CW- The article discusses topics of mental illness and body dysmorphia which could be a trigger to some readers
Sat here writing this, I am constantly flicking through my phone, looking on Instagram at influencers' posts or scrolling through TikTok at healthy food being made. I spend half my day doing this. Being 19 and a student, I can never afford the nice clothes I want or to make the healthy meals I see on social media. Looking into how social media perpetuates consumerism we can see through TikTok and Instagram that a big group of the population buy products or change their lifestyle because they are influenced by what they see on their phones. I am sitting here writing this in my baggy hoodie and gym leggings but when I see a slim, toned girl showing a haul on TikTok, it diffidently makes me feel negative. Situations like this can also lead to an increase in the consumerism of goods but not for positive reasons.
This is why as individuals, we need to realise the amazing person we can be alone, without comparing ourselves to anyone else, the power of social media should not influence us or stick in our minds. Yes, purchase things you like and enjoy but don't for the sake of social media. I am no one to talk, I never feel like I have the 'perfect body' or eat healthy enough. I see fashion trends and beat myself up because I can't fit into certain clothes or afford them, but sometimes I sit there, and I think actually I am my own person, this is a clear example of consumerism and where companies can gain so much money. If people realise they can be their own person and they are amazing, hype yourself up, take self care time but don't spend unnecessary money to please society.
Consumerism due to social media enables people to stay connected and keep up with trends. One day a 20-year-old girl could be wearing a nice bag from Zara, the next day, everyone could be raving about it. Primark wants to make a dupe, and it's all a vicious circle. This era has consumed more than ever in history, and these may be the reasons why. However, there is a big crisis in mental health problems due to social media and making yourself "feel better" because no matter how many goods you buy to become what people view as equal in society or how much consumers spend it may never bring happiness. Obsessions can be created, or deep feelings can be created. If I saw all my friends had the same matching pair of shoes, and I wouldn't be able to afford a new pair, I'd feel left out.
"Social media is no longer just about conversations; it’s about commerce. Social factors have always played a part in consumer buying habits, but the ubiquity of smartphones and social networks have taken word-of-mouth to new heights"- A source
We all love a day out shopping, grabbing a few drinks or a coffee and browsing around the shops, it's healthy to get out and about, see your friends and look at new products, but retail therapy is one big factor that makes a boom in the market and can become very unhealthy. Mental health in 2022 has never been as evident, therefore consumers use shopping as "therapy" therefore prices go sky high, especially in retail. As we've talked about amongst mindless, consumerism can mean the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumed goods, technically think means customers getting engrossed by products etc. This leads to the term retail therapy if people are becoming engrossed with products, they will view it as happiness, and then realistically, that means spending money is their happiness.
At the end of the day, social media affects everything now, and when it comes to consumerism, 78% of businesses have stated that their income has been affected by social media, whether good or bad. But that isn't reality, we should be perceiving things for what we think. Businesses now have to use social media as a marketing tool just like we have to market ourselves. Social media is the be all and end all of consumerism.