People's sense of worth has, among other ways, been determined by automobiles since their introduction into society outside of the elite
. The increased popularity of SUV's in today's market
simply shows a shift in value in regard to what the consumer feels is desired, required, and appealing. You could likely talk to any auto sales rep who was responsible for the marketing of any vehicle in any era and they can tell you that their work was guided by the dictates of what consumers want.
Because there is such a specific, scientific approach to car advertising and target buyers, I can't help but dislike the direction consumers are headed. But at the same time, SUV's aren't any more the epitome of the American mind set than the Camaro, Mustang or other models that go back 30 years or more.
The popularity of the SUV is contingent upon the fact that its drivers are so diverse, more now than when oversized vehicles like these first came out. While many have legitimate reasons for owning SUV's, most do not and don't think they have to legitimize such a potential unecessary and audacious purchase. What few reasons they give are perpetuated by fears, some that are quite legitimate and others that are perpetuated in all the ways in which the average consumer gets his information: the media, salesmen, word of mouth, experiences of other car owners, ignorance by lack of ability to research, etc.
The issues surrounding SUV's are neither black nor white but it is very easy to slip into stereotypical mindsets. I do it myself. I fix SUV's all day long and often get annoyed at how clueless their owners can be. But since I do not have much say or control with regard to popular trends of such size and weight, all I can do is keep my eyes open for them when I'm driving, since I own a Festiva and they likely can't even see me.