Last Updated 17 Aug 2022

The Theories from the Movie of Confessions of a Shopaholic

Category Theories
Essay type Movie Analysis
Words 1392 (6 pages)
Views 1209
Instances with cultural dimension are everywhere. The very normal everyday affairs that relate to cultural field could intricately stand on behalf of, or are shaped by, wider social and cultural forces (Miller, McHoul, 1). For instance, in the movie of Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), fashion as a significant element, including the appearances of projection, consumption and aesthetics, as well as the status of upper class, determines self-identity and expresses one’s personality and discourses. This essay will first briefly introduce the movie, followed by defining and elaborating two theories.

Subsequently, two of the movie clips deemed as culture examples, each exemplifying the key notions from two scholars will be analyzed. Ultimately the essay would draw the conclusion with cultural lead ideas. According to the introduction of Metacritic (2009), the movie of Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) mainly describes a girl named Rebecca Bloomwood who is absolutely a shopaholic. In order to achieve the dream of working for her beloved fashion magazine, she snags a job of being an economic columnist for a financial magazine, which is published by the same company.

Ironically, she guides people to effectively manage money on the one hand and has loads of debts to pay off on the other hand. She has to make up lies to evade creditor’s tracking. Eventually, the comedy ends with Rebecca turning over a new leaf and celebrating both career and love after harsh introspection and self-reflection. The movie of Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) is occupied by fashion, glamour and shopping. This refers a person with a compulsive desire to shop. This movie lightly involved gender bias and stereotypes with the terms. For instance, women who love buying are called "shopaholics".

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While, occasionally, men are called "collectors" which have the same situation as women. However, the movie principally illustrates people’s desire for consumption and self-expression through styling and taste, which will be detailed by theories as following. In the movie, the view of simplified consumption is widely and reasonably acknowledged. Shopping, an approach of leisure and consuming time, offers people happiness and enjoyment. Due to the reports and evidences from Carlson (2008), it can be powerfully argued that people consume for the sake of consuming in real life.

The Polish sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman (1925- ) illustrates the modern consuming in the theory of “consuming life”, based on his theory of consumerism and liquid modernity. With the heuristics understanding of consumers and “consuming life”, he discovered three ideal categories, namely consumerism, the society of consumers, and consumer culture, to demonstrate consumers as a part of the society as well as the possible relationships among them. (Patterson 4). Bauman chiefly addresses consumerism about the subjectivity of individual consumers and states the motivated role of the unfulfilled desires and unsatisfied needs.

As for the second ideal type, Bauman argues the inevitable relationship between individuals and the world. In addition, ‘salability’ is coined to define the cause of social membership raised by individual’s consumption. The third ideal type, notably consumer culture, is claimed to “moves to a mes-olevel discussion of the social networks and interactions that exist within liquid modernity. ”(ibid. ) In Bauman’s theory, people are believed live in the postmodern consumer society and consumption is increasing in volume. Consumer’s satisfaction is instant and delayed.

As the report of Miller (33), at the moment of purchase, women are hardly satisfied in situations of purchase. The satisfaction brought by consumed goods is limited and short-term, the length of which normally should be reduced to bare minimum. However, Bauman (17) argues that the impatient, impetuous, and restive consumption would be more likely and much easier to fade off and lose interests as well, which reverses the traditional relationship between satisfactions and instant needs. At the beginning of the movie, Rebecca Bloomwood, who already has a debt of $900, is still fascinated by the green scarf that she does not really need.

Finally she buys it due to her immediate desire even it is not necessary. Throughout the movie, there are numerous scenes in which she regrets for her impetuous perchance. “Do we really need another chair? ” as David Report asked. They claim that things that are not really necessary cram people’s homes and people purchase them because of imputation and short time self-satisfaction (Carlson 4). Moreover, Bauman clarifies ‘consumer game’ as the excitement of sensation, which excludes the greediness of obtainment as well as the tangible sense without wealth.

Consumers ought to consume rationally and in control. Desire, is regarded could be reproduce by itself, and has self-perpetuating motive. As Mark C. Taylor and Esa Saarinen once said, “Desire does not desire satisfaction. To the contrary, desire desires desire. ” (Bauman 5). The movie of Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) presents numerous and various scenes of fashion judgments. For instance, one of the clips depicts the astonishment of Rebecca, who discovers the illustrious background of her boss, whom she thought was nonentity and nobody.

When asked why wearing these low-priced clothes, he answers that he does not want to be labeled by his clothes and the appearance, which says the underlying tastes and sense of fashion. Pierre Bourdieu (1990-2002), who was born in an out-of-the-way corner of southwest France, illustrates and clarifies these situations with the conception of ”habitus” and the class taste. In his youth, He was cultivated in philosophy. However, after the experience of participation of the Algerian War, he transformed to be a social scientist. Nevertheless he had philosophic logic and accuracy (Grass 1) as well.

In Bourdieu theory, drawn from a long-term scientific observation, cultural needs are demonstrated to be the product of upbringing and education. Cultural practices, including literature, painting or music, are closely attached to the educational level and subsequently to social origin. According to both the influence from the strongest ‘extra-curricular’ culture and the extent of the cultural practices, which are recognized by the educational system, the background and formal education could change. Therefore the manner of tastes and ‘class’ forms within the discourses as well as structures (Bourdieu 2).

The different lifestyles associated with them (Wacquant 7) could be understood as the approach to categorizing and distinguishing people. In addition, the theory shows how individuals characterize and reversely define themselves to others. For instance, the upper class makes adjudication based on the mannerisms, interests and tastes (Bourdieu 2). Habitus, meaning the way that the body is shaped by discourses as well as the environment, is clearly visible through taste.

Through the process of which people recognize, judge, and operate in the world, habitus successfully assigns the system of ispositions, which is shared by countless people who have similar experiences and ideas. Habitus, the mediation between both the past and present stimuli, is socially structured and is simultaneously structuring the society. The reason for Bourdieu’s exemplification of the “unchosen principle of all choices,” as well as “the product of structure, producer of practice, and reproducer of structure” to hibitus is that it provides form and unity to a range of activities of an individual by crossing the separate spheres of life.

Moreover, habitus is a principle of both social continuity and discontinuity. It is social continuity because of its ability to store social forces in individuals and transport them across time and space. Furthermore, It is discontinuity in that it could “be modified through the acquisition of new dispositions and the reason” that “it can trigger innovation whenever it encounters a social setting discrepant with the setting from which it issues”. Wacquant 7). All in all, the comedy of Confessions of A Shopaholic (2009) could be intensely analyzed by culture theories. After the briefly introduction of the movie, Bauman’s theory was introduced to illustrate the conception of consumption. Moreover, the three ideal categories detail the conception and the hypothesis of satisfaction of desire, suggesting the impetuous purchase would fade off yet the desire never would.

Subsequently, Bourdieu’s theory of taste classifies and categorizes people with respect to taste and education. The dissimilar manners are closely linked to the dissimilar positions in social factor, which possibly bound up with the systems of habitus of the different classes (Bourdieu 2). In fact, despite the fact that the cultural studies about “desire” as well as “habitus” has been already made progresses, it is obvious and plain that they would still be discussed and argued within a long period of time.


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