“Look at me, I can afford luxury!” Or that’s the widespread attitude on social media, especially during the summer holidays. Because summer is the holiday season, right?
But who doesn’t take summer holidays? Well, there are of course those whose work nature doesn’t allow them to (usually people working in the hospitality industries). Or people who cannot meet the expenses. Some can only afford a tiny bit and they will usually choose a modest way to spend their free time. And then there’s the majority which will most likely resort to endless boasting about their luxurious breaks on Facebook and the likes. That is holiday narcissism for you.
True, the social media epidemic could be responsible for this kind of behaviour. It’s the perfect tool for showing off and comparing yourself to others. While some might choose a cheap weekend break or a road trip, there will be those uploading photos from expensive resorts, sipping extravagant cocktails, their dinners resembling those of celebrated gourmands.
What’s wrong with that, you may ask. These are well-deserved holidays, after all, some of these people have been working 24/7 the whole year (OK, an exaggeration maybe). The thing is, it’s not just about holidays but also about everyday activities: I know people who will post a selfie every time they visit a hotel bar or have breakfast at a bistro reading their book (the latter often being an excuse for the selfie itself). But don’t they have the right to spend their money as they wish?
I guess they do. But how proper is it to display their pretentious lifestyle on Facebook or any other social media? It depends on the social context. And in the case of my country, the financial crisis-stricken Greece, where the minimum wage is under 586 euros per month, the unemployment rate is roughly at 20% and bearing in mind tragedies involving the drowning of refugees every now and then or the recent wildfires that caused the death of nearly a hundred citizens, well, in this case, the social context is plain wrong.
“So what are we to do? Waste our summer in mourning?” a friend recently asked me. Yes, we can definitely mourn (albeit silently). But we can also be humble and modest and try to promote a creative/productive lifestyle instead of being provocative on the social media platforms.
That is true for the nouveau riche kind, the pretentious elitist, the working-class employee who finally gets a chance to spend their hard-earned salary, the digital marketing geek who uploads photos programming on his laptop on a hammock overlooking the ocean or the booklover who takes selfies reading in expensive beach houses. With this democratisation of luxury, one wonders whether luxury is still the appropriate term to use.
Poor or rich, showing off your expensive lifestyle is pathetic, even if it lies within the temporary state of holidays. And not just that: I think it is downright offensive to those who are in need.