Fashion Choice

The clothing one wears can be a status symbol.

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It is a way for us to communicate to the world who we are and who we wish to be.

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It can even determine whether or not one may fit into certain social groups.

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We have so many choices when deciding how we wish to represent ourselves through our clothing styles.  Yet many others do not have this opportunity because poverty prevents them from doing so.

I have come to think of ‘fashion’ as a means for capitalistic exploitation of others.  Much of the clothing that we consume is produced by cheap overseas labor, where mainly women and girls endure horrific conditions to produce our ‘fashions’.  We’ve all heard the news about the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh where over a thousand workers died, right?  I hope so.  Here is a blog post that speaks of this tragedy with an interesting view concerning clothing choices, and it also speaks of alternative ways in which some of us may choose to identify – a different sort of ‘status’, I suppose.  This status can be thought of as living intentionally through informed decisions.

Here is an online yes! magazine article that gives a slightly different view of clothing choice. This article explains how the exportation of cheap grain affects world markets & the living conditions of people in other countries, while at the same time it (conviently for us) produces cheap overseas garment factory labor so that we may purchase inexpensive fashion clothing.  U.S. grain, (cheap on the world market because of our unsustainalbe farming methods & tax dollar funded government farming subsidies) is flooded into the world market, displacing farmers in other countires who flee to cities where they find that they have little choice but to be exploited as cheap factory labor.

Our tax dollars create poverty situations in other nations so that we may then benefit from cheap overseas labor to produce inexpensive goods for our pleasure and consumption.  In this economic ‘relationship’ we, the citizens of the U.S., maintain a position of power and privilege over others.

These articles speak of a certain aspect of social stratification – that of inequality between nations – and how some nations (such as ours) maintain an oppressive force of economic power over people in other nations – a power that allows us the privege of fashion choice at the expense of others’ ability to simply meet their basic needs.

We, in the U.S. have the privilege of choice.  With that privilege, I am ever more increasingly choosing to make consumer choices by living intentionally through informed decisions.

“We but mirror the world.  All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.  This is the divine mystery supreme.  A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Guerilla Gardening


http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.html

Ron Finley describes himself as an artist.  His canvas is unused city-owned land and his paints are fruit and vegetable plants.   Inspiration for his work came from looking closely at his ‘own backyard’ and realizing that the problem and the solution are one and the same: food.  What he saw was a food desert where the only food available was fast food, and he also saw the declining health of the South Central Los Angles population, and a city that has almost 26 square miles of city-owned vacant land, enough space to grow approximately three-quarters of a million tomato plants!.  Finley’s solution for his neighborhood’s problems is to engage in guerrilla gardening and to grow healthy and accessible food in what he names a ‘food forest’.

Guerrilla gardening is growing food on unused land that is often an abandoned site or other area not being maintained.  Guerrilla gardening is a form of political activism – nonviolent direct action or constructive program – and it is intended to create positive social change – specifically, the dismantling of the domination system in our food system. Where gardens such as Finley’s food forest spring up, amazing things begin to happen. Community gardens work to reduce the impact of poor nutrition by improving access to healthy food.  Yet they empower us to do so much more than simply that:

  • They can improve our health through exercise, fresh air and sunshine in addition to providing us with fresh and nutritious locally grown food.
  • They build community through the formation of community garden clubs.
  • They act as education centers that teach about gardening and the environment, plus exercise, healthy food choices, how to work together in community, and how to bring about positive social change.
  • They provide us with a new hobby to enjoy, and one that pays benefits instead of costing money.
  • They improve our environments and help us to save limited natural resources.
  • They provide for more nutritious meals while spending less money so that we may reach out and help others too.

Guerrilla Gardening is a fine example of living more-with-less.

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why Choose a More-with-Less Lifestyle?

A More-with-Less lifestyle is a very good way to promote social justice in the world, because how we use money has an impact on others.

Living More-with-Less is not only about spending less money and living frugally, it is about using money in a just way.

Consider the words of Robert Martin, author of Abnormal Anabaptist, as he discusses the issues of justice as it relates to the Kermit Gosnell case.

‘How many times have I had the opportunity to use my money to help someone else and, instead, have used it on my own selfish desires?’

There are many reasons why women turn to the types of services that Gosnell provided – and a major one is poverty – and the feelings of despair caused by the inability to care for a new life.  If we can change the structural violence inherent in our social systems that allow for great inequalities in income and power, we could greatly diminish poverty, broken families, and the other causes behind these difficult decisions women and their health-care providers make.  We all participate in an unjust economic system that rewards the ‘1%’ to a very great degree while at the same time it leaves the remaining ‘99%’ fighting over the crumbs.  Economists explain this as competing for ‘scarce’ resources.

I have to ask, are resources really scarce?  Or are they simply used in unjust ways?  Again, I turn to the words of Robert Martin, concerning the good stewardship of our resources,

‘We are all guilty. We all deserve punishment.’

‘I pray, fervently, for God to move in me, to show me what I can do in my community and world so that things like the Women’s Health Clinic will no longer have a place.’

Amen

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sharing is Caring

A reader, Jill, just shared a source for fairly traded clothing .  Jill wrote to me and let me know that this company only works with cooperatives that benefit women.  She reasoned that, “statistically, when you lift a woman out of poverty, you lift her children too. Women sent their children to school as soon as they could afford to do so”.    This company is Global Girlfriend.

Global Girlfriend is part of The GreaterGood Network of websites that offers the public a unique opportunity to support causes they care about.

Every purchase in their suite of online stores gives a charity royalty of from 5-30% to a specific worthy cause.

I hope everyone has a few moments to check these websites out.

Thanks so much for sharing, Jill!

© Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nancy Babbitt and Just Desserts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.