By your interest in these very words, it is safe to assume you struggle with vanity- or at least you know someone else who’s “not you” and may need some more information on “their” issue. Either way, glad you’re here! Rest a bit, have a seat, and put down the mirror– just this once.Vanity is a psychological construct that describes a person’s excessive and often obsessive concern with physical appearance and/or personal achievement. Aristotle stated that the vain have a blown up self-image, but are not worthy of it.
This year, in the midst of a recession, Black Friday was bigger than ever; Americans spent $52.4 billion dollars, a 16.4 percent increase from 2010. An alarming actualization with the amount of struggle and unemployment surrounding us.
It seems that even though we aren’t making money, we still love to spend it. Why? Why now, when Dad’s been laid off? And Mom- she’s working late again, another double.
It’s Jealousy, that dirty bird. She’s all around us. She told you didn’t she? That your neighbor just bought that new mower. And your sister was spotted last week looking at a new car- guess it’s time to trade yours in!
All pathways to vanity, and Americans can’t help but be consumed.
The concept of physical vanity is easy to understand. A strong emphasis on outward appearance exists in Western culture, especially in the U.S. In 1990 Dr. Kate Peirce, a well known author and professor of mass communications at Southwest Texas University, analyzed the ideology constructed in Seventeen magazine and suggested that appearance is one of the primary concerns of a teenage girl. (hello…) She also found that the number of messages aimed toward men in the media concerning physical fitness has steadily increased over the past forty years.
As for the achievement sector of vanity: it’s that girl who introduces herself as Jane-I graduated with a 4.8 and was in the IB program- Doe. So obsessed with achievement that she’s socially inept and oh-so vain. It’s that guy with an office covered in his hotdog eating contest 3rd place plaques. It’s Summer in Jack Black’s School of Rock who can’t survive school without a gold star chart.
Vanity is everywhere. It’s the kind of self-idolatry that leads to taking 5000 headshots only to fire the photographer.It’s what got Lucifer kicked out of heaven. It’s what got Narcissus stuck staring at himself in a pond until he died.
And yes, this one is about you.