New Blog Assignment

During our class discussions this week, we analyzed what we mean when we state that somebody is fetishizing an object or a person, and explored the anthropological, Marxist and psychoanalytic underpinnings to the concept. E.g., in our culture, the saying that “diamonds are forever” seems like an almost natural meaning, but diamonds didn’t always have that meaning. Only in 1938, when the NY Advertising Agency was hired to change public attitudes towards diamonds to turn them from rare stones into symbols of committed and everlasting love did institutional structure of a consumer society orient us to a fetishized perspective on diamonds. The consequences are a society where  material objects and images form a  commodity image-system disguising the real, the substantive, in a world of appearances. If we seek to defend ourselves against manipulation and control by the image-system financed by a handful of corporate interests, describe one important strategy of cultural politics that you consider effective, to demystify the images, and a strategy that can be taught to others.

 

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52 Responses to New Blog Assignment

  1. GwynSims says:

    I think the most important thing to do is read. This is actually a topic I’ve been quite interested in of late, and although I’ve never heard the word “fetishizing” used to describe it, the vast consumerization of American culture has far-reaching negative consequences for our society. Lots and lots of excellent books have been written on the topic, some more accessible than others, and while titles escape me at the moment they are certainly not hard to find.

    Of course, some people don’t like to read (such as most of my family members), and they shouldn’t be left out. And even though people tend to get super annoyed when they have beliefs questions, especially ones that seem obvious–insisting that diamonds have no inherent value besides what we put on them would certainly lead to exasperated silences at MY family dinners–it’s important to keep talking and questioning people. Having them look at their beliefs objectively is the only way to create change.

    Of course you can’t be too pushy about this or else it won’t work.

    • Nikki Mahmoudi says:

      I totally agree that reading is the most important thing to do. There are so many books out there that make us aware of the truth behind these material goods and their true value. For those who do not like to read, I believe that videos are another great route to go. Documentaries are a great way for people to visually see what is going on. To some extent, documentaries may actually be a better option than reading because to many “seeing is believing.” I feel that many can read a book and then just not be really impacted by it, but a documentary is something that is visual and one can actually see with their one eyes what is going on. Another great point you made is this whole concept of questioning. I agree with the idea your going for but I think I would take it to an even broader idea of just questioning any commercial one sees or questioning the value of every product one sees on the market. I feel that if we all question what is out there then we can see really see a huge change.

    • katherynevu says:

      Reading is a really great strategy in fighting against the influence of the image-system. By reading you can learn so much about the topic and it gives you a bigger insight on how to look at the influence of the commercial industry. On the other hand, books are written by people, and people will always have an interpretation. By reading other’s writings on their views of the system, it also manipulates the reader’s views as well. It’s like a double-edged sword. You avoid one manipulation to become a part of another.

  2. Steph. says:

    It depends on one’s perspective and values. I was obsessed with designer products, but after realizing it really did not make me any happier, I stopped becoming as obsessed with it. Designer things are not always better or what is said to be best by the public. I feel that media will always advertise products and make people want certain products. [Dietary products especailly] Truth is it might just to manipulate us and distort our mindsets.

    Perhaps focusing on other positive activities to keep your mind off it will help. Furthermore, it is good to surround yourself around people that are not easily “manipulated” by messages that are sent out by the media. I hung out with a few superficial friends in the past, and they made me feel like I needed to have nice things in order to fit in with them.

  3. Audrey says:

    Getting input from close friends and family members would be beneficial before purchasing the material object (or acquiring it in other ways). However, the decision ultimately comes down to you, yourself. So it might be smart to ask yourself a couple of important questions before obtaining the object.

    If the product was endorsed by a celebrity, perhaps you can ask yourself (from a psychology standpoint): “is this celebrity’s behavior attractive or appealing (within and outside the advertisement)?”, “Am I capable of acting in the same way?”, “If I acted in that way, what would be the consequences of doing so? Would it be harmful to others/you?” and “How much would buying this product/acting like the celebrity be consistent with my goals and values?”

    And if, after careful consideration, your answer is “no” to any of those questions, perhaps you should rethink your obsession over said material object.

    (Note: I use the pronoun “you” loosely, of course.)

    • ellkayjack says:

      Those are great questions to ask yourself, I think. Simply versing yourself with the various consequences of a purchase upon your image are often already a good form of distancing, depending on how hard you think about it. Often I find that the very linking of an object with a behavior, no matter whether the behavior is good or bad, has negative effects simply based on the dishonesty of the matter. So to add to your list of helpful questions I would ask myself “If the person endorsing this product IS attractive or appealing to me, does it actually have anything to do with the item? Does it make a difference whether the item is one color or another?” I dare say that the answer is almost always no, and this does great wonders (for me at least) in demystifying any item’s appeal.

  4. rsicilekira says:

    I think it is important to become educated on the background of the product such as how it was made, who made it, and what the company making it stands for. Often times you can find out if the object is actually a good quality item, or if it is simply a fad. Fads can sometimes cause companies to mass produce specific objects and sell them for large amounts of money, yet they can be poorly made. By finding out the origin of the object, it can can be beneficial in helping to make a decision to if the purchase is necessary or not.

