Friday, October 4, 2013

It's not anti-consumption, it's asking yourself a question

My last post got some "hate" when posted on Reddit because, apparently, I was being a judgmental bitch.  I personally feel that, even if not everyone agreed with what I had to say, "judgmental bitch" is not the logical conclusion one would draw about me from reading what I wrote there.  I'd like to further clarify what I meant by considering your purchases more carefully, because my intention was not to mock or insult anyone.  I didn't mean that anyone should stop buying things, and I don't necessarily think that everyone should buy less, either.  I know there are a huge number of people who DO just buy things for themselves to enjoy.  As long as they think that what they buy is worth the use they get out of it, their shopping habits don't necessarily have to change at all.  The group I was speaking about were the people like me, who just obsessively shopped with the main intention of showing it off.

On my YouTube channel, I have 62 videos in my "Hauls" playlist, so hopefully anyone who felt like I was on a judgmental, mocking high horse will be able to see from this that I used to be "worse" about this than probably the majority of the people I'm writing to.  I bought things all the time.  And I still buy things all the time--that's the point I'm trying to make.  While I'm sure the lifestyle maintains a lifelong appeal for some, I personally find the general anticonsumption mentality to be extremist and haughty.  I want to clarify that that is not how I intended to come across.  I take issue with those who say that you can't be happy because of a material possession you own.  Would I give up my 500 bottles of nail polish I've been collecting for almost 10 years to save a family member or friend's life?  In a heartbeat.  But while none of my family and friends' lives are at stake over my possession of cosmetics and clothing, I'm going to keep buying them, and I'm going to keep enjoying them.

I enjoy them a lot more now than I used to, though, and that change in mentality was what I was trying--unsuccessfully, it seems--to communicate in my last post.  As I mentioned to someone in a comment, I'm saying the very opposite of "people shouldn't splurge on things that make them happy."  In fact, I've begun to enjoy my purchases a lot more since I've stopped buying things solely because they're on clearance, and started buying things because I genuinely like them a lot.  Rather than buy a basket full of nail polish at the dollar store, 2/$1 and ending up with 30 nail polishes I never use, I've begun noting unique colors that I like when I see them in someone's blog.  I'll add them to my Amazon or Ebay wishlist, and when I feel like I can afford to spend a few extra bucks to get something nice for myself, I buy one or two.  When they arrive, I only have a couple new things to use--all my excitement can be focused on them.  One thing I found when I used to buy huge quantities of makeup or clothing in the past was that I would be excited to wear it, but I wouldn't be really excited about any one item, I'd just be excited that I had so much new stuff.

Another thing I'd just briefly like to mention is the "peer pressure" mentality.  When this gets addressed, usually everyone defensively declares that they'd never judge someone for the brands they use, and I think that's absolutely true!  The nail polish and makeup communities overall are full of people who embrace all skill levels and budgets.  I'd be furious if I ever saw someone telling a beginner that their nail art wasn't good enough because they'd used cheaper brands, and I know many other people would come to that person's defense, too.  That said, though, there's a huge importance placed on brands, and I think that does lead some people to make purchases they wouldn't normally have made.  Specifically regarding nail polish, I fairly often see someone buying Essie or OPI even though they wouldn't really have thought to, because "everyone says these are so amazing!"  (Personally, I think Essie is mediocre, at best, and comparatively awful for the $8 price tag, but I know there are a lot of girls who really love the brand.)  Or, "I just got my first Juleps, I'm a real Laquerista now!" and I feel sad that someone might feel, even lightheartedly or jokingly, that they're not "part of the group" until they've bought certain expensive products.  In my own experience, everything I bought in this haul was "peer pressure."

Everyone on YouTube was talking about the Sephora Friends and Family sale, as well as the Wet n Wild ColorIcon palettes.  I bought them because I felt that it gave me a way to really participate in what everyone else was talking about, and that I was somehow more included in the "beauty community" because I possessed those items.  I'm not going to pretend that those Sephora items were awful and I hated them.  I used them just as much as I used the other makeup items I had at the time, I just had so much that nothing really got the love it deserved.  As for the Wet n Wild palettes, I still have them, solely because they're limited edition and they look cool in the pans.  But I don't think I've used them on my face more than once or twice.

Ok, Liz, so now you sound like you're back on the point of "listening to other people talk about what they buy is horrible, and buying things because someone else mentioned they liked it is horrible, too." What are you trying to say here?  I'm trying to say that I love being an active member in the nail polish community, and I'm glad that there are so many people who share my interests.  This isn't me telling anyone that they must make a radical change to their lifestyle.  It's just me asking them to consider their reasons for purchases.  Purchases made solely to splurge a little on yourself are just fine!  My only concern is when people aren't making the purchase for their own enjoyment and instead doing it to gain approval from others.

I hope this made it a bit clearer what I was trying to say yesterday.  I do apologize if I didn't make myself clear enough in the initial post, and like I said in that one, too, I'm not trying to address the entire audience who will probably read this.  It's a much more specific issue than that.  If you think this doesn't apply to you because you buy nail polish once every month or two and you've never posted a picture of it online, you're right, so please don't mistake my meaning and think that I'm against cosmetics purchases of any kind.  I'm just hoping to possibly affect a few people to whom who this might really make a difference.

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