You see, prior to this many women were working in the factories to support the war effort. It was promoted as patriotic and was very successful (i.e. Rosie the Riveter which was a hugely successful governmental campaign) – so much so that many women did not want to give up their jobs and “go home.” Working outside the home became socially acceptable and even desirable. But now the government needed to lure the women back to the homes so that the returning men could have the jobs. However, for the first time, many of the women had found self worth outside the home. They were making their own money, were a part of a vital cause, and had found community. (The Rosie the Riveter image was used later in the women’s movement as an example of women’s independence)
It was now the woman’s civic duty to give up her job, go home, make lots of babies to replenish the depleted population, and most of all – consume!
In doing so, they were promised fulfillment by shopping. But living out in the suburbs made them feel more isolated and less fulfilled. So they shopped some more.
Interestingly enough, polls show that our national happiness quotient peaked in the ’50s and has been steadily declining ever since. Clearly shopping has not made us happy and all of this stuff has not given us more leisure time. In fact, research indicates that we have less leisure time than we have ever had before.Somehow we have gotten into a toxic cycle of endless work in order to endlessly consume.
But our media continues to promote the happiness is shopping message. We see more ads in one year than people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime, and they get the children early to that they are indoctrinated into consuming as a way of life.
The reality is that we are just as addicted to consumerism as ever.
But it is as simple, and as serious, as this: we can no longer maintain it, and maintain a healthy planet.
The U.S. encompasses 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 30 percent of the world’s resources and produce 30 percent of the world’s waste. In just three decades we have run through 1/3 of the planet’s natural resources.
We can change, but we need to first understand how we got here and be aware that we are constantly being programmed.
I realize I am often preaching to the choir, because so many of my Care2 friends are already making a huge difference in their communities, and for that we all thank you!
I invite you to spread the word and watch and share this powerful video, the Story of Stuff. Share it wide and far, and send it out to your networks. The point they make in the video is that people made this happen, and we are people, so let’s make something different!
Please share your thoughts with us and what you are doing to make a difference. I would love to hear from our Care2 friends in other countries as well. Is consumerism just as prominent there or is it different?
Part II of this series: 7 Ways to Curb Your Addition to Stuff