    Also, I feel it is important to discuss these objects with friends and family. It is always helpful to receive outside opinions from those close to you. While you may be obsessing over an object, friends and family can help bring you back to reality. Sometimes it is acceptable and “normal” to fetishize over something, yet it can also become unhealthy. Discussing your thoughts with others is a helpful way to learn more about the object and decide if it truly is necessary to obtain.

    • Maria Salazar says:

      I agree with your stance on fetishizing, and how one must step back and think of all aspects that deal with the product. The immediate example that came to mind with reading your blog response was last year’s fad of Silly Bandz. I refused to buy into the fad, but was forced to accept the bandz because they were given to me as presents. I found no point in them, yes they were cute in aspect and fetishized because it became something to collect and trade amongst friends, yet for me there was no relevance in wearing a poorly crafted product (which cost extremely less to make than to purchase) half way up your arm. Not to mention how easily they were lost. The Silly Bandz however grew in popularity exponentially, having been extremely fetishized by society. Which left me to ask why did a piece of different colored rubber band have such importance?

  5. Nikki Mahmoudi says:

    The biggest problem with this form of advertising has been that it has made us believe that we need expensive jewelry, designer items, and all of these truly unnecessary items. Thus, I think the most important thing is that we have to realize that we don’t really need any of these goods. Advertising has led us to believe that we need a certain item and we need it as soon as possible when in reality we all know that we don’t really need any of these things. I think the most effective way of demystifying these advertisements and images is through documentaries and books that show us the backstory behind all of these items and how we are being pulled into spending way more than we have to for goods that we want. I think this is the most effective way because it’s been successful in the past with the fast food industry. I don’t really know if fast food works with this fetishizing concept, but I still think this is a great example in showing how once people became aware of the negative aspects of the fast food industry, many stopped purchasing fast food. Personally, I have seen so many people quit eating fast food due to films like “Fast Food Nation” and “Super Size Me.” I myself have also quit eating fast food due to the films I have seen and books I have read regarding the fast food industry. Another reason I feel that this idea of films and novels would work is because we are in a time where people want to educate themselves and be smart about what they do. Therefore, if we use films and novels to demystify these advertisements then I feel like a lot of people will stop following these advertisements and realize that they are being ripped off.

  6. ellkayjack says:

    One thing that so far has worked well for me, in terms of rejecting the mindset with which we fetishize objects, is to hold use value as a primary concern, and then worry about aesthetics secondarily. In addition, I make quite an effort to be sure that my aesthetic appreciation is as pure as possible, or in other words not tied to a social connotation with the object. To explain, I will use the example of shoes, especially since they came up quite a bit in our class discussion of fetishizing. My favorite shoes are these pleather “combat” boots with both laces and zippers. If upon purchasing these boots my primary concern was to belong, and obsessively pursue an image associated with the boots, I would probably have to buy a lot more stuff and then live out the stereotype of a “punk”, because in general the people who call themselves punk where these boots. However, my way of distancing myself from any desire to buy and live this image, is to remind myself that there is absolutely no rule against me wearing these shoes just because I don’t like all punk music, don’t do a lot of cocaine, and don’t wear all black. I wear the shoes for their use value: they are great for walking through mud, heavy lifting (which I do at my job), and they leave my feet feeling secure. This is the most important part to me. Use value should hold the most weight because you pay money for a product, and it should work. It should last long, and it should function. For me, when I focus on use value it becomes much easier to avoid fetishizing. After the emphasis on use value has been placed, aesthetics can come in. And as far as that goes, I leave it up to personal taste tied in with the reminder that I am just a person wearing these boots, and nothing more. Sometimes I dress quite feminine-ly, but juxtaposed with these boots that are seen as tough and rugged. And while stylistically people have thought this to be a faux-pas, no one has every stopped me to say that what I’m doing isn’t allowed. So I keep doing it, and it works out okay.

    • jane go says:

      It seems as though you’re saying that as long as you feel comfortable and that the purchase is reasonable to you, then you can feel secure in making any purchase. Today, almost all types of clothing, accessories, and shoes are tied to at least one social identity. In your example you said that your boots are considered punky. The image of a stereotypical punk may be linked to your boots, but the fact that you don’t seem to care about this and that you continue to wear the boots for reasons that fit your own lifestyle downplays the stereotype. Some people, however, want to dress accordingly to fit into a certain image. I don’t think that there’s necessarily anything wrong with this. As long as people are going into something with a good attitude and out of their own choices, then stereotype or not, they should be seen the way they want to be seen.

  7. michelley says:

    I think it is important to think about the pros and cons of the said item when purchasing materialistic items, or rather items that you may not need but desire. These fetished items may not be something that you really have to have, but rather something that you just want to have. In addition, I think it is important to think about it in a way like this: will you still be using/still want that item six months from now? If not, then why make the purchase? Use it on something that you really need, not something that you want. There are many fads as we grow up. Some recent ones are silly bands and jeggings. Once these fads are over, what is someone going to do with colorful rubberband bracelets? Nothing. It is important to weigh the costs and benefits while investing in something that the retail market is encouraging consumers to buy. I would also talk it over with friends and family. Don’t just buy something because you think you want it, make sure you really want that item. Opinions from family and friends, the people who know you best, can help you make a suitable and logical choice. Getting help from the ones you love can help you with your fetishing investments.

