VANITY SLAVE: A Dames truth to our vanity

“The high school female need earrings and details so she can be cool to be amongst popularity. The various name brands that reach the price scan that’s not about the right price, but more like the right scam to rule us all, confuse us all…”  ~ Kendrick Lamar Vanity Slave  

Our generation has lived through the greatest recession the United Stated has seen since the Great Depression. But through this Americans seemed to not curb their spending habits much at all in light of the economic struggle. Saving accounts dwindled and people were losing their homes, but the need and want for materialistic didn’t change. In fact, for some, it even seemed to get worse because they didn’t want anyone to think “they were affected” when it truly touched us all. So the question is why is it so important to make sure everyone else sees that we have the best? This is what makes us vanity slaves. It is our state of mind. When we are overspending even though our bank accounts are empty, this mean we are vanity slaves. We need to have to best brands and latest styles so that everyone assumes we have money, even though we don’t. Who cares what people think?! Why is it so important to us to be seen as “having money”? It’s because we are vanity slaves….

It's not just Black Americans:
The term was coined by American rapper Kendrick Lamar in a popular song Vanity Slave. Other people say that being flashy is a predominately Black American issue. The song indicates that due to slavery and years of not having and trying to be accepted has now forced us to overcompensate with material things. While this may be very true, this lust for material things does not only affect one race. It affects our entire generation. Women (and men) of all back rounds will by knock-off designer items to give the illusion they can afford the real thing, even when they can’t.

When I was in high school I watched a very popular girl have a total melt down because she got her mom’s used Mercedes Benz for her 16th birthday, instead of the new one that she had asked for. But her other friends received brand new high end cars. She was Caucasian, but needed to show everyone she had money. The want and need for material things starts when we are in school and doesn't ever really stop. It is that keeping up with the Jones's mentality that Americans have. In the big picture of life and happiness we all need to look further into ourselves and realize that we are not the brand names we wear. 

Credit and smart spending:
As you get older, hopefully we realize what is more important than material things. It is a credit and our money. Credit in America is vital to having a healthy and successful adult life. You can't even rent in the apartment unless you have good credit. When all your money goes to materialistic things, and nothing is saved, put away, or used to pay off current debt, you become a vanity slave and jeopardize your well-being. Remember all the celebrities you see wearing the most expensive jewelry, new clothes, purses and handbags, get it all for FREE! They aren't living paycheck to paycheck, stressing themselves over what they can and can't afford. Use your money wisely, buy what you need, pay current debt and with the left over, then consider getting the things you want. 

Don't follow, lead:
If you have a leader mentality, at any age, you will know that you are better than anything you own, wear or drive. We buy things because we want to follow the trends that are constantly being thrown in our faces wherever we turn. Fashion is always going to be of high importance in any culture and society, but when it starts costing us a healthy lifestyle then that's when we can become vanity slaves. Be your own person. Everyone wants to look nice and feel great but expensive items aren't the only way. Make your own style and be a leader of what you think is right, not what magazines tell you is the in style thing. 

Everywhere we look brand names are being thrown into our faces. Celebrities with the latest handbags or newest pair of gym shoes are all over the TV and magazines. We are trained from a very early age to want things that aren't geared towards the everyday person. Someone making $45,000 a year isn't the target audience for a $2,500 Louis Vuitton purse. But that is the person that may forgo paying their rent to get it just so they can be seen with it. It has even gone as far as being able to rent out expensive purses for weekends or special events. This in and of itself goes to show that people of our generation more concerned with what they have on their arm then the apartments they go home to at night. 

Our generation can't afford to be vanity slaves. With our economic future so up in the air, we need to focus on what is important to our well-being. We need to focus on our needs and not our wants. 

By: Megan Nikole
Just a Dame in the Life

DON'T MISS my live podcast with Shon Hyneman on VANITY SLAVES


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