The Danger of Disposability

TAGS: divorce rate, finstagram, consumerism, The Danger of Disposability, marriage, social media, instagram, Mark Dugdale


I look at dudes a couple decades younger and often think, “Pfft, punk. What a fool!” Meanwhile I’m not so naive to think that some 60-year-old isn’t looking at me thinking the same thing. Older generations can tell you about wisdom all they want, but there’s something about the grind of time and lessons learned the hard way that imparts wisdom with deep roots. That said, if you’re a couple decades younger, I hope you’ll at least hear me out. I’ve recently noticed culture embracing the idea of disposability at an ever-increasing measure. Quick, convenient, and disposable may lead to instant gratification, yet coupled with what I fear are long-lasting consequences. There is a danger of disposability.

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Materially Disposable

A mindset rooted in consumerism while often disguised as capitalism represents the materially disposable, and more and more Americans are buying into the idea. The phenomenon called fast fashion gave rise to the H&Ms and Forever 21s of the world. Fast fashion brings new trends to market lightning fast, yet prices are dirt cheap.

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Rather than buying clothing for two to four seasons of the year, mega-retailers now offer weekly fashion. They offer fashion that you don’t hold until the same season rolls around next year, but instead simply throw it in the trash and get something new next month — because it’s that cheap. I should know; I live with three teenage daughters.

It sounds harmless, but it fuels a culture of consumerism and instant gratification, leading to discontent and an erosion of a sense of value in possessions. Can you imagine buying a Duffalo Bar only to throw it away after a single use?

Physically Disposable

The surface level physically disposable is most evident in social media. You don’t like your physical image? No problem — just find a better filter, camera angle, or app to project the perfect you. The other option in which teens immerse themselves is Finstagram. If you’re a parent and don’t know about your kids Finsta account, it’s time to wake up! Finsta accounts are simply restricted Instagram accounts where teens post the stuff they don’t want their parents to see. The unwritten rule is that everyone protects each other’s private Finsta from the outside world. It’s a place to post the sexual, drug fueled, teen stuff that would get you kicked off the high school football team or cheer squad.

Don’t think for one second this sort of inauthentic “Fake Instagram” life doesn’t spill over to a physically disposable mindset, where gender no longer finds its roots in biology and teen sexual purity is undervalued and considered disposable. The trauma found in the physically disposable likely won’t fully reveal itself until these teens mature and reflect on their past.

I believe pornography is the quintessential element fueling the physically disposable mindset. Finsta accounts, for many, are birthed out of porn addictions. Science proves that porn rewires our brains, but Russell Moore encapsulates the pitfalls in the following quote: “A man who learns to be a lover through porn will simultaneously love everyone and no one.” The harm of the physically disposable bleeds directly into the relationally disposable.

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Relationally Disposable

From what I’ve read, the average life expectancy in the US is 77 to 79. I guess that makes the late 30’s to early 40’s prime mid-life crisis years, which might explain a lot. I’m now into my 20th year of matrimony and I see married couples of similar age dropping like flies. Seriously, even those I thought had solid foundations are divorcing at an alarming rate. I’m guessing reflecting on present circumstances at the mid-point of life sends many couples looking for greener pastures. It’s gut-wrenching to see people reduce relational covenants to disposable contracts stuffed neatly into a paper shredder.

Nobody stumbles into a great marriage. I know I had to fight for mine over the years, and so did Christina, but it’s worth it. The depth of my love, intimacy, and respect for my bride I earned working through the tough stuff. Disposability permeates so many facets of life that we tend to value things and people less. We’re quick to lose the will to fight, but lowering your shoulder and pushing through the hardest moments reaps the greatest rewards.


Don’t settle. Don’t give up. Don’t stop assigning value to the material, physical, and relational aspects of life or you will lose the will to fight for them with times get tough. The fight is worth it!

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