    • Damien says:

      I agree with you, it is important to weight the pros and cons before purchasing any items. Besides, wondering if we are still going to use one object in six months seems to be a good way to distinguish need to desire.

    • Michelle says:

      I agree with you. I think outweighing pros and cons of (unecessary) purchases would probably save people money. It’s true, that especially with fads that come and go, sometimes these things are just tossed aside. So it’s important to take that into consideration. My sister has a bunch of those silly bands which she doesnt really wear anymore so they’re just put away, torn and forgotten. I also think that talking it over with people helps one come to a better conclusion as to whether one really wants/needs/will use the item or not. It’s certainly helped me a few times!

  8. Maria Salazar says:

    In our society one cannot simply avoid corporate manipulation tactics, and therefore cannot simply avoid fetishizing. Even deciding not to fetishize becomes a fetish in its own right. One however does have the free will to choose. Choice and free will become essential when choosing an anti-fetish route; one can choose what, how and to which extent to fetishize about something. Instead of allowing oneself to fall into each and every propaganda campaign, through choice and free will, humans are able to differentiate the want vs. the need of a product. For example, watching all the info-mercials on various new and outstanding products, yet not buying into compulsively purchasing the products just because an over voice says “ORDER NOW!!”
    That being said, one of the best tactics against fetishizing is pausing. Just taking a moment to pause and contemplate the importance of the object at hand. Is it truly necessary to have/purchase/obtain? One must weigh the pros and cons of having the object, because if the expense of obtaining said object is greater than the feeling of ownership, then perhaps it wasn’t worth fetishizing in the first place.

  9. katherynevu says:

    To avoid being manipulated or controlled by the image-system is knowing. The way that the corporate interests controls popular culture you is through various ways of psychological manipulation. Their greatest strategy are studies of the human mind. By understanding how the human mind works, they can sell products by playing with what interests the mind the most. Before this discussion of fetishes and fetishizing in class, I had no idea what that word really meant nor did I really discussed about popular culture fetishes. With the knowledge that corporate interests fetishize products, it is a key strategy to avoid falling under influence of the image-system.

    • Steph. says:

      That is so true. They get to you through various ways of pyschological manipulation. It is hard when the bigger co always does that to us consumers.

    • michelley says:

      I agree with you, in how corporate interests control pop culture, through psychological manipulation. There are numerous advertisements for shampoo products (for example) that show celebrities with sleek, voluminous, perfectly manicured hair. The celebrities are showcasing what the consumer would look like if they had purchased the product. It is advantageous of corporate advertisers to use celebrities and stylists to make the hair look perfect, to lead the consumer into believing that he or she will have perfect hair like in the commercial. This is a good technique from industry, who learn how the human mind works, in order to influence/convince someone into becoming fetished with the item.

    • Kayla Wigley says:

      I completely agree, but I feel like this is easier said than done. We are always, subconsciously having manipulation thrown at us. To understand the media, as you stated, is a great way to avoid the failure you mentioned.

  10. xxxjo says:

    For me your question is a question about values. Do we really want economic values rule our whole live and get our own value out of things we buy? Do we want to suffer and feel unloved just, because we are not economically successful?
    I think an important strategy to overcome/demystify objects and at the same time our longing to own them is by understanding that ‘we all’ in western societies become puppets if we buy, buy, buy …. Puppets of an economic system which wants us to buy, because capitalism only works thru individuals which identify as individuals which are only be loved if they are owners of desired objects. To personally understand that we do not need to get e.g. a „diamond“ ring for marriage to know that we are loved is extremely important to become free of the pressure to buy and not to let money rule our lives in an extreme way. A nice book I can recommend here is: „The Art of Loving“ by Erich Fromm.
    To demystify images we have to understand where our desires and our desired products come from. Ask for example: Why do I want a diamond ring? Do I need it? What does it say about love? How are diamonds produced? Who benefits from the production and who does not? E.g. diamonds are often used to finance violent conflict (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_diamond). That is where the name “blood diamond” comes from.
    Thus, I believe first of all „we“ need to become aware and see that there is „manipulation and control by the image-system financed by a handful of corporate interest.“
    The individual level is in my eyes, the best way to become politically active and develop a critical thinking. I think to talk to your peer group and people around you is the most effective way to challenge peoples believes. Face to face communication is a very direct and genuine way to work politically. It is helpful to get informations from independed media (e.g. indymedia.org), from activist blogs, reports, movies and stop to watch mainstream media. Share information and produce your own media /films/books/blogs. Question, ask, listen, educate, and tell.

    • bnvue says:

      I love the strategy that you offered about talking to your peers one-on-one and face-to-face. That really is an effective strategy that has been really useful for me because it increases the support needed to fight off this image-system that corporates and media presents. Once I can find someone to relate with, it makes it easier for me to understand the fetishes behind these products.

