Promote Democracy, not Dependency. Arm Yourself With an Online Education

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Why as women, do we want what we don’t need? Why does a woman in a service industry own several designer bags each one costing 4 figures? The women own these bags because they work for the affluent women that wield them.  How is it then do you meet the needs of people who lack the resources to participate in market exchange?  How do you argue with Oprah Winfrey to live your best life?  With completely exhausting diligence to eat vegetables, loose weight, and buy the always in style cashmere or little black dress, Oprah speaks of female empowerment, and means the power to spend their own money promoting materialism and dependency.

Worse yet is the assumption that women are inherently and deeply flawed, and need constant improvement throughout their lives, and those who don’t spend money to address those flaws will be unhappy.

The consumer market pushes the banality envelope even further by promoting girl spirituality and self-help in the book Eat, Pray, LoveSkinny Bitch, and the The Secret  and essentially says that by replacing their to-go coffee with $10 coconut water they miraculously become happy and healthy. Even worse is the actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s website GOOP. The site’s section headings are, "Get, Do, Be" and forges a link between spending and self-actualization that has pissed off a few Eastern religious leaders. Her infantile sense of importance assumes people want to live and dress like her. 

“Many of my friends, or friends of friends, have asked me for ‘my London’ so that when someone is traveling here, or lives here but wants some extra info, it is compiled in one place.” [From GOOP]

“Here are some suggestions for several interesting exhibitions to go see, possibly in a city near you. Some of them I have been to and loved. And some of them came from friends who I trust in all matters of culture.“[From GOOP]

Oprah and Gwyneth, probably at the suggestion of someone wanting to make money off of them told them to “brand themselves.”

“The primary objective [of “brandscaping”] is not to sell the product but to generate a fascination with the brand; to get the customer to identify with the world of the brand, creating a brand awareness and providing it with a deep set emotional core.” –Otto Riewoldt, Brandscaping. 

Through her website, Gwyneth talks to you like you’re her friend so you’ll  trust her aesthetic.

”Branding lifestyles are not merely superficial veneers on deeper identities but have to some degree become substitute identities-forms of acquired character that have the potential to go all the way down to the voluntary aspects of identity we choose for ourselves. ” Benjamin R. Barber, Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

Female independence as portrayed in “Sex and the City” is freedom to purchase shoes and bags that are so outrageously expensive that they could possibly feed and clothe a third-world village for a year.

“Consumers are not citizens, and when a system pretends that they are, peculiar and even perverse things happen to decision making and to democracy, as well as democracy’s commitment to diversity. Critics of capitalism in the postwar period, especially those German neo-Marxists associated with the so-called Frankfurt School, were already worrying-a little hysterically if also rather presciently-about the ways in which the successes of late capitalism seemed to them to be cloaking new and subtle forms of repression in the marketplace. If the market, with its hidden monopolies and invisible coerciveness, was “free,” then maybe freedom had (as the French philosopher Michel Foucault suggested) become a smoke screen for repression.” Benjamin R. Barber,Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

Barber also points out what athletes promote. They may be legitimate athletes but they are branded a specific athlete when they choose to wear free gear or accept corporate sponsorship.

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