Hauls are a great source to discover new clothing brands to try or even unique gift ideas. Some influencers specialize in hauls, buying or receiving packages each week, making hauls a popular area on YouTube and now TikTok.
However, if you break it down, these hauls promote a more harmful phenomenon: overconsumption. Purchasing items each week and telling followers, “You need this top in every color,” isn’t exactly the most economically-friendly nor environmentally-friendly content to be consuming.
Materialism and Overconsumption in the 21st Century
According to its official definition in the Oxford dictionary, materialism is “a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.” Materialism is an idea we might not associate with ourselves unless we take a step back and deeply analyze our society, specifically the media.
Companies like Amazon, Target, Walmart and more have created a world where anything you could imagine can appear on your doorstep in a matter of hours –– and be relatively inexpensive. We consume, consume, consume, by no fault but how our society has shifted to making material items important to one’s happiness.
There are plenty of studies that analyze America’s issue with materialism and its direct correlation with overconsumption, social issues, financial problems and more. In this article by Psychology Today, Dr. Ryan T. Howell discusses how materialism in America could result from feelings of inferiority or “relative deprivation.” Relative deprivation, in this sense, means that we see people with better or more things than we have, creating the desire to have more. We see relative deprivation in our media and how we consistently consume content that leaves us wanting more.
Not only can materialism lead to feelings of depression, unfulfillment and sadness, but it can also lead to problems with money management and impulsive spending. Detecting what materialistic media looks like, which makes us feel jealous or unfulfilled, is a key first step in fighting against a materialistic lifestyle.
Materialism in the Media
Darcy McQueeny, a TikTok figure with 790.8K followers, regularly posts hauls on her account. These hauls include Lululemon hauls with 10+ packages per week and $1,000 Amazon hauls. While McQueeny most likely receives unsolicited PR from companies, she discloses that most of her purchases are made with her own money.
She spends thousands of dollars on clothes, makeup and hair products, and she showcases those purchases to her large following. Promoting a product or two isn’t bad –– seeing as TikTok is filled with content advertising certain brands and products –– but the frequency and volume of which McQueeny buys and shows her followers begin to develop a sense of need for overconsumption.
Most likely, McQueeny doesn’t intentionally post her hauls to make viewers feed into the overconsumption resulting from materialism, but it does. McQueeny isn’t the only media personality contributing to this phenomenon, but it’s been going on for a while.
Makeup hauls, “What I Got For Christmas” videos and Black Friday Hauls are all ways we constantly feed the need for more stuff. Olivia Jade, a famous YouTuber and daughter of “Full House” star Lori Loughlin, was called out plenty of times for her “(LUXURY) What I Got For Christmas” videos, where she displays thousands of dollars worth of holiday gifts. This is exactly the kind of content that sends the message that to feel happy or look great, you need to have all this stuff –– which is absolutely false.
Filtering Out Materialism
So, if you are someone who finds themselves wishing they had the resources to buy more clothes or more expensive brands, it’s not your fault. It’s hard to resist falling into the trap of overconsumption when all day long, you are fed content that promotes buying and spending. A simple way to reduce those feelings is to unfollow certain people who only post about material items.
Instead, you can try to follow content creators that post about spirituality, food, fitness, academics, life advice, etc. Here are some creators that tend to air on the side of filling your soul instead of your shopping cart.
For Life and Career Advice: Timm Chiusano (@timmchiusano on TikTok)
Chiusano, an executive at a Fortune 500 company, tells his followers in a beautifully cinematic way that life is so much more than what you make or what you have.
For Hygge 101: Cecilia Blomdahl (@sejsejlija on TikTok)
Coming to you from Svalbard, an island close to the North Pole, Blomdahl is your one-stop-shop for everything informative (and cozy) when it comes to living in a place that is dark most of the year. Her vibe is about the small things in life … and her adorable dog, Grim.
For Those Needing Relationship Guidance: Jeff Guenther (@therapyjeff on TikTok)
Thankfully, some therapists and wise people take their talents and share them for free on TikTok. Guenther is one of them. His insightful advice and tips on maintaining healthy relationships are a great swap for mind-numbing materialistic media.
What are your opinion on hauls/materialistic media? Let us know by tweeting us @VALLEYmag!