      The metaphor that you used for us (consumers) as puppets was really interesting to me. We essentially become the product of mass production once we buy into these new ideas of the economy that seeks to control us and what we should have. I find that this metaphor works in other aspects such as the social media. Many young men and women buy into the idea that they are supposed to be a certain size in order to portray their masculinity or femininity. We also become puppets who consume these beliefs that women are supposed to be thin while men are supposed to be muscular. I might be overanalyzing this, but if we really think about it, many of these images are all social constructions that were made to control us in some way.

  11. bnvue says:

    Obviously, everyone has their own strategy and it works differently for different people depending on their background (economic, cultural, religious, etc.). As for me, I think that one really effective strategy is weighing the pros and cons of how these images are presented, their significance over other similar images, and the degree of value this image is for me.

    For example, this weekend, I went to a COACH store at a nearby outlet. With so many beautiful purse and wallets neatly racked all throughout the room, I was eager to buy myself a new purse since I’ve had mine for two years. However, after looking through each bag, I held myself back from buying a purse because I realized that my purse was still durable. I weighed the pros and cons of purchasing the purse: Pros-possession of newer purse, purse was my favorite color, clean, and had many pockets and sections for my to organize my things; Cons-expensive cost, if it was damaged I would be more heartbroken, only WANT it but didn’t NEED it since my current purse is still useable, money spent on purse could be used to pay bills, expensive bag will probably attract thieves, and there are many other bags just as nice that would be cheaper at other stores. I probably over-exaggerated some of the pros and cons, but the most important thing is that I didn’t fall under the trap of purchasing this accessory that I didn’t need.

    • elaaaineee says:

      I agree with you that it is a good idea to weigh the pros and cons before buying something, and also asking yourself how much you really need it. I like that you used the example of buying a designer bag because it reminds me of one of my friends. I have a friend that constantly buys designer bags whenever she can. She is willing to run up her credit card bills for designer bags. These bags are always her first priority because she feels that it gives her more confidence. She loves reading fashion magazines and always sees pictures of models/celebrities with different bags and shoes with different outfits. She tells me that she feels more confident in herself when she follows these different trends because these models/celebrities look so beautiful and confident in the photos wearing these bags/shoes/clothes. All these advertisements give a person the belief that if a person dresses the same or buy the same things as these models/celebrities, then they can be like these models/celebrities.

  12. kjg07 says:

    I think everyone has fallen victim to buying things advertised by corporations. It is not easy to avoid them but there are ways to defend ourselves from the manipulation. I think it depends on the individual and how they deal with making choices. I think one important thing to think about is where and how the product was made. If the product has been made in sweatshops by under paid and over worked people it makes you think twice about purchasing it. Getting a second opinion from a friend or family member is helpful because sometimes they know something that you don’t. Similarly I think one should research about things before buying them, because reviews on products are easily available online. Comparing what you want with other similar products which may be cheaper and perhaps even better which can save you money while still getting you what you want. Most of all I think it is important to sit down and think to yourself, “ do I really need this?” “can this money go to a better cause? “. I believe one should also see if the product it meant for them, meaning just because the person in the ad looks good with it doesn’t mean it will suit you too. That way you can weigh your options. Also I think it is important to educate yourself about these manipulative strategies used by these companies. The more we know the more we are able to resist the temptation of buying things, which are advertised to us.

  13. Michelle says:

    I think it’s easy to get caught up in fetishisms. I think this is especially true when we live in an age where there is so much product to consume and in a society where consumerism is a valued practice and also, where there’s a lot of effort put into ensuring that consumerism. In order to be able to deflect the light from media influence and the cycle of a society that maintains these fetishisms, I think it’s important to question. We have to ask ourselves why it is that we want a product, its actual production value, who profits, and why it’s so “popular”. I think it’s also important to realize that corporations and the media are always concocting ways of enticing consumers into buying products and so it’s a good idea to keep some sort of skepticism and dissect the methods they use, whether it’s through advertisements, television, film, etc. We should also question and talk to those around us about the process of fetishism so that in turn can possibly make others reconsider.

    • rsicilekira says:

      I agree with your response. The media tries to shove so many products and fads to consumers through advertisements, shows, music, and movies. Sometimes it is impossible to escape the media, so it is important to question the messages they are trying to send. It can also be insightful to ask those around us what their opinions as long as we remain true to our own opinions and don’t hop on the bandwagon because everyone else is doing so.

    • hahnchiu says:

      I agree with you about promoting consumer skepticism and would add that parents must exercise that awareness for their children. Because unfortunately, the age demographic with the highest learning capacity and most years left squander their time on the most mindless fads. The pokemon franchise, as brought up in class, exemplifies how easy it is to sow and cultivate consumer desire in children- its theme song emphatically repeats “gotta catch ’em all.” Why? So you will have them all. Ironically, the storyline does not even share that goal, as the main character only needs to win a tournament. I realized it was a nonsensically-repeated and manipulative command in elementary school, but collected the cards anyway. I wanted to fit in and had nothing better to do. The nickname “hahnachiu” still sticks today. Adults have greater ability to project the long-term value of an item, and ideally would encourage their children to invest in hobbies beneficial throughout life (e.g. music and sports/exercise).

