Friday, February 6, 2009
Douglas and the Narcissists
Reading the chapters for this week continues to be fun and informative. I actually feel a lot of empathy for Douglas' perspective, mostly because I can picture in my mind the achy feel of inadequacy she portrays for her generation. She writes as a baby boomer that exiting the decade that brought us the failed attempt to pass the ERA, gets tossed right into the years of narcissism disguised as 'I'm worth it, so I'm getting this' consumerism. This was the beginning of the bombardment that continues to this day, where mostly women, are told in ad after ad by a fawning media that they are worth every penny spent in looking like the models in the commercials. The pitch is not new. Pretty models are ubiquitous. But the subtext, the motivation behind the purchase is not 'get this item, it'll make you feel good', but rather, 'get this, because you deserve it'. Lots of examples come to mind, this is a new one if you believe the hype, it makes pores disappear. Never mind that these compounds are all predicated on the manic pursuit of perfection, flawless, gorgeous, whatever those adjectives mean in their quoted contexts. They nonetheless exist as absolutes in the mind of the consumer today, and in the time frame that Douglas writes about (the 80s and 90s). Here's the Cybill Shepard one.