You are a world of different meanings. “America” is a term that has a different meaning for everyone. Each explanation or description of America has been influenced by an individual’s personal history with how the term affects them. Pop culture, media, politics, history, etc. can all affect an individual’s definition of the term “America,” but the fact is, is that everyone’s definition is different. What some people do not realize is the reality of the American lifestyle. As I have lived in the United States of America for my entire life, I have first handedly witnessed the lifestyle and culture of America. The American way of life is so over the top and filled with unnecessary things that Americans take the things they have for granted. A few main things that Americans take for granted are fresh water, unlimited electrical power, a supply of food, the Internet, the retail market, and ready when you need it medicines. There are so many things that Americans have in their everyday lives that many people in other countries do not have. What really needs to be analyzed is the concept of need versus want. Obviously there are things that Americans need in order to survive, but there are so many other things that Americans have that they would be able to live without.
One need versus want concept in America is the issue of food. This concept was explained in my description of my two images, but I will reiterate the idea again here. The main idea is that Americans have an unnecessary intake of food. In the 21st century, the food intake of Americans has far surpassed the intake of food of Americans in the 1950s and even the 1970s. Americans have passed the basic needs of food, and demand food that is both unnecessary and bad for them. The main difference between the intake of food in the 21st century and the intake of food in the 20th century is how Americans are eating. In the past, Americans spent time preparing their food and eating together as a family. Now, the option of fast food has become very common. When Americans eat fast food they consume a lot more because it is quick, easy, and cheap. This eating habit leads to obesity among children and adults. When you see the amount of people in America that are obese and you compare that to other countries, such as Africa who do not have a steady supply of food, you can clearly see the need versus want issue.
The Internet is another aspect of the American lifestyle that is unnecessary. Americans have come to rely on the Internet so much that they cannot seem to go one day without it. Sure, it is very useful and helps with searching for information quickly, but it not a necessary need in order to survive. Compare the use of Internet to people in other countries who do not have basic needs and you see how unnecessary it actually is. In America, we have so many things that we take for granted and it is not until we step outside our comfort zones that we begin to realize them. I’m sure that people in third world countries would love to have the use of the Internet as Americans do, but the basic fact is that they have actual needs that come before that. The Internet is a want for them. For Americans, it has become a need.
The retail market is another unnecessary thing that we as Americans take for granted. Really the only necessity from the retail market that we need is clothing, but that concept has been far surpassed. As Andy Warhol stated in his America article, “Buying things in America today is just unbelievable.” As a consumer in America, there are so many varieties and options for just one single item. It is definitely not necessary to have this many options, but Americans have gotten used to it. The different kinds of drinks in America that Andy Warhol talks about, is a perfect example of this concept. We, as consumers, do not need this many varieties. However, we have become so used to it that anything different would seem completely strange. This qualifies as a “want” in American culture. The only need for a drink is water and Americans really take advantage of that fact. Similar to the section about intake of food, there are many other countries that go days without water because they are unable to get it and that is how they are used to living. They do not have a steady supply of water so their basic need is getting water when they can rather than any of the other varieties of drinks.
America, I’m hoping this letter to you makes you realize the unnecessary lifestyle of Americans. There are so many things that we as Americans can live without, but we have gotten so used to them that that just does not seem like an option. We really need to re-analyze the things we have and not take them for granted, because there are others that are living in worse conditions than we are.