What's wrong with the world? I am. [I stole that from G.K. Chesterton]
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Whelp. I'm Doing It.
Every time I walk into a Forever 21 I want to die a little inside. It's really only with that store. I think because a store like Forever 21 to me is the very pinnacle of capitalism: cheap CHEAP prices and tons and tons of variety. I mean really if you walked into that store the next day you probably wouldn't find the same article of clothing from the day before. Now, I've stopped purchasing from that store, but let's face it: many of the other stores I purchase clothing from aren't that much better--and I purchase a LOT of clothing, call it my addiction. There's a reason one of my RA's calls Old Navy "Old Slavey." What happens is that, as a capitalist, I want more bang for my buck, thus corporations, in order to appease my need for cheaper prices, outsource to places who will do more work for cheaper [i.e. China] thus taking jobs away from the U.S. and thus you have meltdowns known as Detroit, Michigan. A lot of people will argue that capitalism brings out the best competition wise--the best products at the lowest prices--but at the expense, I ask, of who? And if we're so concerned with lower prices at the expense of human beings [i.e. God's creations]...then aren't we worshipping money? As a person who certainly sees the downsides of capitalism, it turns out I'm very, very good at participating in it. And, combine that with low impulse control and a pleasure center that goes off when I buy stuff...well it just makes for a very bad combination. Yes, I've sat through classes about the workers in sweat shops and think it's horrible, but when I go to Target...and I see that dress...for only $20...and I look really good in it...I tend to just shove that knowledge right down where it came from, and then I become part of the problem. Nay, THE problem. Not good. Not good. This is not only wholly irresponsible as a person who follows Jesus, but as a human being and citizen of the world in general. I've done little things here and there to make the world better, but I haven't really given up things I'm obsessed with--aka buying clothes. We pray the Lord's prayer a lot--bringing heaven to earth--but it seems to me like we're not doing the best job sometimes [sometimes, not ALL the time]--but as people of privilege that comes with responsibility. I have far more than I need, and it doesn't seem very fair at all that people don't have clean water to drink but I have about 50 shirts to choose from on any given day. Really? Where is the equality in that? I guess lately I've been grossed out by the amount of STUFF I have. Stuff is EVERYWHERE. I get it for my birthday, for Christmas, I buy it for myself. Stuff, stuff, STUFF. I also think about the amount of environmental impact my shopping addiction has: I mean the gas that goes in my car to go to buy something, the materials it took to produce it, the materials to make the factory to produce the clothing, the gas it took to ship it to the H&M I purchased it from...you could really go on and on. And I use that time to go shop when I could do something worthwhile like read a book or volunteer or something. Therefore, I'm cutting out new-clothes buying for one year. Yup, I'm doing it. I half way committed at the beginning of the summer, then I FAILED. Miserably. Then, I am donating money to http://www.charitywater.org/ and http://www.onedayswages.org/, that I would have spent on clothing [which last year was far more then it needed to be]. The fact is, I always say, "Eh...I'm so poor." FALSE. I waste my money on shit. That's really the bottom line. I spend all this money on myself, I could stand to spend a little on other people. I mean I spend money on other people every once in awhile, but really in the grand scheme of things I am self-admittadly stingy, which is also a horrible misnomer as a Christian and everything that Jesus preaches against. Blech. I've had a lot of wake up calls that have shed light on how capitalism has corrupted my thinking about human beings and money and wealth and blah blah blah, so I'm doing something about it. Less talk, more action. The idea is--less money on clothes to buy things for me, more money for others. Now, I don't do this to toot my own horn, I promise, and I know it may come off as self-righteous or preachy which believe me isn't the intent at all because I thoroughly get annoyed when I feel guilted into something...but hopefully you will read this and think of something small you can commit to in order to help make an impact...be that buying fair trade coffee, buying fruit and veggies at your local farmer's market, voting, riding your bike to work twice a week, eating less meat, changing your lightbulbs to energy saving ones [after your old ones burn out of course], taking a reusable bag to the grocery store or using a reusable coffee cup when you hit up that fair trade coffee store, buying used clothing from Value Village instead of new clothes, signing a petition, what have you. I keep talking about making some sort of big impact...why not start small?