I had another post on fashion scheduled today, but reading Belle’s vow to never buy Ivanka Trump products again, I thought I’d do this post on the spur of the moment instead, especially when asked by Kelly Oxford to share a sexual assault story that is #notokay.
Here’s my story, which I’ve written about before of how I was sexually assaulted and that it is #NOTOKAY …..
I am not an American but I can’t help but follow its politics, and I do not agree with any politician who doesn’t support basic core human rights, no matter if I live in that country or not.
I will not be recommending Trump’s items again either, but I just wanted to touch upon this point that while it is admirable we’re skewering Ivanka Trump by her supporting her father and his wild theories and promises, remember that while Americans and the world thinks that this man cannot win, that George W. Bush won …. TWICE….when no one thought he would.
Just keep that in mind.
Moving on to the point of this post…
Why do we feel comfortable shaming celebrities like Ivanka Trump for her values, yet we don’t look at ourselves as being culprits?
See, there’s a guilt we all carry and should carry with purchasing items from companies that not only harm our bodies, our children, but our environment and other nameless, faceless masses of citizens of Third World countries?
It’s because it’s easy.
It is a single, individual face we can recognize and put as the face of the problem.
OUR SOULS ARE FOR SALE
It is easy to take a look at Ivanka, see this privileged blonde woman stand up and be okay with her misogynist father supporting that women deserve to be treated as second-class citizens, molested and raped….
….yet after ranting anonymously (or not) online, and writing wonderful op-ed articles denouncing the whole Trump machine, we go out to stores like Wal-Mart or even Dollarama and purchase our comforting Kraft Dinners made by Mondelez, filled with orange powder that they dare to call “cheese”, and toss a few armfuls of cheap, colourful “affordable” clothing into our carts made in Bangladesh, India, and China, while finishing off with a nice McDonald’s run full of food that obviously makes us feel sick after eating it?
It’s just not Ivanka, it could be anyone really.
Martha Stewart, Kathie Lee… tons of people (only women mostly, and strangely & perverse observation) have had their public personas propped up on pikes and paraded around in to be shamed.
(I am envisioning Cersei in Game of Thrones right now – Shame! Shame! Shame!)
We vote with our money every day, don’t we?
I am absolutely not a saint in this regard, having a childhood fondness for Oreos (I ate a few and got so sick I had to throw them away), and long-time readers know how long I have struggled to avoid buying such items (as I blog on a Macbook made in China by Apple), and I am by no means perfect, but I am trying.
I struggle with this because I feel guilt.
I feel shame each time I buy something and have to go through a whole gamut of thoughts, thinking about whether or not it is ethical to do so.
Or even ethical to NOT do so.
Readers in the past have brought up EXCELLENT debate points about how if we don’t buy cheap crap from Third World countries, they have ZERO chances of making a living.
They actually pray for such factories to open so that they can make pennies a day to do something, anything to stop their families from starving.
Why do you think for instance, you see so many Indonesian and Filipina women working as nannies?
It saddens me each time I go to the playground, meet one, and ask them how THEY are and what THEY want.
I hear lots of stories about how they couldn’t find work back where they were from, so they decided to do what their mothers and grandmothers have done, and become nannies for families around the world; mostly concentrated in Asia, but I see a fair number of them in my ‘hood, pushing around babies and taking care of children who are clearly not their own (blonde, blue-eyed, white).
I hear stories about how they leave their families back in the Phillippines with their grandmothers, and they send back money.
They send back money to feed and take care of their children, whom they only see twice a year if they’re lucky.
TWICE A YEAR.
They see their own children only twice a year, while having to take care of someone else’s family (like their own) full-time because they live abroad.
Can you imagine the pain they must feel? I can.
Furthermore, you may not know that a large percentage of that money (I think I recall half of it) GOES TO THEIR GOVERNMENT.
So even if you pay $1000 a month (or more) for a nanny (plus food, healthcare, expenses), half of that goes to the government, or at least close to half.
They don’t get to keep all of that money.
Maybe if they had a sweatshop there, they wouldn’t be abroad because even though you may be paying a lot for a nanny from those countries
But what can a consumer like me do?
Can I truly just stop buying stuff?
Can I stop buying completely unless I only buy ethically?
How do I know what I am doing is right or wrong?
Is it really also my problem that governments around the world (not just the ones mentioned in Asia as there are a ton from Africa too) are so corrupt that they allow this to happen to their own citizens, and they take kickbacks as well as profit off the blood, sweat and tears of their own kind?
If their governments don’t care, why do I?
You know what…?
Why do I care?
I don’t know.
This is something I’m struggling deeply with and still don’t have an answer to.
Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
My only response to this, is to struggle with buying anything at retail, and in terms of shopping mindlessly, to thrift more often for frivolous things like clothing.
I don’t need any more clothes, but I want them and I feel terrible each time I think and say that.
Maybe I am in denial.
But should I be punishing myself for the sins of others? Denying what I want?
Maybe I should think about changing what I want instead.
More food for thought.
But before we start telling celebrities off for their unethical, terrible positions against the core of human rights, those living in glass houses (bubbles?) should not be throwing stones.