  14. hahnchiu says:

    The diamonds example of fetishism is thought-provoking. Although love expressed through pretty consumer products might seem questionable, diamonds can still get a sentimental message across. If the giver poured blood, sweat and tears to afford diamonds, they can demonstrate commitment. The giver might be succumbing to corporate manipulation, but it’s hard to pass judgment on a sincere attempt to make someone happy. That said, if the recipient only wants gifts of diamonds from his or her partner, their relationship must be lacking because diamonds alone don’t show thoughtfulness and understanding about personal things- they don’t say “I know you” or “I listen to you” per se. People love each other for their unique set of qualities; the idea that diamonds symbolize love is unoriginal. I think the gift of diamonds can indicate commitment, but it’s certainly precarious whether they can show love.

    A strategy I use to overcome fetishism is to ask myself whether I will regret not obtaining the object when I’m on my deathbed. Though morbid, this quick exercise helps me weed out the unimportant things and not take what really matters for granted. Imagining life retrospectively makes it harder to judge both objects and people with a superficial disposition.

  15. kimcmull says:

    In today’s society, there is a bombardment of overvalued images forced on consumers through a wide variety of media. I believe this bombardment can be counteracted just through societies awareness of how these images and objects are just part of a fantasy and not really as “valuable” as they are presented. Everyone’s idea of what is considered valuable is different and questioning why these things are valuable is the how to stop manipulation by corporations. This may be a very obvious and simple answer, but to be honest, just like with any problem in the world, the first step to fixing it is to realize that there is, in fact, a problem. I don’t really think corporations will ever change, because they are obviously out for a profit, but I do think that the consumer, by knowing their tactics, will be able to make judgements accordingly. I honestly think that this form of “fetishism” isn’t exactly the most dire thing in the world. It only becomes a big issue when people become alienated based on material attributes, and character becomes a less important aspect of who someone is. I personally have always found symbols important and the example of a diamond ring symbolizing a love lasting forever is not something that I think really needs to be changed, but it is, after all, only a symbol, and love can last forever even without a ring. This reevaluation of importance gives people the power to realize that objects and images are not vital aspects in their lives.

  16. Damien says:

    I think the most important thing to do, in order to avoid manipulation for a product you have a desire to buy, is to ask yourself questions. For instance, why do I suddenly need this product? Is it going to be useful for me or others? Would I be really happier with it afterwards? But, you also have, and this is more my personal opinion, to question the firm ethics and the way the product was done. For example, where is the firm implanted? Why? Are the workers treated with dignity and paying fairly? Is the firm respectful of the/his environment? …
    We all have already bought something because of the image it was supposed to give us. Realizing that it was more an impulse than a need is a first step to understand how much we turn out to be more and more material civilization. We are, in our everyday-life, surrounded by publicities, commercials which basically create the need people will have for products. Be aware of this situation seems to be a good strategy for me.

    • kimcmull says:

      I completely agree with you. It’s up to the individual to decide if what they are seeing and buying is really worth it. I personally don’t think there is any other way to stop “fetishizing”. Corporations and their advertisements will always try and tell us how important something is and we as consumers are the ones that will have to decide whether we want to buy into it or not.

  17. pamnonga says:

    It may sound a little cliche but I think the most effective way to combat commercially-driven fetishisizing of object is by recognizing one’s inherent self-worth. People succumb to the messages of advertisments and the images they see around them because they belief that whatever is being sold to them will fix an internal problem. The solution begins with changing one’s mindset and analyzing one’s response to an image w/ a self-critique. A person can ask themselves questions such as: “Is this image being cast upon me a true reflection of my identity?” “Will this object raise my self-worth as it the advertisment claims it will?” When one begins to see images and objects for what they are (images and objects), one can discontinue projecting internal feelings and desires onto material things. The value of anything comes from the the people who assign the value to that thing. If we redirect the value from the object to our own self, we can remove the desire that leads to fetishization. I feel like this is the most important because cognitive knowledge of where the product comes from or of corporate practices and manipulation won’t stop people from wanting things they can’t have or overvaluing the material if they are not satisfied with the person they are internally.

  18. Christina says:

    A way of combating the inevitable influences of the corporate capitalist media is to realize who is marketing to you, who their target audience is and what their incentives are. For example when flipping through the channels while watching television you are most certainly going to come across numerous advertisements with all kinds of messages for various products. And you will undoubtedly hear these messages because the volume seems to become increasingly louder with these commercials; not a coincidence. For me what usually helps is actively asking myself, “Do I need this product? Or do I just want it?” Once I realize the object is not a necessity, and then I can prevent myself from buying it by telling myself I really do not need it.

    • kjg07 says:

      I agree with your idea of asking yourself about the product before purchasing it. Corporations have manipulative ways of making their products look appealing and in order to resist those, you really have to weigh the pros and cons. I also think one should think about where and who made the product before purchasing it. I feel like if people knew that some of the products were made in sweatshops by underpaid and over worked people then it would help them resist some unnecessary purchases.

