Econo-Girl is being open with her consumerist struggles because she knows she is not alone. It is interesting to analyze what lies underneath these impulses to buy, buy, buy. Specifically, what is she trying to solve with the purchase of goods?
I feel fat. So I think my whole wardrobe needs replacing.
I feel stodgy and married. Not cool. So I want a new car.
The cycle begins with not feeling good enough, which is certainly fed through the media and women's magazines. The feeling is fed through commercials that make Econo-Girl worry that she secretly stinks. Through commercials that make her worry that visitors will sneer because her walls are smudged.
Even sex is attacked by women's magazines as not being good enough. Whatever you are doing, the mythical man they interview wants something else. "Find out what he really wants" as if you don't know. If you're deaf he'll write it down for you. He'll create a cheerleader routine to get the point across. At least mine will.
All these problems can be solved, in advertising land, by buying something. By buying the magazine, the car, the underwear, the clothes.
Let Econo-Girl tell you of her young, single days visiting NYC. I would go to the garment district to buy clothes and have to post as a buyer for a store to get in. But damn, those clothes were cheap! And so much more variety than we see in the DC market. Back then I was a size six and could buy samples pretty cheap.
So I go into a store and it is clear that the skinny man surrounded by suit types is the designer of the clothes. They are all telling him how brilliant he is and how successful the clothes will be. Tender, young Econo-Girl looks at the shirts. They are quite skimpy little things. So skimpy that a bra would be embarrassingly obvious. And Econo-Girl nevers leaves the house without a bra due to lewd remarks that often follow her. Some women must wear bras, and some women must wear bras with steel. Econo-Girl is in the latter category.
So I approach the designer, grab my breasts and waive them at him. "These are tits," I say. "Tits." He and the suits were aghast. By this time in her life, Econo-Girl was immune to looks of horror. "Women have tits. Your clothes are made for women without tits. Most women have them."
He tried to explain how I could wear the shirt on the rack. I replied that I would arrested for indecency, not to mention the harassment. And that I couldn't even fit one of those things over my head. I could, but it was damn tight. Keep in mind I am a size six.
Then the moment came. He suggested that I lose weight and then I would fit in one. What I was waiting for.
"You are selling to me. I don't want your money. You want my money. There is nothing wrong with me. There's something wrong with your clothes." He was rather taken aback. I told him that most women in the US cannot wear this top. He said that he is designing for the ones that can.
Econo-girl flatters herself that she will be remembered.