Consumer vs Entreprenuer

Article: Op-Ed

Publication: Artsy Magazine

Publishing Date: March 2014

 

 

“There’s a sick jacket on sale I need to have.” Said every female I have ever met. Women cannot control their urge to shop. It is without any doubt, a legitimate drug.  And I too, am a victim. Each and every pay week is accompanied by a sad surrender to consumerism. The uncontrollable want for something new seeps into my blood like a pure shot of heroin. And thanks to the wonderful Internet age, a fix for that Instagram-worthy appearance is only a retail dealer away.

 

Being a product of today’s society, shopping addictions are all too common. I can’t tell you how many times I have to remind myself of something I don’t need.  And working in retail is no help. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 14.8 million people were employed in the retail industry and according to the United States Department of Labor just over 8 million were women. Women who often spend their checks right back into the companies they were work for. I began to wonder, why would women rather shop than someday sign their own checks? Why is the female mentality driven by consumerism more than entrepreneurship? It seems our culture has women so superficially blinded, so product-occupied, that they can’t see their true potential in business.

 

Since the very beginning of society, women have been unaccepted in financial industries.  Corporations, media, and televisions have continuously supported the repression of the intellectual woman. Looking at 1950’s commercial ads and 2015’s commercial ads we see little to no progression for the value of women. The sexual innuendos and the complete advantage taken of female insecurities are consistent. There are billboards everywhere telling us that our looks should be priority, but never mention our thoughts, never mention our dreams.

 

The display of female figures, from models to news anchors is still drenched with underlining stereotypes and demeaning messages. Impressionable young girls are being taught turning into a woman means a push-up bra and Mac make up. She’s taught her lipstick color is more important than the words that actually come from her lips. When we think of the celebrity role models for the youth they promote sexuality more than they promote success...or rather, success through sexuality. There is a message telling us that we can only be as great as Kim Kardashian if only we spend the coins to look as great as Kim Kardashian.

 

This stems from a long history of men and women often being raised on different cultures of living. Men have been taught to earn money and women have been taught to spend money. Men taught to use their brains and women taught to use their breasts. Men are the breadwinners and women are the bread buyers. Females contribute to 80% of the world’s economy through product purchases. There are studies and departments in big companies solely focused on targeting and manipulating women’s spending habits. The cookies on your computer alone are designed to cater ads to items you’ve shopped for. Constantly reminding you to spend money. I’ve never seen a message telling me to save.  This is because the female entrepreneur is one of the most feared creatures in business. Women have inherit abilities that can make them powerful forces in leadership, allowing them to infiltrate a system that was never built with them in mind.

 

However, in recent years the number of women starting their own companies has leaped tremendous gaps. This shows great economic contributions from females in business, that isn’t shopping in Soho. But with all these strides, women leaders are still very far behind their male counterparts. Well what does any growing business need? Investors. It’s a fact that men entrepreneurs receive more than double the funding women do. 73% of the top women owned businesses were funded independently, mainly from their own savings. These driven women were able to overcome their lack of support to gain control over their finances and their future. Proving that when women have a goal deeper than physical beauty, beautiful dreams can flourish. Studies show that women who succeed in business have done so by grouping with like-minded women. Women who understand the struggle of Consumer vs. Entrepreneur can greatly impact each other’s success.

 

It’s important that young girls graduate school and open savings account not have shopping sprees. Even if they have no clue what they want to do, they must prepare for the discovery. When I think back to my 20 year old self, I wish I would have saved all that money I spent on clothes I now wish I had never even worn. At one time, my male co-worker told me he had $11,000 in savings when I had only had $400. I probably had triple my savings sitting in my closet. So when I decided to start my own business, I called for reinforcement. I asked my lady friends to help remind me every time I’m tempted by the Urban Outfitters sale section, that I have bigger plans worth paying for. Because what women really need is to support each other, reach their arms out as safety nets, and stop cosigning shoes and start cosigning checks. If the world won’t take us seriously, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.

 

Leslieann Elle Santiago

Stylist | Writer | Curator