  19. enykim says:

    Many advertising companies use mean strategies to persuade people and make profits. The strategies are run mostly by conducting exactly the same as what fetishism does in our modern society, as fetishism makes people believe a specific object has a power effective to whatever it is. In terms of that, products are medium that can make some attachment relationship between people’s desire and themselves. Advertisement make people believe that their products can satisfy their desire by buying, having, using and seeking to those.
    As an example, fashion advertisement provides people with stereotypical body images that have long been considered as desirable ones. People get to believe that they can become the one who’s shown in a fashion advertisement and sometimes they’re obsessed with that body image. Fashion advertisement touches human desire of being beauty in this case. Another example is alcohol advertisement. Not in all but most of alcohol advertisement, there comes a beautiful woman. And a main target of alcohol is usually men. That kind of advertisement secretly satisfies men’s desire for beauty and makes them buy. Alcohol advertisement touches men’s desire for woman in this case.
    So, the solution of defending ourselves against manipulation and control by the image-system is to try to break attachment relationships advertisement companies made intentionally. Attachment relationship is composed both of my desire and a specific image of object. So we need to look back on what my true desire is and how I can satisfy that desire not by some products but by my own effort. We should not make ourselves satisfy our desire by fantasies other people made, but have to make a practical effort by our own decision with subjectivity.

  20. camgd says:

    The social strategy that has always worked for me is watching film. Exposes of advertising as a method of determining how people see themselves, as well as what they buy, especially the documentary “Killing Us Softly” have greatly influenced my own perspectives on advertising and commodification. Another easy strategy is homeschooling: I see examples in my own family of individuals who do not suffer from pressures to own certain brands or specific techno-toys due simply to the fact that they were educated at home in an elementary school curriculum. Studies have shown, after all, that children are unable to tell the difference between television advertising and TV shows until the age of eight, and this greatly contributes to their fetishization of certain toys, and, in this day and age, certain cell phones. Because these children are also taught that to watch the news is “boring,” they do not realize that there are 13-year-old laborers in China who are underpaid, overworked, and often injured, in the factories that make iPhones and the like. For these workers, even, the products they make are organized by assembly-line divisions of labor, and thus, since iPhones and many other products are not distributed in China, they have no knowledge of what the finished product looks like.

    • ananunez3 says:

      I agree with you, these ideas that we get about brands and objects that are to be valuable to us in the future are shown to us since we are born. Mainly what we see that grows with us and into us in television shows, cartoons, but mainly commercials. We see logos and start to familiarize with them and eventually see people wearing them and then want to use them ourselves. People home schooled most definitely I believe have a less fetishized idea towards things.

      • ajgutz84 says:

        I agree with both of the above comments. Cam, thanks for sharing the info on “Killing Us Softly.” I haven’t watched that film yet. I really liked “Capitalism: A Love Story” because of the way Michael Moore presents his facts- on a very personal level. Film has a lot of power and just like it is used to perpetuate fetishized materialistic realities and ideal body images, it can be used to fight back and present alternate realities and alternate forms of beauty. I also have to agree that the public education system plays an important role in the construction of fetishized images. Self reflection is really important in assessing our decisions as to how we choose to present ourselves. I’ve attended public schools my entire life and well there is nobody telling you what to wear and what not to wear, but social life is affected by the brands one chooses to wear. I always told myself, “I’m here to learn, social status is not my priority.” But I started working at the age of 15 because my mother and father could not afford to provide me with certain luxuries, such as lunch money. First thing I did with my paycheck was buy me a cell phone, a pair Tommy Hilfiger Jeans, and a cordless phone for my parents. I was a sophomore in high school. I feel that my fetishized image of the Hilfiger Jeans came from the fact that this was the first time I was attending a school with European American students. Because of the public education system in my city is really weird, students have to be bussed to another city called Belmont, which is 9.5 miles away. But what is even weirder is that there are other public high schools that are closer to East Palo Alto, schools in Palo Alto, CA, Atherton, CA, but we are not allowed to attend them. Why? I’m not sure but I always figured that it had something to do with “separate but equal.”

  21. jane go says:

    I think that one simple strategy to avoid manipulation is to think about how you felt before you were exposed to some form of advertising. For example, over the weekend I was watching TV and a Cheetos commercial came on. Afterwards, I felt hungry for some Cheetos. Then I started thinking about how sudden the desire for the snacks influenced me. I certainly was not thinking about Cheetos before the commercial came on; I do not even remember being hungry at all before then. I asked myself, “Did I really want Cheetos before this commercial?” No. My strategy may seem a little flimsy in “combating” corporate interests, but the real driving force of it is me, the individual who makes the choice of whether or not to but the product. I didn’t buy Cheetos that night after watching the commercial because I truly did not feel like I wanted/needed them. I guess that it is a little freaky to think about how much influence advertising can have on people, but unless the corporations out there are using some sort of advanced brainwashing technology in their commercials and products in order to get us to buy more stuff (comparable to the movie Josie and the Pussycats), then we can safely rely on our innate interests to choose which products to buy. Whenever I shop at a store and am surrounded by big, flashy sales signs, I choose whether or not to buy something based on this question: Would I rather have this [product] or the amount of money that it takes to buy it? I can either walk out of the store with the product that I may or may not use, or I can keep the money I had originally. It’s really mostly a matter of opportunity cost. I don’t think that there should be anything wrong or scary about being confronted with advertisements; I think that we just have to be smart about making decisions that will benefit ourselves.

