I took the tigling and some of her friends for a cinema and pizza outing yesterday to celebrate the tigling’s birthday.
That was fine, lots of fun, actually.
But because of the weather we had to stay inside the mall instead of going across the road to play party games in the park as originally planned. I was depressed with how keen the girls were to run around shopping, and how thrilled they were to buy cheap baubles that will probably break within a month. OK, I remember how impressed I was at age 12 with SHINY! stuff, so I understand that. But this wasn’t just walking past a shop window and going “oh, look at that”. This was a whole mindset of “wheeee! shopping!” as if that were the most fun they could imagine. How infinitely depressing that they’ve been sucked so wholeheartedly into consumerism, and particularly the femininity construct of recreational shopping for trinkets.
Admittedly, the original plan had been to go across the road to the Saturday Markets after the movie, but because of the weather that was cancelled. Still, at least that would have been some fresh air and some handcrafted pieces to look at instead of the usual mass-produced crap, and there would have been a wide variety of stalls to wander past and examine. A bohemian innercity market is still obviously dominated by the purchasing impulse, but there’s a different quality to it than wandering through the mall. In a market you can actually appreciate some of the stalls’ offering purely on an aesthetic level, and discuss the aesthetics of what you see, because that’s part of what it’s all about. The mall is just ooh, shiny!, whereas the market is oh, how interesting, and encourages reflection, not just acquisition.
I’m happy that the tigling, once she’d got one particular sweet lolly thing she wanted and a necklace she’d been yearning for since the last outing with her friends, would really have rather gone and looked around the bookstore or the petstore, just to look not buy. She was a bit bored with the continued shopping for the sake of shopping that most of the other girls were doing. Of course, she had just received a whole heap of presents to satiate the I need new stuff imprint of consumerism, so maybe I ought not be too smug.