Consumerism and the Wandering Eye

This semester is my final semester as an undergraduate student! Yay and ahhh! It being my last semester and me being the person I am to take as many classes as possible in every prior semester, I was left with some space in my schedule to take classes that interested me, but I never had time for.

Two of my courses this semester that are so different, yet so similar are, Eating American Literature and Psychology of Women. I know, I know. You, just like myself at the beginning of the year think that there is no way these two things have anything to do with each other. Well we were both completely wrong.

I took Eating American Lit as my last ever elective (well technically I ended up building it into my program). Me in an English class was already something I couldn’t imagine in a million years. Then I was taking Psychology of Women as my last Women’s Studies course for the minor (that I ended up not having). Both so vastly different topics. In Lit we read books and discuss the meanings behind different words. We uncovered the food industry and developed an appreciation for farmers. And Women’s Psych, though interesting, is a typical lecture course. We are learning about so many injustices that women have faced over the last… well actually always.

It wasn’t until right before Spring Break that we really started digging deep into consumerism in the food industry. While reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbra Kingsolver, we read about marketing and food labels. This was also covered  in Micheal Pollen’s book, Omnivores DilemmaAll of the work and time and effort that goes into just the wrappings of a food item are unreal. There are hundreds of people who’s jobs are to tap into the agrarian nostalgia, which basically is the concept that everyone has some sort of need to be connected to their food and where it comes from. People buy things if it makes them feel something. They buy them because they have some big open fields with cows in them and they think that means the cows that made their milk had a great life full of wide open spaces. Thats not the case.

But how does that connect to Psych of Women? Well while learning about relationships and attraction, we compared the psychology or what runs through a woman’s mind when dating verses a man’s. There was so much covered in these chapters; sex drive, attraction, dating and relationships are much more psychological than I once believed.

Dating and marriage are almost like consumerism. This is a larger stretch than saying that consumerism is all psychology, but what kind of IDS student would I be if I didn’t think outside of the box.

Photo by Micheal Stern

Picture this: you are at the store looking to buy some hamburger meat. You see all of the tightly wrapped portions that are perfectly weighed. But you are looking for some good quality meat to bring to your first BBQ of the summer. When one label catches your eye. Is it the green font, or the big lettering that says FDA certified Organic, that has you reaching for the patties?

The same can almost be said about dating. Now picture this: you are single and ready to mingle at the hot new bar in town. You have just gotten out of a long term

Photo by Byronv2

relationship and you are looking to meet new people and hopefully find a

meaningful connection. As your eyes wander the dimly lit bar you filter through the crowd of lovely ladies. When all of a sudden your eyes stop on a brunette with a sleek blue top on and a smile as bright as the moon. You find yourself standing up and walking her way.

So what is the difference?

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2 thoughts on “Consumerism and the Wandering Eye

  1. I am sure there is an awesome IDS paper in here somewhere– studying apps like Tinder and such and comparing them with apps for shopping for products, or comparing marketing techniques in online dating profiles with packaging for supermarket foods… Actually, this paper probably already exists somewhere! Now we just need to find it! 🙂

  2. The connections you make in this post are so far from ordinary but so relatable that the same time. We all go for what catches our eyes in the beginning. Whether it be with food or a potential mate. It goes along with the clique saying of “treating a woman like a piece of meat”.

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