Consumerism: the Clique Series and Branded Products
Each individual has his or her own ideas about many things, and there is no exception on the perception of a better life - Consumerism: the Clique Series and Branded Products introduction. Perception of a better life is not just about having a luxurious house or expensive car. Someone can be categorized as a successful person if he or she does not just have many expensive things, but also has good social status in society. To stand out and become well known in the public is certainly not an easy thing to achieve. Someone must have the courage to sacrifice what he or she has in order to get ‘recognition’ in the society.
The desire to stand out and become well known can be found in many countries, including an advanced country like America. Americans realize that they live in super power country. Therefore, they begin to raise their prestige in their daily lives. Maintaining the image as a country that has a high prestige is more difficult than to get the image. One way for people who live in America to maintain that image is to look ‘different’ and attractive. Keeping fit-looking appearance that reflects someone’s personality is essential to maintain the prestige.
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An expensive and attractive appearance is very important because it is an outside representation for someone, to show to other people that he or she is a person who has a good wealth, even though perhaps, it is not. When appearance becomes a main thing for someone to declare their existence, many people are competing to look attractive and different from others. Expensive looking is one of many features to get an attractive appearance. Many people consider an expensive appearance by wearing expensive branded products.
The epidemic of using branded products in order to get good representation does not only happen to the adults in America, but also the teenagers in America. Because teenagers tend to imitate what they see and still do not have stable thought about what it means to look attractive. Teenagers have unstable emotions and take for granted the things that their parents do every day. The center of a teenagers’ thought lies in what they call as freedom. A teenager thinks that adolescence is a critical period, in that way, they should be able to express themselves through fashion.
The more interesting, different, and expensive their appearance, the more they can be accepted by their surroundings. Acceptable in new circles is one thing, but trying to be accepted by a circle in a ‘wrong’ way is a story in itself. The Clique is a novel that offers its readers about daily life of teenagers in America. The writer is interested to scrutinize The Clique because the novel shows the reality of teenagers that happen until today. In fact, it is not only the teenagers who experience the things that happened in the novel, even adults feel the same.
The Clique is something people commonly called as teenlit. Teenlit is never considered as a serious and heavy reading. Most people consider teenlit only as a light reading, just to entertain and kill time. Not many academic writing has been done using teenlit as their main source. That is why the writer interested in analyzing this novel, beside of its content that is quite easy to understand. First published in 2004, The Clique is basically talking about four teenagers who have been friends for a long time.
Four of them came from a very wealthy family and lived in a big city named Westchester in New York. In addition, as someone who comes from a rich family and lives in big cities, expensive-looking and interesting appearance is definitely needed. Like most people, they represent the appearance by wearing expensive branded products. Someone’s value as a person seems to be deemed almost exclusively on how much they have, what they wear based on the whole appearance, not nearly as much on the quality of the person someone is.
The group is known as ‘Pretty Committee’ consisting of Massie Block, Dylan Marvil, Alicia Rivera, and Kristen Gregory, they are the most popular girls in one of the most prestigious private school, Octavian Country Day (OCD). Each character in ’Pretty Committee’ has its own unique story that is interesting to be discussed. The writer will try to look deeper on the members of Pretty Committee’s characterization based on their action and speech in the novel The Clique.
The dependence of ‘pretty committee’ members on the usage of branded products are also very interesting to be discussed, because it is a main issue for many people who already stuck with thoughts about the use of branded products. The author of The Clique is Lisi Harrison. One good reason why the author started writing this novel is that she saw many similar problems experienced by people who show off in rallying to get respect from the surrounding. Based on the interview with Lisi Harrison in Teenreads. om, she said that the book was written for 9-12 year old children, but people of all ages seem to be getting something out of it. This is because she thinks that ‘cliques’, ‘bullying’ and the need to ‘fit in’ happen at every age, even adults feel it. Lisi Harrison eventually represented the problem in a book she wrote using teenagers as her ‘medium’. The language used by the author is also very easy to understand that makes it easy for readers to understand the actual contents of the novel. The symbols in this novel are also important in enriching this novel.
The symbols of a great life among society, an invisible and open war on breaking down a good established idea of richness, and also consumerism in daily life are fully represented by the author. Following its success, a Hollywood producer agreed to bring the novel into the big screen only a few years after it was published. The writer will apply the theory of consumerism to scrutinize more about The Clique novel. Consumerism is also necessary to discuss further and raise the issues inside the novel. Consumerism became a center of any study in the twentieth century.
Several issues such as consuming lifestyle, and brand-minded will be discussed to find out more about the reflection and description of the characters in the novel with the real lives of teenagers in America. However, the writer will focus on the characterization of the novel to narrow the discussion. The writer will look deeper into the characterization on the members of ‘Pretty Committee’, and try to analyze the personality and their habits that could be a clue to analyze their lifestyle based on consumerism.
Surrounding environment that may also influence the character’s personality will also not be separated from the writer’s analysis. However, the focus is very necessary for the writing of this thesis. The issues that will be raised are the issue of consuming lifestyle and brand-minded that has been spread among the American public, in this case, the writer will focus on teenagers, since lifestyle offers a distraction, as Bill Osgerby means, from the “challenges and dangers of day-to-day living”. 143) The writer will try to look further in the characters’ lifestyle as their distraction on their daily life. Lifestyles and the issue about the use of branded products by the teenagers in America are also important to be analyzed because brand-minded and lifestyle has a very strong relationship with consuming and existence itself. The issues of the brand-minded and consuming lifestyle are interesting subjects of discussion because both issues have become a global issue. There are so many agreements and disagreements in the development of consuming lifestyle itself.
Because basically everyone is a consumer, but some people think that consumer attitudes are necessary in order to maintain a quality appearance and image like the characters in The Clique. The desire to be the center of attention is also one of the many factors why the concept of luxurious lifestyle and the use of branded products are badly needed. To support the lavish lifestyles and use of branded products, more consumption is certainly needed. That is why the writer will try to look deeper in these issues because they are strongly interrelated with each other and already become a global issue.