I’ve never heard anyone say, “she’s carrying a fabulous purse. I’ve got to meet her,” yet women have gone crazy over expensive bags. Online retailer eluxury.com reports that sales of luxury handbags, defined as those over $500, increased 11 percent last year. This has been going on while people are dying due to poverty. In yesterday’s New York Times there was a story on people in Japan starving because their social security payments had been curtailed. “I wish I could eat rice, I want a rice ball,” one man wrote before he died.
Wouldn’t we feel better saving lives than carrying a Birkin by Hermes, which goes for somewhere between $6,000 and $15,000? Or do we justify it because it’s not the Crocodile Birkin, with ten carats of diamonds set in white gold that goes for $120,000? What’s a fair amount to give veterans on the streets calling out, “Do you have any loose change?” when you’re clutching one of these bags?
There’s a conspiracy between bag makers and the people who carry them. If Sex and the City stars had been seen with Whole Food canvas bags, they’d have promoted a social consciousness. Women would be spending money on organic bananas, not lizard purses. And did anyone admire Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren for bringing Lana Marks Cleopatra bags to the Academy Awards? Knowing the price explains why Helen Mirren took hers onstage; you don’t leave a $100,000 purse on a seat to be filled by a production assistant.
I wouldn’t want a lizard for a house pet, but I’d like to see animal rights activists get involved in this craze. And I hope women come to realize the only ones appreciating them for owning expensive bags are those profiting from it and self-indulgent fashionastas.