Consumerism in the movies American Beauty and Fight Club

Essay by Pack092University, Bachelor'sA+, February 2004

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In society today, the ownership of materialistic possessions is attributed to ones happiness. People believe that success is defined as assets accumulated throughout life, rather than looking at achievements or accomplishments of people. In the movies Fight Club and American Beauty, the values of happiness are interpreted incorrectly. This interpretation is consumerism. Consumerism is the myth that consuming will gratify an individual. Consuming can be purchasing anything from a yacht to a book. Consumerism is encouraged through advertising in corporate America. Advertising and consumerism go hand in hand because advertising is necessary for consumerism to play such a huge role in culture. In American culture, consumerism is a degenerative process. Consumerism is degenerative because it gives people a fake sense of happiness. Eventually this false sense of happiness will lead to dismal feelings about life. Consumerism leads to depression in many individuals.

The movie Fight Club depicts consumerism as being an almost inescapable depression.

Consumerism is almost inescapable because people are conditioned to behave that way from childhood. They behave by always wanting things and never being satisfied. Consumerism is also unavoidable because of advertising. Advertising is a huge part of our culture. The prime example in the movie of advertising is when the main character is looking at the IKEA catalogs. The catalog advertises material possessions that people do not need, but people buy these things to make themselves happy. The main character of the movie consumes material things because it is a part of his culture. It is depressing for him because it gives him a false sense of bliss. The main character is so depressed he has to go to help meetings to make him feel better about himself which create this fantasy for him. He is captivated by this fantasy world where he is full...