I get it; this is totally a #firstworldproblems kind of post. But give me a chance to lay out some perspective here. I think Madonna really got it right in the 80s with her song Material Girl.
“We are living in a material world and I am a material girl”
That famous line brought this one societal issue to the forefront and honestly, things haven’t changed very much at all since the decade of big hair and cut off jeans. We still celebrate material possessions, but more than that, we have come to let those things define us and as collective society over time, it’s only gotten worse.
Throughout history, there has always been an admiration for the #rich and #famous, but this day and age has taken the objectification that come with that lifestyle to a whole new level. Now, just about every rap song has something to say about living “the life.” Take Future for example: in one song he’s bragging about being “draped in all designer” and in the next he’s preaching “if you love her put her in designer.” Or what? She leaves you… Is that really what we value in relationships these days!? What if that’s not what she wants from you? What if she wants to do it by her damn self? It’s bad enough to be expected to dress in labels in order for people to consider you successful, but now you have to make sure your SO is rockin the same dollar value or it isn’t even #truelove? I really can’t even deal with all that mess.
Now please don’t take this commentary as a pot calling the kettle black type of situation. I will be the first to admit that I am just like that pink gown, fur coat wearing Madonna from her famous 80s music video. In my book, being materialistic is simply a descriptor of having nice things (and a lot of them). I take pleasure in my material possessions, but that does not make me pretentious. There is a HUGE difference between those two categories. I may take pride in the things that I own, but they do not define who I am. I like having certain things and living a certain lifestyle, but providing that for myself does not mean that I look down on anyone who doesn’t or those who value other aspects of life over material possessions. And please keep in mind, I work my ass off for everything I have and will continue to do so for everything else I decide I want in the future. The difference with me being materialistic and being pretentious is that I don’t expect the finer things in life to just fall in my lap. I would never date someone like Future who would hand me everything and expect me to just take it. I value my material possessions because I use those things as motivation to keep up my #hustle and I am proud of the things that I own because I know how hard I have worked to get them. I’m basically always taking a page out of Beyoncé’s book:
“I see it, I want it […] I dream it, I work hard, I grind til I own it.”
And to be very, very clear: I don’t see anything wrong with that.
What I do see wrong is that society uses those things to make judgements. I am a prime example of this. I have been told by many people that before they actually got to know me, they thought I was a “dumb blonde,” or that Mommy and Daddy paid for my lifestyle. When people get to know me and understand my work ethic, the whole conversation and perception of my life changes. Just because I can appreciate a nice car, take a well deserved vacation or rock a designer hand bag does not mean that I don’t value the non-material things in life. You can be materialistic and still have depth. You can be intelligent and still wear labels. You can be a human that is defined by more than what meets the eye. I think a lot of society has lost sight of that, but the beauty of being a #TwentySomething is that we have the power to change the way we are perceived by others. We can’t abuse that power and we certainly can’t afford to waste it.
Join me on Twitter and use the hashtag #TwentySomething to add your two cents to the conversation.