painfully conscious: the worst part of ethical shopping
The title of this post isn't clickbait.
I'm not going tell you something blindly optimistic like, "The worst part of ethical shopping is finding somewhere to display the trophies the world will bestow upon you for doing the right thing."
The phrase "conscious consumer" gets tossed around quite a bit these days. I find myself using the term frequently, but recently I've been digging deeper into what it truly means.
It's all too easy to meet someone who identifies as a "conscious consumer" and subconsciously translate that to "perfect consumer." (which, by the way, doesn't exist.) When that person inevitably purchases something "unethical" we write them off as a hypocrite, and we want no part of hypocrisy.
I think it's time we reconsider the way we define conscious consumerism.
To be conscious is not to be perfect.
To be conscious is to be aware.
Since launching Selflessly Styled, I've had several people confront me about hypocrisy. For example, they see me speaking out about ethical fashion, but doing so on a computer that was probably made by child laborers. I welcome these conversations as they cause me to continually search my intentions and motivations.
While I'm confident in only purchasing clothes ethically, I have a long way to go when I comes to sifting through other purchases.
Although I can't purchase perfectly in every area of life, I am increasingly CONSCIOUS of my purchases. I think about where things come from and try to make the best choice.
Sometimes the best choice is just the lesser of two evils. I am aware of that, and it is painful.
Once you become aware of the injustice in one industry, it's virtually impossible to ignore the injustices in all industries.
It's painful to see.
And that's okay.
In fact, it's GOOD.
It means you're awake.
And once you're aware, chances are, you aren't going to make as many impulsive purchases. Little by little, you'll work at making your impact on the world a more positive one. It may start by changing your closet and move outward to your housewares. Any shift towards mindful shopping is better than nothing.
So I will continue to type away on my unethically-made computer because there are no ethical laptop companies (someone, start one!) I'm not going to boycott computers in an attempt an personal perfection.
I would rather be labeled a hypocrite and actually be making a difference in the world.
Personal perfection is not the goal. (hallelujah)
Justice and change have always been and will always be the priority.
I personally believe the fashion industry is the easiest area to confidently shop ethically in, it's also one of the industries with the most prevalent and exposed exploitation of workers.
It's a really good place to start.
You can make a really big impact.
And when the consciousness starts to hurt, at least you'll know that you're moving in the right direction.