Consumerism in Movies Consumerism Is Essay

Total Length: 1155 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

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"The things you own end up owning you." This quote from Tyler Durden, the protagonist in the movie Fight Club, sums up the message of this movie. The movie, Fight Club takes a critical stand against consumerism. Unlike Sex and the City which accepts consumerism with open arms, embraces and celebrates it, the characters in Fight Club are portrayed to be enlightened, resists and fights consumerism. Tyler Durden especially, the protagonist, is portrayed to have an internal battle, the battle of confirming with societal pressures toward consumerism and the battle of asserting his realizations about consumerism which ultimate aim is a life not driven by consumption and consumer goods.

In the movie, Tyler Durden said, "Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need." This quote drives home the point that the movie wants to make, that consumerism has become the purpose of every person's life to the point that each person is only living in order to purchase goods and consume it. Money is required in order to consume. People work to earn money. And the money they earn, they spend on consumer goods. In effect, people work to consume. It is what life has become according to Fight Club.

The meaning of life is currently derived from consumption and this is what Fight Club is fighting against. Its characters present a different worldview. It tells its audience that life should have a purpose which is not based on consumption. Tyler Durden said, "We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.
" For Tyler Durden, a life driven by consumption is a meaningless life.

Tyler Durden further digs deep into the belief brought about by consumerism, the belief that a person is defined by what he or she consumes. According to Tyler, "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 not your fucking khakis." His message is simple, the things that people buy does not in any way define them. "We are consumers. We're the bi-products of a lifestyle obsession," he said to express his disgust to consumerism.

To Tyler, the important social issues have been ignored and pushed back because consumerism has taken the center stage in the life of every human being, "Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra."

There are different ways to view consumerism. One can see the good side in it and celebrate it; find satisfaction and happiness through it. On the other hand, consumerism can be seen to be evil and resent it; see it as the reason that pushes people to lead lives that have no purpose.


Bauman, Z. 2005. Work, Consumerism and the New Poor. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press

Cronin, A. (2000). Adverting and Consumer Citizenship: Gender, Images, and Rights. New York: Routledge.

Linson, A., Bell R.G., Chaffin, C. (Producer), & Fincher, D. (Director). (1999). Fight Club [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox

Miles, S. (1998). Consumerism: As A Way of Life. London: Sage.

Wyatt, R. (1999, November 3). Consumerism, Advertising.....

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