‘The fetishism of commodities’ | Pakistan Today

‘The fetishism of commodities’

Today, consumption is an obsessive-compulsive disorder or a cultural epidemic (whatever sounds scarier). Nothing hits material insecurities more than the modern advertising industry. They hog all the pretty women and talented photographers who know just the right post-processing software. Here’s an explainer for how we (the consumers) are being coerced by brands, multinational corporations, labels etcetera etcetera into consuming the disintegrating outcomes of a commodified culture.

We’re on SALE

Once upon a time, they felt that ‘Black Friday’ sales were a yuhoodi sazish. So, we ended up with White Fridays and Blessed Fridays. Though, these discounted Fridays usually end up being a ‘non-blessing’ as the roads leading up to urban centres are blocked for kilometres and socially frigid individuals avoid going to the shops to buy loaves of bread.

Marketing gimmicks

Not surprisingly, we have a new urban class niche that is ‘ethically conscious’ and wants ‘ cruelty-free’ produce for their kitchens. Hence, the market is now full of ‘green’ brands that tell you to throw out your rug and buy one made with organic cotton that supports fair trade policies. Of course, it doesn’t matter if the fine print ingredients list on the back has a long list of chemical names, as long as it says organic on the front.

Identity politics

Sometime in the late 90s, the postmodernists figured out that feminism was about buying a T-shirt that says ‘the future is female’. Now, anything from the Thar drought to mental illness can be fought if you just buy a new kurta. Gender-based and sexual empowerment depends upon the commodified realm of lifestyle choices.


Lastly, the best way to support local artists is to buy their work at a hefty rate after they have sold it dirt cheap to the corporate sector. Guess it is time to seize the means of production.

Related posts