What are we really buying?
Someone posted this graphic on Facebook awhile ago, presumably in response to news that Kmart will be staying open for 41 hours straight, beginning early on Thanksgiving Day, (for non-Americans reading this, Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday every year, and big sales happen the Friday after stores have been closed for a day.) and several other major retail chains will have opening hours actually on Thanksgiving Day, not the traditional early morning hours of the following Friday, for the “Black Friday” sales.
Of course, even though I agree with this graphic, one must also remember that many/most? work on holidays FOR family. They need the money. Living wages are low, and holiday pay is simply higher.
I think we also have to remember that Americans have a country in which the family structure is being ripped asunder, family “values” are fluid, and we have way too many families that just haven’t bonded, or are broken…and they simply don’t wish to be together. So sad…
But why are these things this way? I have my theories, and many of them are articulated in an article found on Shmoop on line. It says, in part, that during the Eisenhower presidency, things began to shift from a production society, to a consumption society:
“The difference between a production society, which focused on meeting basic needs, and a consumption society, which emphasized customers’ wants, was like the difference between a 1908 Ford Model T and a 1959 Ford Galaxie. The Model T, available only in black, was a utilitarian piece of machinery intended for basic transportation. The Galaxie, decked out in shiny chrome, was a way to show off and to enjoy a sense of luxury, not just to move from place to place. Within a year or two, it would be obsolete as fashion changed. Blessed with abundant resources, America could afford to turn part of its productive capacity to creating glitz and fashionable waste. An older generation was careful to save and reuse; Americans in the Fifties began to use and throw away. They became ‘consumers.’” For full article click here.
Coming from the deprivations of a World War, the temptation towards consumerism was overwhelming. Add to this that the “powers that be” figured out that planned obsolescence would fuel faster turnover, and the marketing world figured out how to make consumers desire things they don’t even need.
We became a consumer society.
We became addicted to “things”, and let “things” define who we are
…and then we became indentured servants to the banks
…and when we became indentured servants
…we did the “right” thing and women started leaving the home, to pay the bills, have more things and in the name of “women’s equality”
…and left children at home, and with strangers
…and we made the choice to let advertisers tell our children that “things” were more important than being with parents
…and parents started giving “things” instead of time to show their children love.
We have created a modern version, here in the United States, of debtors prison. And we have people who no longer know how to interact with one another if we feel the only thing we have to offer is ourselves. And we exported this vision of ourselves, and set about converting the rest of the world.
Please don’t get me wrong on a couple of points here. There is nothing wrong with having those “things” as long as they are not defining your life, and are merely enhancing it. (Even that statement must be caveated with the knowing that manufacturing, as we know it today, is taking a huge toll on natural and human resources, which is an entirely different discussion.) I know full well that having enough money to cover, at the very least, basic human needs, takes a huge strain off of relationships, and facilitates life. I also know that the role of women in this world has to shift, and that “women’s rights” is not a dirty little phrase. In fact, I believe it is the key to changing the direction of this country, and the world.
Women did, indeed, in the 1950’s and especially the 1960’s, step into the current power paradigm, which, obviously to most of us, is not working. But we are in the next phase of recognizing the hole that we have dug for ourselves. I also believe that it goes against our nature to stay in that energy. This is a discussion that I have actually had elsewhere on in this newspaper as well.
I believe that women first had to experience the form of power that had been denied them throughout history, the power of force, in order to feel they had self determination at last. Power is actually not a bad thing, in and of itself, and is needed at times in order to be the guiding parent, the household organizer, and, yes, the business woman, and more. But we are now remembering that it has to be tempered with something else…that intangible that is the feminine. Power had to be experienced in order to recognize it wasn’t what was truly being sought. It is now time to stop playing the game by the old rules. Time to stop putting a skirt on the men’s rules and calling them feminine. Women now must recognize there is power in being able to mix their femininity with their male strength. Time to stop living the “We are all One…and all men are created equal…unless you are a woman.”
Still, even in the old paradigm, women began to teach, if incompletely, that there really IS a different way to view one another. Unfortunately, in most cases, the change was external…men doing dishes, washing clothes, housework…but then it became more subtle. It became okay for men to share the child-rearing responsibilities… and who is the mentor in this situation? The woman. Now we have men recognizing their own gentle strength, and men and women teaching this to their sons and daughters.
Right now we still have too many women so wrapped up in the power paradigm that they don’t even, necessarily recognize that they perpetuate the paradigm that says they are less than. But this next phase is happening.
Women, when they are balanced and spiritual and assured of who they are, will be the ones to raise the boys who know the same…and then men will also know their own true power and be allowed to put down the burdens of the current use of that power.
Balanced women. Balanced men. New paradigm. Children who feel connected to family for a lifetime. No need to outsource happiness and still feel empty. No need to shop on Thanksgiving? Time to begin living and feeling a new “Oneness” concept? Time to truly be Grateful?