My Feminist New Year’s Resolution

Exams and essays are over, so I can finally get back to blogging! And update what I am going to do for a New Year’s resolution, though it feels like the New Year was ages ago now!

I usually set myself pretty unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions. Well, I don’t usually call them that so I don’t feel so guilty if I don’t achieve them. But this year, I’ve found something I want to keep to, something that will challenge me and should be both fun and rewarding.

So this year, I have decided that I will not be buying any clothes in high street shops. I will only be buying from charity shops, car boot sales, other second hand stores and ethical shops. The only exclusion I will allow myself is shoes. I have ridiculous problems finding shoes that fit my feet. Though, I bought a nice pair of kick-ass boots before Christmas and have a nice pair yet to be worn, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Underwear wise, I’m all stocked up after Christmas! Have many pairs of knickers and too many pairs of colourful tights, but if I do need more underwear, I shall deal with it when I come to it. Birthday presents may be less exciting than normal this year . . .

I have a number of ethical reasons for wanting to rise to this challenge. In achieving my resolution,  I will be boycotting major high street shops and labels. The workers for most of these shops (not just Primark!) have appalling working conditions and the workers are completely exploited. In buying from these shops, I feel that I wouldn’t just be taking part in the expoloitation, I would also be adding to capitalism and fuelling the system. I can’t go on pretending to be ignorant to these issues.

Research has shown that 80% of these workers are women. I don’t think I would be carrying out my feminist duty if I continued to add to the demand for cheaply produced clothes. As a student I cannot afford to shop in the ethically minded retailers so I’d simply rather not buy in places such as Primary and H&M. There is the argument that sweated trades help to sustain communities as without them the economies of many of these places would go rapidly downhill and more people would be faced with life-threatening poverty. I don’t know if this is just a comfortable excuse that can play a blind eye to what is going on so the vast majority of the population don’t feel bad about what they buy. I can’t accept the fact that these workers should be exploited for their own good.

Also,  I’m  fed up of the objectification and pressure when I go into high street stores. I don’t want to be faced with a number of cardboard models depicting what women should look like. The models are a poor representation of real women and clothes shopping can be completely frustrating if you don’t fit their target image. No matter how much I could spend in Topshop I could never look catwalk ready as the clothes appear to a particular image, e.g what body type, hair colour/style is currently popular. You could spend thousands of pounds keeping up with the latest styles and all you’d be left with is an empty purse.

And not to forget, my money will be going to a good cause. I’d love to make a monthly donation to a couple of charities but this doesn’t seem possible when most of my money goes towards food and bills.

All in all this sounds like a good idea, let’s just see how it goes! So far, it’s Jan 28th and I’ve bought two jumpers, two skirts, a waistcoat, four dresses and a retro apron for a grand total of £9. 25.

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