The reading “The Growing Narcissism in American Culture,” which was assigned for another leadership course I am currently enrolled in coincided with “Desire and Illusion: Analyzing Advertising.” “The Growing Narcissism in American Culture” read that there has been an underlying shift in American psychology. This shift is referred to as the inexorable rise of narcissism in our culture. As I continued to read this article I immediately saw a connection between the shift in advertising and the rise of narcissism. Advertising does more than push a product. Contemporary ads have shifted. The power they hold now generally encourage society to put wants ahead of others’ needs and self-interests above altruism. The persuasion factor, sinfulness and fallacies of advertising contribute to American society’s growing emphasis placed on material wealth, physical appearance, celebrity worship, and attention seeking. This is also known as the rise of narcissism.
Advertising routinely makes assumptions about consumers’ needs, desires, fears and prejudices. Eventually society’s cultural landscape is shaped by messages relayed by advertisements. In “Desire and Illusion: Analyzing Advertising,” it says that ad agencies spend a lot of time and energy trying to come up with striking ads. However, these ads are commonly found to do more than strike you with colorful facts. The hidden messages behind many advertisements often contribute to stereotypes, class divisions, and ideologies. For example, many magazines have ads with beautiful and skinny models advertising the company’s clothes or other products. The idea that American women need to be skinny and beautiful is emphasized and advertised along with the actual product. These ideals created through advertising are aiding in the growth of narcissism.