Like I addressed in my previous post about Decolonization, a patriarchal practice that happens too often is the domination of the land. Hierarchical systems make us believe that we are for some reason entitled to land and regardless of what the earth does for us, they take and take away from nature and leave no way to fix it. Again, future generations are left to clean up the mess that is left once companies are done tearing away the Earth for their benefit.
Ecofeminism is about the devastation of the Earth and her beings. Most of the Earth’s demise has been done by big corporations who use unethical ways to mass produce products that emit fossil fuels and take away from our well being. The first people that are affected by these issues are women and children and the laborers who work for big companies are often underpaid and mistreated.
While we can’t reverse the effects of what these corporations have done to the Earth completely, we can begin to make a change. Change never happens from the top down, it always goes from the bottom up. One way we can do this is with Smart Consumerism, or voting with your dollar. Fast Fashion is cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from celebrities and popular culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed.
These products have a very short turnaround time between when a trend or garment is seen on the catwalk and when it hits the shelves due to the offshore manufacturing where labor is the cheapest, with the use of workers on low wages without adequate rights or safety. And stores continue to get more customers because of the limited quantity of a particular garment. With new stock arriving in store every few days, shoppers know if they don’t buy something they like they’ll probably miss their chance.
This theory is problematic. Cheap, low-quality materials cause clothes to degrade after just a few wears and get thrown away. This also leads to body shaming and fashion shaming issues where people don’t feel like they can fit in unless they have the latest trends. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter of clean water globally (after agriculture).
The use of cheap, toxic textile dyes and fabrics like polyester, which is derived from fossil fuels and shed microfibers, contribute to more pollution in our oceans. Unfortunately, natural fabrics are just as bad; cotton takes up water and pesticides in developing countries, 300 kgs of chemicals are used for every 900 kg of animal hides to be tanned. In Spring 2017, 235 million pieces of clothing were sent to landfills just in the UK.
You can quit fast fashion, fortunately. Small steps can be implemented in our daily lives to stop relying on fast fashion.
- Ask yourself whether you would have worn it three years ago or would wear it in three years
- Pack your winter clothes away in the summer and vice versa (fall in love with your clothes again)
- Choose Eco-friendly products
- Organic Cotton: doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and costs more so the farmers who are producing these are being paid more (Bhumi, Kowtow, Ecodownunder)
- Linen: Most biodegradable fabric and durable (Conscious Clothing)
- Denim: Producing one pair of Levi jeans takes 3781 gallons of water, 11% of global pesticides, harmful chemicals, and dyes, and sandblasting
It is important to remember that just because you do buy from these companies, you are not devalued or do not care about the Earth. Capitalism is systemic. Recognizing that you are a part of a system and that system is corrupt is a great way to start being conscious of the mediums around us and seeing how they influence you.
Vote with your dollar when you see this. Buy local and buy from companies that you feel have a platform that aligns with your ideas.
Film about the true cost of manufacturing fast fashion: