Freedom is A New Luxury
While Many Crave For Material Benefits, Millennials and Gen Z Are Following Their Own Rules
Historically, luxury has always been a synonym of status and wealth that distinguish a person, his abilities, possibilities, position among others within society, and level of respect which this person deserves. Or doesn’t deserve, but it’s already another conversation. The well-known Maslow’s pyramid that visually depicts the hierarchy of principal needs of every single homo sapiens –altogether or separately – not in vein places physiological needs such as food, hunger, thirst, sleep, health, sexual attraction, breathe and many other things we do regularly on a daily basis without even paying so much attention to it, on a primary level – at the very ground of pyramid. Meanwhile, self-realisation or self-actualisation – call it whatever you wish – is elevated to the top as an emotional symbol of creativity, self-development, enhancement, moral, capability to analyse and treat yourself and others without bias – everything that is something spiritual – perhaps, even too personal to share, but very essential in terms of becoming a person as a right-minded human being, his self-perception, world outlook and his emotional state within society.
For some people, luxury is fundamental of this pyramid – replacing or placed equally on the same level, when, it would seem that, specific physiological needs are impossible to be replaced especially when if you’re strongly pressed by it. Anyway, in order to speak to this world and to society which this or that person belongs to, human benefits from time immemorial has been thereby essential communication tool dividing the society into rich and poor, well-educated and ignorant, kings and peasants, into those who appeared to be honoured, respected, and sometimes even make other people being afraid of them and their power, and into those who basically were levelled to the ground and caught spits by «the chosen ones».
…a satisfaction of your own ego already consists not in another slave acquisition, but in possessing things that equally regarded as valuable, rare and obscenely expensive…
Over centuries and constantly changing cultures, the sense of self-importance has always been expressed in multitude ways both completely innocent and particularly fastidious: starting from the skin tone whiteness that was considered as prerogative of exceptionally rich and non-working royal court, to the kingdom size that usually provoked envy of the neighbouring countries and led to a new portion of wars and fights for authority and territory. Though in a modern world, when barbarism should have been left only on the history books pages, a satisfaction of your own ego already consists not in another slave acquisition, but in possessing things that equally regarded as valuable, rare and obscenely expensive – the things only a tiny number of people can afford.
Fashion on a par with different human benefits also had a meaning of the high-quality, wealthy and prosperous life – the very desirable exclusivity what many used to dream about, but only units received. And no matter how ridiculous it would sound, in the twenty-first century, when – it seemed – all the boundaries have been already erased, limits have been disrupted, when people require equality and equal conditions, this idea is still alive. We observe it every single day, we admire it, following the fashion weeks on the other side of the screen because the least of us may afford the front-row seat at the Chanel show – the rare group of people worth to get hold of the desirable invitation only for the chosen ones. However, life balance law no one cancelled, and if everyone could have an opportunity to visit one or another show, streets of New York, London, Milan and Paris, instead of remaining a celebration of beauty and designers’ ideas, would turn into a market square flooded by «fashionistas» who wanted to touch to once unattainable ideal.
By means of clothes, upper class always demonstrated its superiority over ordinary workers and peasants. Some more hundred years ago clothes weren’t intended to be released as a mass-production – only exclusively, individually considering sizes of the noble ladies, their wishes and tastes, naturally, following all the trends of that times. Expensive fabrics, exquisite accessories and details, hand embroidery – the creation of the one single dress demanded lots of expenses; and, respectively, working-class women, peasants, and especially female slaves couldn’t afford such luxurious garments. However, they had other concerns at that time, significantly different upper-class ladies daily deeds. Nevertheless, the farther the time ran forward, the more women rehabilitated after a destroying war period, a desire to dress nicely and tastefully had become stronger – and mass production joined its rights gradually replacing an haute couture significance. High fashion stayed afloat but remained a privilege of affluent ladies whose husbands were able to splurge on Christian Dior’s new-look or revolutionary Coco Chanel’s pearl string.