  22. First of all, I think that keeping yourself informed is a good way to accomplish anything. Knowledge is power and therefore understanding that you are fetishizing an object or person is key to contributing in fixing the problem. We live in a country where material goods are fetichized without a second thought. Corporate companies have managed to incorporate that “appereacnce” is everything. Before Tuesday’s lecture I had no idea what fetishizing really ment. Now I realize that it is a sort of obsession with the willingness to do anything, including harm someone or something, for that fetished object or person. In order to defend ourselves against this manipulation pushed forth by the image-system, I believe that the first thing is to acknowledge that you are fetishizing an object or person. Once you acknowledge it’s a problem, then you can begin to fix it. I think that one important strategy to demystify the images is personal growth. Self confidence, self belief, and support from friends and family can play a major role against this battle against the image-system. For example if you are work too much in order to buy “brand” clothing and accessories, you are hurting yourself by possibly depriving yourself from sleep, or even from socializing. Simply because the society we live in today tells you, you look better in a $1,200 Louis Vuitton purse or a even an $80 sweatshirt from Hollister that cost about $5 to make. In reality material goods are not going to make any person more beautiful. Beauty comes from within and overall, a person’s character is what ultimately makes a person more or less attractive.

  23. cschoe says:

    I believe each and everyone of us have the innate, inevitable desire to satisfy our material needs. Corporate and mainstream advertisement companies use commercials as a manipulating tool to employ ideas into the consumer’s subconscious mind. Subliminal messages are formed in order to make us believe that we absolutely need that material object. The object is somewhat fabricated into an appetite that needs to be satisfied. I completely agree with kgjo7 when we research the products that we fetish over, we think twice about purchasing it. There are plenty of plausible methods where we can abstain from the manipulation. For instance, our obsession with candy and chocolates satisfy our hunger but our depression as well. Many people undergoing depression or other psychological symptoms seek chocolate as a way to avoid dealing with such problems. But chocolates and sweets are only temporary, when we know the consequences that follow such temptations. So, we really need to think twice and look beyond what is shown before our eyes, and realize that it can sooner or later harm us.

    -Chloe Choe

  24. ananunez3 says:

    I believe that it is very hard for some people to combat fetishizing because it is a part of what they aspire because of society. It may be because one wants to belong to a group and in order to do so must have certain brands of clothing even if they cost more than what it really took to produce them. A way to decrease this I believe could be to not necessarily desire certain items to such an extent that one will cause harm to oneself or others. Maybe instead of killing for certain clothing or making line days before for an item one could find different places to find the items. For example online browsing for cheaper items or simply using the thrifty stores that may have expensive brand objects. Clothing for example are sold sometimes a pair of jeans for over 400 dollars which is a ridiculous price to pay. In a thrifty store one can luckily find the same brand jeans for 30 an significantly lower price. This way one can still get what they really fetishize but for a lower less dramatic cost.

    • dluoo says:

      I agree with your tactic to combat fetishizing items. The idea to buy online helps lower the outcome of people in stores, causing, possibly, a degree less of violence and chaos. However, not everyone can go on the net so it’s a nice idea that you brought up the idea to go “thrift”. The problem with brand names is that because they are copyighted, they sell, regardless of other factors. But it’s nice to know that even though they sell for lower prices SOMEWHERE (showing the gradual monetary degradation of products), they still have “value”. I don’t think having a fetish always means something bad, but often I think it’s the drive behind the fetish (societal pressures, insecurities) that makes it much worse than it really can be.

  25. elaaaineee says:

    I think in order to defend ourselves against being manipulated and controlled by the image-system, we need to be informed and be willing to question everything.

    Where is this product from? Who made this product? What use would I have for this product? Why do I want this product? Would I actually use this product? Why is this celebrity endorsing the product? Do I really want this product because I need it or because this celebrity is endorsing it? etc.

    Finally, ask yourself if you still really want to buy this product after everything you learned about it.

    • Audrey says:

      I have to agree. I think knowing how the product was created and the background of it all could greatly influence whether or not you’re still willing to buy it. For instance, Tyson Foods might be creative enough to create fun/cute dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets targeted towards kids, but once you know how inhumanely Tyson treats their chicken, it might detour you from buying their products.

  26. Kayla Wigley says:

    I find it important to think twice about the item before purchasing. By twice, I mean enough times to make sure that it is something you absolutely need. I find myself putting items back on the shelves rather than ending up as a funny smell in my refrigerator weeks later. Something may look good in the hands of a hundred others, but I often remind myself that I am not them, nor are they me. The object that has caught my eye may not be something for me, and it is my responsibility to think twice and refrain from purchasing something that isn’t necessary.

