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eng201E1 essy 1 - The Consumed Consumer Essay by Cory You...

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“The Consumed Consumer” Essay by Cory ”You are what you eat.” Everyone has heard this at some point in their life. Humans by nature are consumers. Consumers like to think that they define their identities individually and then refine that definition based on the things they’re procuring, when really it’s society and the media that create the definitions, and consumers are forced to blindly obey without even being aware. In a more specific sense Keith White says “Who you are depends on what you consume, and how hip you are depends on how enthusiastically you keep up with the new” (70). We see it in T.V. shows like Laguna Beach, in nationwide chains like Starbucks and magazines like Vogue, GQ, and High Times. They aren’t just random people, coffee and wireless internet or pieces of information strung together for no reason. They’re the dictionaries used to define what’s new and hip, and what’s new and hip is what consumer culture is all about. We’re consumed, in a sense, by the very things we’re consuming. That being said, we need to examine the facts behind this homogenized identity quandary we’re looking at. Things like “consumers” and “consumer culture” as well as “society” and “the media” are all sort of general terms we use without ever really talking about what they are. Everybody is a consumer. A consumer has needs and wants, and to appease those feelings they purchase whatever it is they need or want. But a consumer in the context of consumer culture is someone who consumes that which is deemed new and hip. It’s to consume what’s beyond our basic needs. Those that are dictated by consumer
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culture want an alternative lifestyle while living the life they have, and to accomplish that they look to the media, who are just an unseen panel of hipster judges that provide the “new and hip” based on what society, which is just the general consumer public, is consuming at the time. By emulating the life they wish to live they not only feel better about themselves but they add to the locomotion that is hip and new. I think we also need to look at what identity and individuality entail; is individuality to be totally autonomous from everyone? Identity is defined as “individuality” (Webster’s dictionary), so then we must define “individuality.” The
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