Branded

A friend ministering in the wealthy community of Laguna Beach recently posted on her blog about how the perspective of her kids will be shaped by the affluence around her. One thing I appreciate about Patty’s blog is her honesty and willingness to ask tough questions about what it means to live in the land of the highly-resourced, especially considering their proximity to so much need.

normal is my problem. i’m not concerned about my kids being spoiled. we make plenty of money to be comfortable, but mia will never have chanel sunglasses or a coach purse while she is in junior high or high school…o, i’m not worried about my kids being spoiled, because it won’t be an option in our house, even if we wanted to. but, i am concerned that my kids will always feel poor because we aren’t millionaires. normal to them, will be the new car, juicy couture clothes, designer makeup, etc. because it’s what all of their friends will have.

As I read her post, I marveled at how mainstream luxury has become. Coach? Chanel? In junior high? You’ve got to be kidding me.

I remember having a similar reaction to hearing the litany of spa treatments that are now the norm for young teens or hearing of high school kids sporting Tiffany’s jewelry. At church.

Then last night I was reading through this week’s Newsweek when I spotted an article titled: “Branding for Beginners.” The short piece examines the prevalence of brand name-dropping in books targeting teen girls. The author writes:

“Chanel Vamp lip gloss, Jimmy Choo heels, Gauloises cigarettes, Absolut Vodka: they’re the kind of brand-name products you’d expect to find in a glossy magazine. But they’re popping up with astounding frequency in novels aimed at teen girls…brand names appeared an average of more than once per page: 1,553 references in all” (in six best-selling teen novels).

The article concludes:

“The Judy Blume books I read as a kid were about life lessons and defining yourself…The life lesson here is that you can buy your identity.”

From hip-hop to tween-lit, the gospel of bling reigns. Which is why JCrew honestly believes that I am going to buy Cashmere for my two-year old.

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