    I believe in a slight involvement of outside opinion when thinking twice about an object. Talking over your emotions toward something definitely allows for one to realize the pros and cons of their actions. The opinion of others can bring one to reality, but it can also be a dangerous push in the wrong direction. This is another responsibility for one to always be aware of. Obsession over an object, evidently, needs to be defeated or maintained by the individual.

  27. gayathriwms says:

    It is estimated that a person may see over 5000 ads per day. This indicates the number of times a person can be influenced and pulled in by the media. Media has somehow formulated the majority of the way people view things and live in ‘style’. In addition, the media’s main target especially revolves around teenagers. Teens are easily influenced by the media since they are constantly on the lookout for current trends and being ‘cool’. Thankfully there are various organizations and communities that have addressed this problem and issues such as these have been brought to the public eye. One such information is the way Photoshop is used to alter the bodies/makeup of models. The dove evolution made videos showing the truth behind models and how a normal woman can be transformed into this unattainable form. Thus, being educated and becoming aware is the crucial point here. In order for us to stop obsessing over objects, we must come out of our shell and reach out to such communities/organizations and become educated. Apart from being educated of the truth behind the works done on an object, we must also learn about the value of the object. Is it really worth it to feticize over such an object? Could I spend my time in a better way? Will this object affect my normal day-to-day life? Questions such as these must be definitely asked before purchasing anything. Media greatly influences us into buying such objects, but we must always keep in mind that their goal is to market. We must realize the reality and consider the true value of the object. Is it really worth the time and the effort?

    • daniellelong90 says:

      I really like the dove evolution campaign and am pretty sure I know which ad you are talking about; the one where the girl is photoshopped into almost a different person. However, have you seen this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei6JvK0W60I

      I feel this video does a good job portraying our society’s fetishized idea with beauty as well.

  28. dluoo says:

    There are too many people today who aren’t able to control their urges, particularly their overwhelming obsession to feed their fetishizing hearts away. What can be just a healthy little desire over an item can take a turn for the worst when we make the item own us rather than us owning the item. To combat advertisements or even to fight off fetishizing urges that can be troublesome, we all need a bit of common sense, literally. I’m not trying to be funny, but I think common sense is what a lot of people lack when they buy excessively and allow themselves to fall into their fetishizing tendencies (a little too much, might I add). If we’d all just stop and take the time to realize what’s really going on (whether we’re being manipulated, what’s the purpose of the ads, is it all realistic?), then we can combat the facade of those alluring diamonds or latest trendy pants. Like what others have posted before me, we all need to ask ourselves a series of questions to whether or not that particular item is needed in our lives (at this moment or even later) and if it’s worth as much as the trouble to get it? Fetishizing shouldn’t be such a bad thing because we all have our little obsessions, but when our fetish begins to own us rather than us owning it, that’s when common sense flies out the window.

    • Christina says:

      I completely agree with using something as simple as common sense. I was talking to my friend the other day about jeans that we buy, and he told me he spent $400 on a pair. My jaw dropped and I couldn’t even fathom what possessed him to do something like that. The only word that could escape my mouth was “WHY?” to which he replied that he likes the way they feel and look. I also like the way my jeans feel and look and I only paid $30 dollars for them. His other argument was that he didn’t have to wash this pair, and that they last forever meaning he doesn’t have to buy as many jeans. I only own about 5 pairs of jeans, each with a price around $30 bringing me to a grand total of $150. Not only do I have 5 different styles to wear with different outfits, I also saved $250 that he didn’t, and he only has one pair to wear. This definitely does not seem in the least bit logical to me, and I think it’s safe to say common sense was missing in his purchasing decision.

  29. daniellelong90 says:

    The way material objects are fetishized has determined how our society is seen in the eyes of the world. For example, designer clothes, expensive cars, fancy jewelry, and pricy technologically advanced electronics are all materialistic items our culture is currently obsessed with, therefore fetishizing them. Unfortunately, it is this fetishizing that portrays our society as stereotypically snobby and materialistic, even if it is not the case. I went this summer to Central America for an internship and while I do not consider myself a materialistic person, I was put into the category of “snobby American.” The local people found out I was from the United States, specifically California and they started asking me about reality tv shows and Hollywood, assuming I fit into the stereotype of most Americans. It’s no wonder we are perceived across the world as rude; we concentrate so much on material objects that it consumes us as individuals.

    The best thing to do to break the trend of fetishizing objects is to take a step back and ask ourselves, “What does this mean to me? What are its practical implications? Why exactly is it I’m interested in it in the first place?”

  30. ajgutz84 says:

    I think that commuications technologies are becoming more and more essential in the battle against fetishized images and symbols. Technologies such as blogs, Youtube, Facebook are becoming important in the spreading of information by word of mouth. Although these very same technologies are also used to perpetuate consumerism and materialism, they provide an excellent way for exchanging thoughts and ideas. I’m currently trying to share all of my learned knowledge with my family, but its not as easy as I thought. I’m facing a lot of rejection because they think i’m a conspiracy theorist. There is a lot of work to be done- but I think a lot of people are waking up from this materialistic slavery.

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