Wednesday, 7 November 2012

You Are What You Own?

'This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time....'

As you may know, I am a Media Student at Teesside Uni. Some people consider a Media degree to be easy, a cop out, something students do when they aren't intelligent or motivated enough to do a 'real' degree. What these people don't realise is that the Media is something that all of us consume every day, so in my opinion, studying it is one of the most relevant things in our culture to gain a degree in. 

I want to work in the why wouldn't I study a degree in it? Yeah, astrophysics might push me more academically, but whats the point if it has nothing to do with the career I want?

Anyways, rant over

My point was that studying Media involves studying aspects such as philosophy, sociology and psychology as part of media theory. One part of media theory we have been studying lately that has particularly interested me is postmodernism.

I'll try and sum this up, because defining postmodernism could take a long time. The main points are that we live in a postmodern society; nothing is original, nothing has substance, and nothing is real. 

In our lecture, we recently watched David Fincher's brilliant Fight Club, and discussed how it is a postmodern text. 

'You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're the all-singing, all dancing, crap of the world.'

The Narrator, played by Edward Norton, is an insomniac. He is also obsessed with Ikea, and meticulously scrolls through the catalogue 'as if it were pornography'. He attends self help groups because they are the one place he can let go, cry, and finally get some sleep. Before he discovers Fight Club, that is.

Fight Club is an incredible film, making a dramatic social comment on our consumerism-filled lives. Until he meets Tyler Durden, the Narrator compulsively collects furniture, belongings, wondering 'what kind of dining set defines me as a person?'. Some postmodernists believe that today, we have no actual personality because we define ourselves through our possessions, much as the Narrator does with his yin-yang coffee table. Tyler offers the Narrator the option of a life without materialism or authority, without being held down by a house or a job. He is the alternative voice, one that says we do not need to own things to be 'complete' (if we can ever be 'complete' at all).

'I am Jack's 
    wasted life
broken heart
           complete lack of surprise
  inflamed sense of rejection
     smirking revenge.'

The presumption that we as people have no substance because we are too busy being mindless, excessive consumers might seem....offensive, belittling or infuriating. After all, it would be pretty difficult to live in the Western world as we do and not give in to materialistic pressures. We are richer than we used to be, so it makes sense that we would buy more things.

Tyler Durden: 'Reject the basic assumptions of basic civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.'

I know I'm being a little deep here, but I found myself really interested in this issue and wanted to share it.

I can't help but agree that these days, we do define ourselves by what we own. I do, anyway; I love fashion, and what is fashion if not a way of showing who you are by wearing clothes, shoes, the latest trend?

However, I don't think this is as bad a thing as it sounds. I think the stuff we own, wear, listen to, watch.... it's a form of self-expression that we just couldn't afford years ago. I'm sure we could all do with getting back to basics a little, but that doesn't mean that by being active consumers we are nothing but style rather than substance.

Apologies for the wordy/theoretical post, but this is what I'm studying so this is what I'm thinking/blogging about!
Hope this gave you some food for thought, and do please comment if you have any opinions!

Thanks for reading,



  1. Hey Sophie, we like your film posts, haven,t seen any about music...have yout got any? Good luck
    Marina & Noe

    1. Thank you, yeah I have done a few music reviews earlier in the year :-)

  2. great post , your blog is very good and interesting. im glad if you visit my blog, too <3 keep in touch!


  3. I love Fight Club, it's one of my favourite films :) I love your writing style, I'm your newest follower :)

    Lea x

    It's Such A Wonderful Life -

    Why not check out my Christmas Yankee Candle giveaway?

    1. Me too! Thank you :-)
      I'm your newest follower too, love the makeup inspiration on your blog, I wish I could apply it so professionally haha!