Criticisms of Consumerism and Materialism in Fight Club

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“Do you know what a duvet is? It's a blanket. Just a blanket. Is this essential to our survival? No. We're consumers. We're by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty...these things don't concern me. What concerns me is celebrity magazines, television with five hundred channels, some guy's name on my underwear”(29 min.) We are a generation comprised of invidious and conspicuous consumers, desperately trying to meet society’s consumerist criteria; seeking the false promise of the American dream. This is the reality presented in Fincher’s Fight Club (1999), one of “the rawest, most hot-blooded, provocatively audacious, dangerous movies to come of out Hollywood” (Morris, 1999). Through the diverging personalities of the films central characters, Fincher provides a satirical analysis and powerful criticism of consumerism, “echoing countless social critics who bemoan the emasculating effects of consumer culture on once self-defined and autonomous individuals” (Robinson, 2011).

The film is focuses primarily on the life of the [unnamed] narrator, “an exhausted and numb narcoleptic/insomniac suffering from the failed promise of self-fulfillment in a brand-name, corporate driven consumer society” (David, 2002, p. 504.). Completely immersed in consumerism the narrator obsesses over IKEA products in the hope of replicating the so-called perfect and extravagant representations of apartments illustrated in IKEA catalogues. He asserts, “Like everyone else, I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct…I would flip through catalogues and wonder ‘what kind of dining set defines me as a person?” (4 min.) The quintessence of a materialist, the narrator is clearly the product of a consumerist society. His identity crisis is ...

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Lyon, David. Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Post-modern Times. Malden, MA: Polity P, 2000.

Morris, W. (1999). Critic reviews for Fight Club. [Review of the film Fight Club]. Metacritic Reviews. Retrieved Friday 7th, 2005 from

Robinson, S. (2011). Feminized Men and Inauthentic Women Fight Club and the Limits of Anti-Consumerist Critique. Genders Online Journal, Spring(53), 3. Retrieved January 31, 2014, from

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