buying luxury goods and prefer to go to a life coach" which they'll pay for how? You can't afford luxury goods but you can afford luxury services, which probably only exist in California, sure.

    Good deconstruction, btw.

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  4. Yeah I was kind of thinking what susanreads said. Life coaches are expensive and far from essential. You can get about the same value out of a self-help book for much cheaper.

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  5. I have things to say about this. Having recently watched "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and, more importantly, being a second-generation "shopaholic", I would like to make a few notes.
    I shop. I shop until I am eating at our military galley because I can't afford food else where. It's sick. It's a compulsion.
    Because I am almost certain that if I find the PERFECT jeans, the PERFECT accessories, people will finally think I am beautiful. My mother was a great woman, but she didn't exactly foster "self love" into her young daughter. I was taught that our bodies are flawed and that shopping will make you less flawed, or at least hide what is flawed about you.

    THIS IS MESSED UP.I have things to say about this. Having recently watched "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and, more importantly, being a second-generation "shopaholic", I would like to make a few notes.
    I shop. I shop until I am eating at our military galley because I can't afford food else where. It's sick. It's a compulsion.
    Because I am almost certain that if I find the PERFECT jeans, the PERFECT accessories, people will finally think I am beautiful. My mother was a great woman, but she didn't exactly foster "self love" into her young daughter. I was taught that our bodies are flawed and that shopping will make you less flawed, or at least hide what is flawed about you.

    THIS IS MESSED UP.

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  6. The title of the article should actually be: "Millionaires still spending money on foofy shyte."

    On a more flippant and assy note, I wonder if it's insensitive to purchase "hobo" bags during a recession, or if it's considered a gesture of solidarity with the homeless.

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  7. Pft. I buy frivolous things AT ALL TIMES.
    It's the American Way

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  8. The first thing that I thought was "Oh, of course my working single mother is just out buying Birkin bags unlike the guy next to her office having a mental breakdown. She only has to worry about impending retirement and my college fund. He has to worry about his FEELINGS. Oh WAH!"

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  9. Vertigo--
    Ha. I'm the same way. I basically detest shopping for both clothes and shoes (the last time I went shoe-shopping I was trying a pair on and a makeup saleswoman across the department store aisle commented on how I 'needed a smaller pair' when in fact I needed a bigger pair and it was none of her business anyway) and I've had the same everyday purse since 2005; prior to discovering the awesomeness of my local library, books were easily the bulk of my non-food purchases. Now it's probably music bought off iTunes, but still, I could do without all the "women just love to shop, amIrightladies" bullshit.

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