Bullying and Materialism

Materialism in school could quite possibly be the number one cause for teen suicide in America. Think about it. Why are thousands of people, some as young as seven, bullied in school? Easy; materialism. Materialism is, according to the Merriam- Webster dictionary, a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter.

And something needs to be done. L. Robert Kohls once said, “But by any standard, Americans are materialistic. This means that they value and collect more material objects than most people would ever dream of owning. It also means they give higher priority to obtaining, maintaining and protecting their material objects than they do in developing and enjoying interpersonal relationships.” I strongly agree with this statement because the girls at my high school are a perfect example of it.

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They are obsessed with designer this and couture that. If it is branded and is over $200, they have to have it. But there are a good portion of girls in my school that can barely afford dinner at night. And it’s not only girls. Boys are more bullied than girls are, or are bullies more than girls are, and the sexuality of a girl or boy makes a huge impact on whether they will get bullied or not. Those people are the targets for bullying.

Robin Roberts, a television anchor, recently sat down with actress/singer/songwriter Demi Lovato, whom was bullied in school, and went to a treatment facility for an eating disorder, depression, and cutting. Where did all of her frustrations come from? Bullying. When interviewed, she stated that sometimes her emotions were so built up, that she didn’t know what to do with herself. And the only way she could get instant gratification, was through an immediate release on herself. She also said that she was constantly manic, and that she wouldn’t feel anything because she would push her feelings to the side. Demi was clearly in the wrong state of mind, and today she is doing much better.

The root of her problems were bullies. She was bullied as early as seven years old by her ex-best friends, the popular girls. They would call her fat. She had no friends, so she thought that if she got skinny, she could gain friends. She soon became anorexic, eating only two meals a week, fasting, and taking laxatives.

When her body adjusted to that, she became bulimic. At her worst, she was throwing up five times a day, and she would throw up so hard so much, that she remembers seeing just blood in the toilet. Reading about that made me so sad. How could people be so hurtful? Does it make them feel better about themselves to prey on weaker human beings? Does it give them satisfaction? Most importantly, why? Why did they bully her? To this day, Demi doesn’t have an answer as to why those girls bullied her. I believe that people bully others because they are jealous, because they feel threatened, or because they are truly the weak ones and are struggling with problems of their own. People don’t just wake up in the morning and say ‘I’m going to harass, torture, humiliate, bully, and ruin some random person’s life today just because I feel like it’.

There has to be a deeper root to the problem. And that root is materialism. People have become so obsessed with brands, especially Americans. In hip hop artist Nicki Minaj’s song ‘Muny’, a line says “material world for material girls”, and I feel like that line pretty much says it all. We live in a world where, mainly girls, need Coach this and Prada that. And it’s disgusting.

I’m sad to say that I used to be one of those girls. I didn’t care about people in Africa that are starving because they can’t afford food. I only cared about my brand new 2011 Chevy Cruze that my parents bought for me on my 16th birthday, and the $400 Kate Spade purse that I had to have just because it was Kate Spade. The bag isn’t even one of my favorites; I simply wanted it because it was an expensive branded designer. The next time I see a Kate Spade purse that’s overly priced, I’m going to remember writing this essay and walk away from it because I could use the money from the purse to give to the local soup kitchen.

That way, I know the money will be going towards good use. After researching this topic, I’ve learned that there’s more to life than Jimmy Choo shoes and Chanel handbags. I’ve also learned that not everything in life is about material goods. In fact, starting this year, every Christmas I’m going to be donating toys and clothing to a children’s hospital. I’ve wanted to do it for many years, but I’ve always found something else I wanted because I was so greedy and selfish.

In reality, I have to be thankful for everything I have. Bullying and materialism in America especially have been spreading like wildfire, and if something isn’t done to stop it, than what will America’s future hold? Nothing.