We want more and more everyday – never satisfied with what we have – because there’s always this one thing that is bigger, better and maybe a little bit more impressive to others than what we got just a couple of purchases before.
Consumerism – oh how much I despise you!
So I watched the documentary The True Cost the other day which was recently recommended by the vegan YouTuber Kristen Leo. The movie is “about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world.”1 This article is not about that movie, nor about clothes in general. It’s about insane consumerism that seems to be perfectly normal in our Western society. Nothing to complain about here right? – Wrong!
The reason why I’m mentioning this documentary in particular though is that one part of it stood out to me. This part I’m talking about reminded me of something that is actually bugging me for quite some time now. I’m talking about the “darkest” part of the internet that – at the same time – wears the shiniest and most deceptive mask you can imagine: Beauty and Fashion YouTubers and Bloggers.
Of course it’s entertaining to watch or read their content. They’re beautiful, shiny and they have everything! Naturally, that’s exactly what you also want right? Having everything, being loved by millions of fans, without caring about the really important things in life and not thinking about what your shopping addiction really does to your followers. You have the money (or maybe not – but who cares right?) and what else can you do with it than spend it on nice and shiny things for your house, your appearance or your cute little puppy, that you’ll force to wear that newly bought handmade and ridiculously expensive sweater, because it’s just soooo~ cute and your followers will love it.
Hauls are anything but harmless
Nothing makes me cringe more than a haul video or blog post. Why? Am I jealous? Do I have nothing better to do maybe? No, I have to disappoint here. They are just the worst and most irresponsible things a YouTuber or Blogger can send out to millions of people, mainly teens, who get influenced by these “role models” every single day.
Don’t get me wrong here: It’s not that you’re especially vulnerable to those contents or that you’re “a small child” who can’t decide for itself. We ALL get influenced by things like this and we all want to be entertained in some way or another. Some choose to read books, others watch YouTube videos. So it’s mainly the YouTuber’s responsibility and what he or she uploads. People can still decide to look away, but most people don’t. That’s just how it works.
Well you could argue now: “But everyone can do what they want, just leave them alone.” And that’s true. Everybody can and should do what they love to do, but there is this invisible line that cannot be crossed here. As soon as your behavior harms other beings, the environment or is just blindly wasteful, then you’ve officially crossed that line! – Congratulations!
What’s so bad about this kind of content anyway?
Okay, let’s start with the most obvious point here…
You will NEVER EVER use all of that stuff up!
This is especially tragic with makeup products and I could wring the necks of Beauty-YouTubers, when I see another “My Makeup Collection” video. They’re proud of their treasures: shelves over shelves full of foundations, lipsticks, lipliners, mascaras, eyeshadows and so on and so forth.
Girls, you can NEVER use that stuff up! Why waste money on them that somebody else might need for more important things than makeup? If you want to get rid of your money: Ever heard of donating?
When I was a lot more into makeup I used foundation almost every single day. This small bottle of 30 ml lasted me – believe it nor not – OVER 6 months. So in the end you will give your makeup away anyway, because you will realize that you have no use for it and – surprise, surprise – that it gets bad over time! Some YouTubers sooner or later realize how ridiculous their shiny “hobby” is and stop buying more and more and even give away tons of their makeup. But you know what? Somebody who would have really needed your money cannot live off of a beautiful red lipstick. Shocking right?
It makes you forget the important things
When you see a video about the suffering of people in developing countries you are sad and your natural reaction is to at least WANT to help them. Let’s not get into details if you actually do something or not. At least you’re aware of the misery. Great! – Or not, because you will forget about it again in let’s say… 5 seconds… 1, 2, 3, 4…. 5. Tadaaa~ Nothing ever happened. Let’s buy some stuff to make us feel better.
Do you know that you actually partake in making these people suffer by wanting to wear that cute crop top that was only $7.99? And not just that, you also harm innocent animals that are being used for all kinds of tests so that you can increase the length of your eye-lashes for a few hours. Good job!
We hide behind these piles of bought goods, because we think that we can’t do anything to stop the suffering. When it comes to the truth, we’re just small nobodies with no money, no power and no strength to change the world. But as soon as you put your blindfold on again you’re the king of the internet. You know everything, you have everything, you can buy everything and others love you for that. The internet is such a great place right!
You don’t appreciate anything anymore
When I say appreciation, I don’t mean: “Oh my god guys, I just bought this absolutely cool INSERT RANDOM PRODUCT HERE! It’s soooo cute and it looks so good lined up with all of the 100,000 other items I have and I will most probably never use again.”
Appreciating something means to “understand the worth, quality, or importance of something”.2 If you’re able to buy clothes, makeup products or decorations for your house or even if you just have a roof over your head and something to eat, you are incredible lucky, because millions of other people on this planet aren’t.
If you have things in abundance though, you’ll take it for granted. But let me tell you: Nothing is! You can lose everything tomorrow and share the same fate as people who don’t have it as good as you. Therefore we should cherish the things we have and a part of that is using it for what it is meant for.
Eyeshadow is not meant for keeping it in a drawer and just gazing at its beautiful colors, shirts are not meant for completing the perfect rainbow you’ve arranged in your bedroom closet, just as money is not meant for spending it on things you DON’T actually need.
Why not using things up for a change?
– Omg, you mean I should actually wear all of the clothes I have and make use of my makeup collection? But then they will not be nice and shiny anymore. Boo-hoo~
Yes that’s exactly what I’m saying. I know it’s sooo~ much to ask, but believe me, it can be pretty satisfying to empty something or wear it until it breaks. Even shopping addicts get their money’s worth: when it’s used up for good, you can whip out your purse again and buy something new. Amazing!
And guess what, you will have MORE SPACE by living that way. I’m not telling you to become a minimalist, although I believe that that’s one of the best things one can do in our consumption-driven society. But with more space and less clutter around you, you will feel lighter and happier, because you know that you don’t have to compete with others anymore. You are free from always going with the trend, hunting for the next best thing that will make you just a little bit more popular and most of all you’ll have time to think about the really important issues on this planet.
In case you’re a Blogger or YouTuber, you can then spread these inspiring messages of the change that needs to happen in this world, instead of polluting the internet with wasteful behavior and talking kids into buying more and more useless crap that will turn our planet sooner or later into a wasteland where nothing is able to live any longer. I guess we’re all smart enough to realize the importance of that before it’s too late. Or let’s say… I really hope so…