Since when did our self-image dictate what and why one product is better than the next? As for me, or even my parents for that matter, it's hard to say. The massive rise in consumerism all started with the Industrial Revolution and the sudden ability of the working class citizen to acquire the latest and greatest goods. At this point in time, many of the goods were more like amenities and did in some way improve the quality of life, however these products also became a measure of success among consumers. This was just the start of what would evolve into the constant need to outdo your neighbor and the competition of producers to sell you their similar, but somehow better and more improved product. As a society, we need these goods to reassure ourselves and show others our success. (As do we need the producers to fulfill this need and give us the reason to buy their brand name product). In James Twitchell's essay, "In Praise of Consumerism," he states that producers "splash magical promises over their goods" in order to make a sale. In his view, we are not duped into buying stuff, but we demand it. The overwhelming amount of material goods available on the market today isn't "exploiting our desire" but rather fulfilling our need to own and acquire. In retrospect, we are what we buy, every aspect of our life has been prepackaged and sold to us.
Ever since the day we are born we are placed on the slow moving conveyer belt of life being molded and shaped into the person we are today. We are prepackaged bi- product of the media, the rich and famous, clever advertising, and our peers. Where am I drawing this conclusion and or theory of life? Its simple. Never before has there been a group of generations so concerned with self-image. We are always trying to be like someone else and looking for ways to improve ourselves. This is where consumerism comes into effect. Producers have realized that people don't buy stuff; they buy content, meaning, purpose, a way of life, and an image.