I admit it: I love brands.
I drool over breezy Chloe gowns in Vogue and fratty Patagonia jackets. I even get off on a classic blue Croc.
As aware as I am of the unsustainable, consumptive nature of capitalism, I am aware that I love consuming. What’s worse, I am a recent college graduate who has a budget big enough to cover my basic needs and some occasional chapstick. Still, I love buying new clothes: jeans, boots, workout capris, sports bras, business wear, scarves (no human needs more than one scarf, and I have 18), even socks.
I find no feeling to be as refreshing as coming home to a brand new package of socks and underwear. Garage sales and thrift stores are black holes; I recently walked away from a friend’s yard sale with platform Teva flip flops, flats, a bike, bike pump, and sunglasses. I almost bought a broken 2002 black macbook because I felt nostalgic.
My real Achilles heel, when it comes to consuming, is food. I buy, eat, and then need to buy more. I was raised in a health-food household, and am plagued with a preference for expensive superfoods and overpriced organics. I started a garden a few years ago to offset the price of costly organic produce, but find myself reliant on grocery stores for anything that doesn’t make it into my garden and in the winter months.
Whole Foods puts me under a spell. Whoever does their marketing is an actual witch. Before entering the store I mentally prepare myself with a firm plan to only buy deodorant, walk in and see an ad for pig lard that looks convincing, and leave with a tub of lard, bee pollen, bean chips, superpower probiotics, and $8 heirloom tomatoes that I don’t plan on eating but looked too beautiful to pass up.
I used to deride myself for my impulsive spending. Until, after a bit of self-help research, I realized that I, as an American woman, am the historic target of consumerist advertising.
When I first woke up to the realization that my purpose as a woman was not to be a consumer, my tastes began to naturally shift on their own. I have always been a thrifty shopper, and I enjoy the creative challenge of constructing a seemingly new outfit combination from old pieces that I’ve owned for years.
For more information on the history of women as the targets of consumerism, check out this article.
Once I realized that my consuming actually contributed to the waste that poisons water, earth, and sky that keep us alive (since almost everything we buy comes in unsustainable packaging amongst other things), I realized that it was time to redirect my energies. I decided that it was time to take back my power as a consumer, to take back my power as a woman, and to take back my power as a citizen on this earth.
The purpose of this blog and website as a whole is not to make you feel guilty. It is quite the opposite. This website is an awakening. A call to action.
While we all are targeted for our buying capabilities, women have historically been targeted as consumers. We have been sold an identity whose sole purpose is purchasing. Where they really get us is on our looks. We have been told that if we look skinny and beautiful we will be happy and to achieve that happiness all we have to do is buy this hair product and this pill and this Shake Weight.
At this time in human history, where climate change is reaching catastrophic levels and women globally are still fighting for equal rights, we as women are being called to wake up to a greater sense of purpose.
We are being called to redirect our energies. As fun as it is, consumption causes waste, when what we need is the creation of policies and laws that protect our planet, the creation of organic gardens and farms, and the creation of clean power.
WOW, do I digress.
So, I challenge you to look at your relationship to consumption. How does what you purchase, whether it be clothing, food, transportation, or energy for your home, affect the planet?
And if you’re feeling really expansive, the bigger questions to ask yourself:
What is your purpose in life?
Why are you alive?
What are you here to do?
Until next time, ladies!