Social Bullying is Big Business

The corporate use of bully marketing has increased considerably in over the years. Shaming consumers as one way to convince them that they need certain products. As we compare our possessions with one another we tend to develop a need to belong to a certain material status and perhaps keep ahead to be really cool and admired. In competing this way with one another we travel down an unnatural path.

Bullying is an intimidating, harmful mental or physical act directed at an individual and rooted in meanness. Milder, widespread bullying is often associated with consumerism, both by individuals in a social group and by corporate marketers greedily playing on social fears to create false desires - for their goods.

We are constantly bombarded with persuasions to improve our lives artificially by acquiring more things. We must have newer, bigger, better cars, the latest branded styles, gadgets, higher end homes and furniture and we should look beautiful too. Acquire these things or we might feel inferior.

A promotional technique used by corporations seeking higher profits is to make people feel inadequate if they do not own a certain product, because the smart good looking people have it. The marketing can be crafty and cunning often convincing us that life will not be OK, unless we gain the acceptance or admiration of others. An individual captured by this type of marketing might feel inadequate and even humiliated unless possessing these 'necessities'. And it can be very difficult to resist if peers have already given in to the pressure.

The result of all this can be a strong underlying urge to compete and raise one's standing at the office, school or neighborhood. This can be harmful or even devastating to those who will not or cannot keep up. Youths can be very stressed in these situations as they worry about socializing and their future. Various forms of bullying can result in sad personal consequences including social anxieties or worse.

Advertisers Strike it Rich Targeting Kids
"Advertisers now spend more than $230 billion a year, or $2,190 per household, according to advertising giant McCann-Erickson, and there is little question that much of that advertising is designed to effectively target kids. Kids 12-19 spent a record $155 billion of their own money in 2001, up from $63 billion just four years earlier. And according to kids marketing expert James McNeal, children aged 12 and under influenced more than $500 billion of their parents' purchases in 2000."
More with tips for parents from the New American Dream.

Steve Kravit and Jacqueline express concerns in a Scribd paper
Shaping Society with a Lack of Shape: Media Representation and Body Image
"We are each exposed to over 2000 ads a day, constituting perhaps one of the most indirectly powerful educational forces in society relating to our self body image. It can be seen that advertisements ultimately sell a great deal more than products; they sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth
. . .
They in a sense tell us who we are and who we should strive to be. Men and women, teens, boys and girls—all segments of society tie identity to the way people look, to body size and shape, to clothes and even one’s hairstyle.

Therefore, the way we view our body and image can have a tremendous impact on the way we feel about ourselves. For most people, especially adolescents, body image is strongly influenced by mass media and advertising.
Read more on Media Representation and Body Image . . .

Further reading on this topic is the book Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture. It gives an impassioned, darkly amusing look at how corporations misuse copyright and trademark law to stifle creativity and free speech. More info and resources.

Life should not be about the phony materialistic images shoved in our faces. Satisfaction about who we are, about friends, families and the natural world around us is what we need to embrace.

Styles promote a competitive environment but friendship grows easier in a noncompetitive environment.

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