Essay 2: Children and Consumerism

Topic:

Children and teens have, for the most part, been put in the crosshairs of advertisers that take advantage

of their vulnerability and sometimes vain pursuits for identity. Yet perhaps teens are also given the ability of

self-expression and meaningful validation in consumerism. For example, music and clothing offer outlets for

growth and exploration. Perhaps teens would be better off in their adulthood if they were exposed to the

influence of consumerism, which seeks to categorize and isolate the consumer (Twitchell 166). Understanding

the influence of advertising is certainly one of many hurdles in managing money as well as wants versus

needs; learning to value substance over vanity is an important lesson for anything from choosing a career path

to signing the dotted-line of a mortgage agreement. Moreover, young people may benefit from experiencing, as

James Twitchell describes it in “What we are to Advertisers,” “positioning” and the sheer power

advertisements use to target and manipulate consumer groups (164).

Audience

: Your audience for this essay will be your classmates and instructor.

Purpose

: Write an essay with a central argument that is supported by your observations and the text.

Recommended Resources (though you may use any resource we have discussed for class):

The Merchants of Cool

,

“Everything Now”,

“Masters of Desire”,

“Selling to Children”,

“What we are to Advertisers”,

“The Treadmill of Consumption”,

“Men’s Men and Women’s Women”

“The More Factor”,

“The Science of Shopping”,

Consuming Kids

“I Won. I’m Sorry.”

Directions

: This essay should be four to five full pages in length. You must use 12-point, Times New Roman

font. Use one-inch margins for the document. Include an MLA Works Cited Page and in-text MLA citations.

You must use at least two of the resources discussed in class, but you may use more sources if you see fit.

Additionally, you may certainly draw from your personal experiences growing up with your guardian(s).

Use

one advertisement (or two maximum)

, still images or videos, in answering

one

of the following

questions:

Essay Question

:

To what extent should advertising to children or teens be limited by their guardian(s)?

OR

How do toys reinforce gender stereotypes for girls and boys?

Tips

: Focus on

one

age group for purposes of this essay. Two age groups you might examine could be

between the ages of 5-13 (elementary and middle school students) or 14-18 (high school students).

Remember, advertising can take place via the internet, YouTube, social media, TV, movies, radio, signs,

billboards, and so on. Focus on one of the aforementioned mediums for purposes of this essay. You might

consider your upbringing, your siblings, or relatives. Also, consider how you would want to raise your children

or how you are currently raising your children. Draw from your experiences writing essay one when

considering an advertisement and your use of the text. For question two, you might visit a toy store/ store that

sells toys and take some photos of the aisles or individual products.

 
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