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Youth Culture and Consumerism

Essay by   •  March 9, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,090 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,504 Views

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The relationship between youth culture and consumerism is rapidly growing stronger everyday. In today's world, many youth cannot distinguish between "wants" and "needs", and our capitalist economy often leads them to the fetishism of goods and services. Youth in our society often have the tendency to identify strongly with the products and services that they consume, and while they have more buying power now than ever before, they are also more gullible and confused. In addition, they are preyed upon by the media due to their desire to become socially accepted. In today's world, youth are a primary concern in our materialistic culture.

Youth have more buying power now than ever before. Baby boomers are beginning to retire, and now, as parents, they have sufficient money to be able to give a significant amount of it to their offspring. This is because they have established a sufficient flow of money to support themselves, since most baby boomers by now have a stable career. Many youth spend the majority of their disposable income on typical and conventional items such as clothing, and as a result, they also have the most buying power of all the age groups (http://www.aces.edu/urban/metronews/vol2no4/purchasing.html). Another important thing to note is that the concept of allowances is a fairly recent one. It offers a constant flow of money to children and adolescents alike, and as a by-product, it assures youth that they will have a guaranteed payday on set days. This causes teens to spend more money since an allowance is expected once every few days. If a teen did not have an allowance, then he or she would rather save their money for more important items, due to the fact that they would be unsure when they would get more money.

Secondly, tuition fees for universities have skyrocketed during the last few years. This results in teens getting jobs to afford their university fees, and as a side effect, they also have more disposable income. High university fees also tend to encourage students to borrow money from several different sources, such as banks and the government. When students get in the habit of lending, borrowing money, and even purchasing items on credit, they end up buying more products.

Third of all, teens are more competitive now because of ever increasing pressure, more competition from other students, and repentance for the carefree mannerisms of previous generations. Therefore, many teens attempt to strive for the best of everything. They want the highest marks, the best clothing, and the latest gadgets or toys, which fuels their spending habits even further, and increases their awareness of the latest trends.

In today's world, youth are more gullible and confused. They demand an identity for themselves, but they also wish to be lead. The media therefore takes advantage of this, and exploits this in every way. For example, the media introduces a new fashion style or look, and then it soon becomes the "next big thing". When the product is common enough, it loses its attractive qualities, and youth soon yearn for something new. This is a continuous, never-ending cycle, and the media often lives off of cycles such as these. Companies often spend millions of dollars in research just to be on the very edge, to find out what will be the next big thing.

Teens wish to rebel and create an image for themselves. They do not like it if they feel they are being lead to a new fashion style by the media and power-hungry corporations. Therefore, the media invents new styles in many different ways, such as viral marketing, without ever associating the product with themselves. Then they "coincidentally" sell products that strengthen the fashion appeal of youth.

The media is creating fake images of how people

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