Remember a few posts ago where I said, in reference to the vicious materialist "gotta have a bigger flat screen TV than my next-door neighbour" cycle:
I just wonder how many never bothered to stop and ask "do I actually LIKE spending so much of my life-energy on the opinions of people who don't love me anyway"?
Here's an online comic that almost perfectly expresses what I was trying to say.
Also, go check out the movie Supersize Me. Seriously. Before you eat another whopper meal or big mac, go watch it.
It seems like I'm experiencing materialism culture shock right now. Here are a few things:
Chindogu is an interesting, slightly subversive kind of invention. It's a useless or cumbersome tool designed to solve a simple everyday problem -- one that solves a problem, but usually creates other problems along the way. I talked about these in class, and found out more about it online. It's a charming channel of creative thinking. The concept was developed by a journalist who got tired of materialist society -- why must we ask "is it useful?" "is it profitable" of every invention? He set out to develop useless inventions, to improve his creativity rather than just to line his pockets. (Ironically, he then made a bundle by writing a book about chindogu.)
Here's the other thing. I want to know what you think.
The thing I hate about materialism is that it's an entire way of thinking, an ideal, that's designed to foster self-hatred. Advertisers know that if I hate something in my life, I'll spend money to fix it, so they present me with TV ads and characters that show people who are richer, more beautiful, more WHATEVER than I am. That's the insidious thing about beauty magazines and TV commercials -- they introduce a measuring stick to my life that I can't possibly measure up to, and thus make me vulnerable to being sold the "solution" to my fabricated "problem".
Here in Korea, one area where this has really been getting at me is in beauty culture. It's so disgusting to me that advertisers have created a beauty ideal (Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz) that is genetically out of most Korean women's reach, and then (implicitly) made lots of perfectly nice, perfectly attractive women feel ashamed for having a single instead of a double eyelid, for having black instead of blue eyes, straight black instead of curly, red, or blonde hair, for having a smaller, less curvy frame than those voluptuous northern-european-blooded women can manage.
There's a harsh stigma against ugly and overweight women in Korea: "Lazy girl isn't willing to do the work needed to take care of herself!" This link is to a synopsis/review/trailer/clip of a recent Korean movie about a fat, ugly girl who gets $60 000 of plastic surgery to become a beauty, and then gets everything she wants -- it's a cute, charming, funny movie (the review's right about that) but the message -- "If you're a woman, you can only have a happy ending if you're beautiful" is the most disgusting subtext I've ever heard, and teen-aged girls are eating it up. Korea is known around Asia as a plastic surgery hotspot -- cheaper than Japan, better quality than China, and it's common for women to get their eyelids done as a high school graduation gift.
The other thing is: by setting up the western beauty as an ideal in Korea, the best Korean women can ever do is attain to a near-facsimile, a "best possible imitation" of the western ideal, because of the aforementioned DNA issues. Instead of saying "This is what we are, and THIS is beautiful," too many people idealize the impossible, and come off making poor imitations of what ISN'T, instead of celebrating what IS.
You can't tell me that this:
Is more beautiful than this:
Anyway, I wish people would celebrate who they are, instead of longing for what they're NOT -- in terms of beauty, talent, success and wealth, and all that stuff.