Millennials and gen-z who take a major part in contemporary culture and society, having their opinion and simultaneously answers to all the burning daily questions, setting their own trends and changing an established perception of the things we are used to – they put luxury possession almost on the principal place of their pyramid of needs. These are no longer those people who are willing to put up with an idea that someone gets everything, meanwhile, someone is barely enough with bread and butter. These are people who really try to prove to this world, to society, to their own parents and, primarily, to themselves what they worth and deserve. They want more, and this kind of aspirations aren’t already condemned by a modern generation which already doesn’t want to follow long-lasting obsolete rules.
In a pursuit of better life and beautiful things to ownership which never comes to its end and becomes a substantial twenty-first century scourge, a human nature goes beyond the familiar, aspiring to achieve something that is usually a priori fails to be done for many factors: financial opportunities, or, to be more precisely, its absolute absence, other people’s judgement, even sometimes by their parents and friends, incomprehensible dreams which are eager to remain dreams because it takes a lot of willpower and diligence to reach it. High status and standards of living expressed in a cash equivalent are still symbols of the success of all wealthy and famous, example of an ideal life, and what necessarily must bring happiness. After all, happens cannot be completed without you being able to afford anything you dream and aspire, what you have in a single copy and what you might surely boast of along with your follower through an Instagram prism.
Eventually, a physical luxury in the way we perceive and imagine gradually meets changes by an emotional luxury, a moral one, which is intangible, but which also might be experienced at a much higher level than a pleasure to own a gold credit card with the n-th number of zeros on the account. Though, many would like to argue that there is nothing bad in disposing of such a privilege. And the name of this luxury is freedom.
Clamped within limits of the outdated foundations, stupid rules and written by someone unknown traditional values – this is what modern generation aspires to get rid of in order to live the way they want it. This where freedom lies: the freedom of choice, the freedom of movement, the freedom of profession choice and and life path, the freedom of personal values and attitudes which are usually blamed by public and older generation grown up on the concept that it’s important to live with what we have now, that it’s impossible to change an unchanged, and do what is right. But the idea is – everyone has their own «right». And parents’ mind – of the closest people to each person – whose opinion needs to be listened and respected, just because they gave us life and opportunities, isn’t that one essential thing you should base on in building your life.
Go to Disneyland to ride on the carousels even if you’re already a little bit above 30 and you look kinda weird among rapturous children around is freedom because you don’t really care what others would think about you.
My grandmother dreamt me to be a doctor, no matter, I cannot handle facing the sight of blood, and faint only by a quick glimpse at the medical needle. My mom wanted me to give up a fashion business and do the «right» thing that could theoretically provide me with cash even after the retirement which I’m, honestly, not even hoping to survive on my way to. My dad has just said I need to choose my own path – and my personal freedom looked out of the corner finally finding me – my luxury expressed not in a quantity of brand-new bags inside my wardrobe, but by that I’m giving a choice to be someone I crave to be and the way others would take me.
Go against your parents and their traditional beliefs is freedom. Give up everything and fly away to another country in order not to make visa expired in vain for a weekend is freedom. Refuse traditional family values and official tying knots in front of the altar is freedom. Being the mistress of your own body and decide for yourself whether you want to have children or not, without even taking in consideration other people’s condemnation is freedom. Go to Disneyland to ride on the carousels even if you’re already a little bit above 30 and you look kinda weird among rapturous children around is freedom because you don’t really care what others would think about you. Trying new exotic dishes, moving around and changing the place of living and countries, learning and discover something unfamiliar, comprehending ourselves, self-developing, writing books, watching favourite movies and shows, having a barbecue on the rooftop, launching an Instagram profile dedicated to a beloved cat, having a personal opinion and not being afraid to express it – these are what luxury turned into. Emotional, much stronger and more desirable than ownership of thing whose cost is gradually losing its value, especially when there is nothing standing behind this mentioned thing – not a single story.
While in the century, when material values prevail over real feelings and emotions – the story, remarkable, brilliant and excitement provoking somewhere in the middle of the chest, is the most valuable we all may have. And what will become a brand-new definition of status.