Glamor And Contemporary Culture


There are many adjectives used to describe Generation-Y. We are often called lazy, self-absorbed and are accused of having the attention span of mosquitoes. However, one phenomenon that is generally overlooked is our generation’s obsession with wealth and fame.

Unlike our parents, Generation-Y never experienced any conscripted wars or economic depressions. Yes we have experienced “recessions” and threats of fiscal cliffs collapsing, but overall we all grew up in abundance and we have access to a lot more things than our ancestors.

Our social circumstances have made us a generation that is extremely preoccupied with glamor, status and celebrity. Everything from the way we dress, to the way we socialize and even the way we are portrayed on television revolves around elitism, jet-setting and luxury goods. There are currently more high-end brands on the market than there are mainstream ones.

There are brands that sell handbags that cost more than the average monthly rent, and yet have waitlists. This means that these products are not only available, but people are willing to pay for them. We have also witnessed how regular everyday products such as sneakers and t-shirts -- given that they have and expensive logo -- have become luxury items that can cost us the same amount as an evening gown.

Luxury has infiltrated itself so much into our rhetoric, that 90s sitcoms have become outdated, since our generation only wants to see TV-shows about people who live extraordinary experiences. This is why shows like Gossip Girl and Downton Abbey, who have the two most expensive wardrobes on any television series, are so successful.

They portray a certain lifestyle to which we mere mortals will never have access. This phenomenon has also contributed to the success of “it-girls” such as Olivia Palermo and Alexia Chung, who are not famous for their careers but for living a lifestyle to which we can only aspire.

We admire glamorous lifestyles so much that people like Paris Hilton and the Kardashian’s have become the new celebrities, doing nothing in particular, other than sporting their last names. The worst part is that we choose to ignore the fact that their fortunes come from parents and grandparents who worked really hard and probably had humble beginnings.

Our generation gives high-end clothing brands and the status achieved through them such importance that some brands have seen themselves forced to magnify their logos in order to increase their sales. Our preoccupation with luxury experiences is what has made websites like Gilt and RueLaLa, who offer these experiences at discounted prices, so successful.

Generation-Y is always looking for front-row access, even if we don’t necessarily have the economic means to do so. It’s hard to think of a way to overcome this phenomenon that has struck our generation, since we want the best of everything, yet we don’t know how to work for it.

Social media only heightens our sense of self-importance. Instagram and Facebook have served to create a carefully curated gallery of our fabulous lives. We live in a constant competition of who lives the most over-the-top experiences, and who is most “liked for it.”

Adriana Herdan | Elite.