I truly think everyone is materialistic to some degree and a lot of the time it isn’t a bad thing. However, women seem to be losing themselves in materialism now more than ever.
Clothes, makeup, bags, shoes, gadgets, these are all great things to have. Though women now seem to have so much of it, getting everything they could to show off status, make other women jealous or simply for a feeling of fancy. In the central business district of Melbourne, where I work, you see it everywhere. Women in blazers and work pants with their thousand dollar handbags, designer shoes and even tons of jewellery. Sometimes it really feels like a pageant for adult women.
To be completely honest, I used to be materialistic too (not exactly like them, but in terms of my mindset). When I wanted something I simply bought it, but the main problem was…I ended up not even using most of the things I bought. Several makeup palettes that I got were barely used, clothes bought in the heat of moment I soon lost interest in, little items here and there ended up in the shopping bag by my bed for months. Nowadays, having plenty to spare in my budget, a thought that came to me really stopped me in my tracks.
What do I get next? What can I buy?
Now that…is a truly first-world problem. To not even know what you want to get because you have everything? Buying for the sake of buying? I stopped and looked hard at myself. Something was horribly wrong.
In such a materialistic society, women are being pressured from so many sources around them to just buy and buy. You’re a successful woman, you’re independent, you can get whatever you want. Just buy what you want, you deserve it! Even if that means getting into debt, maxing out credit cards and having to cut down on basics (food, bills, etc) just to have more money for an extravagant lifestyle. Now, I know many women make more than enough for their lifestyle, many of them also budget very well, which is a good skill to have.
But it is no secret that a lot of women are now in debt more than ever, especially young women like me. Those who are sold an image by the media of the ‘perfect modern woman’- high powered job in the city, modern sexy wardrobe, designer bag, no-baggage sex life and life of the party. You see it all the time in shows like Sex & The City, Gossip Girl, Ally McBeal and so many more. The truth is, a lifestyle like this isn’t cheap, it takes a big toll on you.
I’ve had a coworker tell me she only liked ‘moving up’. Even when she was constantly struggling with meeting her bills, her pride would not let her move to a lesser apartment or out of the city when the time came. She loves her lifestyle (having all the makeup, bags and designer clothes she liked) and position in the city too much. She also struggles to even put food in her table sometimes and has to settle for getting food from relatives just to have money to spare for shopping.
This is not a happy life. For most women, this is an unhappy life that lets stress and loneliness fester.
So what do you do? Ladies, think about what you really need. Will what you buy end up being used more than just a couple of times? Do you really need it or are you just buying for the feeling of it? Can you save in more ways than one? There are always sales to keep track of and if you want to maximise savings, live with someone else or family. There is no true shame in that, no matter what society says. You can always help out those you live with to thank them by doing chores, errands or contributing financially as well.
As for me? I’ve decided to cut down on some of the makeup I have since I went through an experimental phase a couple of years earlier (I learned how to use makeup as a late bloomer). So now I know the sort of colours I need, I will only get those. Then I’ll replace the ones I already have when they run out. I now think carefully before buying clothes and don’t hurry myself. You don’t need designer clothes, what matters is that they look good and are of good quality (nobody will check the tag behind your neck!). Believe it or not, I actually have an expensive handbag (two actually, they were graduation presents), but the colours they come in are enough to match my whole wardrobe so I don’t need more. They are classic styles, have a lifetime warranty and the only time I would probably have another is if someone gave it to me as a sentimental gift. I do not plan to get any more myself. The only thing I get aside from refills and clothes (occasionally) are small things like books, games and art.
Most important of all, I don’t go looking to just buy anything.
As a traditional woman, I like those things since I truly believe in always presenting yourself well and beautifully. Classy, feminine and elegant.
Although there are priorities that will always be at the top- family, partner and my values.