We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, April 21, 2014

Taking On the Fashion Industry

Click here to access a book review of Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy E. Hoskins posted on MRZine. 

The fashion industry's operations provide an excellent example of how capitalism works from one end, the exploitation of working people, to the other end of consumption driven by advertising, the engine of consumption. This book appears to provide an excellent exploration of this key industry of capitalism. 
The exploitation of consumers in New York or London is clearly less horrifying than the treatment of workers in Bangladesh, but it remains exploitation.  Frequently using and reinforcing racist and sexist stereotypes, fashion pressures working people here to consume, and to consume more than they can afford.  Women especially are subjected to "constant messages that [they] must diet, must get cosmetic surgery, buy clothes and feel bad about themselves," Hoskins writes.  And those of us who can resist the omnipresent pressure to buy are still compelled to "dress for success" if we hope to get and hold most types of job.