My brother and I were talking recently about the yin and yang that is men and women. Ah yes, talking to my young grasshopper about the facts of life. We talked about how opposites attract and how to make relationships work. As always, he gave me a lot of great insight into how the male mind works. Hopefully I helped as well:) He asked me one question that still lingered after we spoke… ‘Do women ever go to their closet, look inside and think my closet is done. I have everything that I need. I don’t need to shop!’
I'm talking about our NEED to shop. Do you know that little voice in the back of your head that tells you, ‘I need another belt,’ or ‘That dress could look better' or, 'Where did all of my signature pieces go?’ I know that voice all to well. In fact, we’re really good friends. Sometimes that voice suggests new shoes, sometimes a new bag, or sometimes a blue summer dress.
There are even movies that assume this obsession as truth and call us names like ‘Shopaholic’ and ‘Spender.’ I must admit that I sat through the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, which was passable. Though, there was one scene that I absolutely loved. It was when she froze her credit card in a block of ice to stop herself from succumbing to that voice. And then, a ‘fashion emergency’ comes and she goes to her freezer, takes out the ice block and smashes it with her high heel. While holding her credit card up in the air triumphantly, she hears the angels calling, 'Ahhhh!’
I too had this kind of emergency in college. My father had given me a credit card for ‘emergencies.’ I was working two jobs, had an internship and when I saw those shoes for that sorority dance, the voice chimed in, letting me know that it was the kind of ‘emergency’ that my dad was taking about (Not to worry the shoes were from Target, not Manolo's).
Why are we taught in our society not to be happy with what we already have? Well, advertising and marketing for one thing push that little voice into our heads to get the new moisturizer or cardigan. But, why doesn’t our society teach us to give back more? After all, aren’t we more happy or satisfied with ourselves after an afternoon volunteering and helping children?
A couple of years ago, I read the book Born To Buy. Have you read it? It really opened my eyes to the need that people have to buy many more things then they need. The writer's own experience led her to write this book. It was about her and her husband, two middle-class parents, after they had their first child. They were taking their newborn out on his first road trip. After the car was packed, the husband (an Indian) stood back, took a look at the packed car, filled with blankets, diaper bags, bouncy chairs, toys and food and said, ‘We have more stuff for a car-ride for our two month old than our entire family does in India.’
Born To Buy is a perfect title. Aren't we all born to buy in this society? Reading it made me more aware of what I purchase. When I have that voice telling me to buy, I, at the very least, try to look for products that donate proceeds to a good cause (e.g., Breast Cancer research or American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). Is this really enough though? Shouldn’t I be doing more? If our society is trying to go back to the basics because of our recession, then how do I stop my need to buy? Well, I can start by ignoring that voice when I go to my closet. I will open it up and say out loud “I am done. I will use what I have!” Won’t you join me this weekend?