The American economy thrives off of the over-consumption of goods. Citizens of this “great” country are constantly encouraged to buy buy buy, and it is often suggested that by doing so they will somehow better their lives. The fact of the matter is, purchasing an overabundance of items is detrimental to the environment and doesn’t equate to a fulfilling life. Furthermore, buying too many things or feeling pressured to do so can cause unnecessary stress. This is part of the reason why the minimalist movement emerged.
What is Minimalism?
A lot of people associate minimalism with bearded men who wear black sweaters, have no kids, live in a tiny house, and own twenty items or less. I know I did prior to watching a documentary by The Minimalists. Now I realize that the qualifications for being a minimalist aren’t so strict; you can be a minimalist as long as you acknowledge that life is about more than “stuff” and make attempts to live your best life through things like relationships and experiences rather than purchasing an excess of everything.
After learning this, I couldn’t help but wonder…why had my personal definition of minimalism been so wrong? Somewhere along the line I must have learned about the movement…and somewhere along line the truth had been skewed. But when did this occur? And where? One of the possible places where I may have gained false knowledge of the meaning of minimalism is on social media. By analyzing the rhetorical elements used by people on social media as well as the public’s interaction with these elements, I can learn what minimalism is and isn’t, as well as how it is being perceived.
Header image by me, Paige Hawk