ART 302: Reading #2

The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures by Jean Baudrillard 

Chapter 6: Personalization or the Smallest Marginal Difference

  • “All the contradictions involved in this theme, which is basic to consumption, can be felt in the desperate gymnastics performed by the language it is expressed, in the constant attempt to achieve an impossible, magical synthesis.” Page 87

Consumers are often led to believe that everything that is advertised is a necessity. We watch commercials of these fabulous women, with fabulous lives and we believe that a world like that does exist if you buy the product they are offering. In leiu of purchasing the item for personal satisfaction, we don’t realize that the product advertisement is offering the idea of an idealistic world. Sadly, the advertisement industry exaggerates their products and the average consumer falls for their mindless trap.

  • “It is by coming close to your reference ideal, by being ‘truly yourself’, that you most fully obey the collective imperative and most closely coincide with a particular ‘imposed’ model.” Page 95

Everyone has an inspiration. The inspiration is used in our daily lives as a model to live by. Before we take that inspiration, we look at ourselves for flaws or undesirable social aspects. From there, they are corrected by the most ‘trendy’ aspects of a person, and are applied to yourself. For example, if you are a trendsetter, you take inspiration from a unique, unknown source. From there, people start using that trend for themselves because they saw you as different and unique. The trendsetter is the ‘imposed model’ in this case and the people who follow it, do it because they have accepted themselves as followers.

  • “The modern woman is called on to choose and to compete, to be ‘particular’ or ‘demanding’. All this is, of course, in keeping with a society where the respective social, economic and sexual functions are relatively intermingled.” (Page 98)

Women are used to competing with other women. I, as a woman myself, am always looking to better myself. Before you try to better yourself, you have to compare your ‘flaws’ with other women. Then you exceed those flaws through an exaggerated advancement for better or worse. From there, you are judged if you don’t have everything in life. Women have the hardest situation in comparison to men. Women are expected to have everything in life, and more. Beauty, fashion sense, career success, a wife and mother, all make women want it all.


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