Is Fast Fashion a Feminist Issue?
One of our favourite podcasts On The Rag (a local feminist podcast presented by our faves The Spinoff) asked to come over and talk to our Rose about Fast Fashion, and more specifically, is it a feminist issue.
The issue deserves more than a cute 47 second sound bite, so please read and consider why fast fashion could be considered a feminist issue:
With over 40 million garment workers in the world, the majority of these people are women. These people are also the most vulnerable of our global community; They are solo mothers, refugees, widows, carers of sick and elderly. They live in countries that have a recent war-torn history who have corrupt governments and employers who don't keep them in safe working conditions that don't recognise unions and don't pay fairly for labour.
Some argue that these workers would otherwise have no job, but I reject this notion as it should be a human right to have a safe work place where you get paid fairly for your labour.
Our consumer spend is the only solution for these profit-thirsty, fast fashion companies to consider change (read more here), which would set off a chain reaction with these crooked governments and manufacturing employers that continue to exploit these 40 million garment workers as they fear that their biggest clients like H&M, Zara, Top shop, Glassons, et al, will move to a different country for the same product.
But as it is, our sisters across the globe are trapped in a cycle of poverty, with no hope for a different future for themselves or their children. And why? So we can look and feel 'cool' in some $17.50 piece that represents the suffering of a person who wasn't as lucky at birth to be paired with first-world parents. The cost of that fast fashion piece is so much more than $17.50 for the people who make it, just to service my ego?
It's very easy at this point in the conversation to then have pangs of privilege pain! But, remember: Society has taught you to hate yourself. To compare yourself to other women. Prettier women. Cooler women. The massive marketing industry have invested billions of dollars into new and original ways to remind you that you will look and feel better when you present yourself differently. Just last week, I got a targeted ad that said "you've heard of a face mask, but consider a leg mask!" What? The? Heck? Is? Wrong? With? My? Legs? There is nothing wrong with my partners (M) legs, and there sure as heck is not anything wrong with my (F) legs.
To finish, I'd like to say a point that the On The Rag podcast often says: "Would you [insert a beauty practice you do / clothes you might buy here] if you were on a desert island?" This helps to monitor my decisions, as it reminds me to only partake in beauty and fashion if I am doing it for myself. And while i am thinking about myself, I'll think about my sisters, and do what I can to withhold paying for their exploitation. And I'll pay what I need to pay (and what it is actually worth) to support brands who are making an actual tangible difference in their lives by keeping them safe, and paying them well.