For the most part, the haul video that I watched today seems like any one of the million of others on Youtube, but I found a certain inclusion particularly interesting. In fact, the last three minutes or so of the video got me to rethink my entire perspective on the author and potentially the overall significance of the haul video.

The title of the upload is “HAUL: h&m, f21, vs and nyu bookstore,” by seungpil69. Guess which part sparked my interest?

You can start from the beginning of the haul, check out the last few minutes by skipping to 7:33, or just jump ahead to my reflection:

If you skipped the video, basically, seungpil69 is a girl that lives outside of Manhattan, has come into the city for the day, and went shopping at a variety of places—the last of which is the NYU Bookstore on Broadway. The author begins talking about her NYU purchases towards the end of the video. She first notes that her viewers “may not be interested” in her last segment on bookstore purchases, especially since she doesn’t go to NYU and hasn’t even applied to college. Despite NYU being her dream school, our friend may not have good enough grades to get admitted 😦

The author’s mom had an idea though: purchase NYU gear as a motivation to get grades up and get into the NYU mindset! Seungpil69 doesn’t just get one shirt and call it a day; our friend purchases a shirt, a pennant (which interestingly says ‘alumni’ on it), and 2 sweaters.  These purchases rival other purchases from her haul in quantity and price.

There are a few directions to take this discussion, but in the light of last week’s classes, I want to examine the haul video from the lens of cultural capital.

Now this reading might tell us that seungpil69 is trying to attain or maintain high cultural capital (HCC): she wants viewers to see that she’s both hip and also somewhat thrifty, since she’s shopping at stores like H&M and Forever 21. If lots of people watch her video, they will be able to see her embodied CC through the good purchasing decisions she makes, reaffirming her talents as a cultural intermediary.

The author seems hesitant to share the NYU part of the haul because the cultural capital in this regard is only objectified. Just because the author bought the swag doesn’t grant her the socially rare knowledge and practices of an NYU student. She has the capital but she is still learning “how to use it,” how to really become an NYU student.

In the same way that seungpil69 wants us to give her feedback about her h&m, f21, and vs purchases, she also wants our encouragement in her endeavour to get accepted to her dream school. The viewer/subscriber becomes a friend that helps the author achieve HCC in various fields of life.

Seungpil69, if you’re out there reading this, our Consumption, Culture, and Identity class here at NYU is rooting for you! Good luck girl.

Also, look into our Steinhardt school and the Media, Culture, and Communications program. It’s obviously the best major.


Senior and Sentimental