An Essay on Shopping & Our Consumerist Society

As we come to the end of the year, I have a few things that I want to discuss. I’ve been reflecting and mulling over these thoughts for a while now but did not know my stance or how to fully articulate my thoughts. Let’s get on with it anyways and talking about excessive spending – both on makeup and clothing.

Granted, I am not the worst offender out there; as a student, I only have a certain amount of money I can spend on semi-frivolous ‘unnecessary’ items such as cosmetics (since I am not a professional). However, I have far more than the average makeup-wearer. While I love almost each and every single one of my products, I recently started taking inventory of what I’ve got and it almost makes me feel guilty for the sheer amount of stuff I have. I mean, who needs 70 different lip products?

Or so much eyeshadow?

This is not to say that I am against shopping altogether – I bought a lot of makeup in Europe, some when I went to the US, and I even picked up a think or two during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. What I am trying to do though is be more conscientious about my purchases. This is how:

  • write lists to track if the item would be an impulse by or a well thought out purchase
  • watch Kimberly Clark’s anti-hauls to keep strong on the path of anti-consumerism
  • unsubscribe from most/all promotional emails
  • if shopping, use Ebates (Canada / US) when buying online in order to save a little money

I have gotten tired of the same old ‘you need this’ rhetoric on YouTube, namely in hauls and new palette releases. The hype disgusts me (and yes, I know it is a strong word) because it just perpetuates this need for more. I have gotten sucked into it – hence the size of my makeup collection now. And I don’t even wear makeup for majority of the week! Sleep is more important to me and so I am not even making full use of all the pretty colours.

With all this being said, my promise to myself for 2017 is to be more mindful about my purchases. I do not subscribe to the idea of denying myself, but I will think through every single purchase to see if it will add value to my life and to my current products. Additionally, I will be culling products I do not use by passing them on to family or friends. I am not a fan of wastage as good money was spent on those products but keeping them indefinitely is not healthy either. Definitely do a makeup swap with other makeup lovers if you’re having the same problem!

Now let’s talk clothing. I know, you thought I’d finished, right? Well, not quite yet! One of the lovely and talented artists I follow on Instagram posted this, and it basically summarizes the whole point. Just as I mentioned earlier about the fixation on having stuff, the same concept applies to makeup and the idea of ‘fast clothing’ – think Forever 21, H&M, Walmart, etc. I am a repeat offender, and realistically will continue to be one due to living on a student budget. But it is a good thing to be aware of these issues nonetheless.

Love Black Friday Sales? Love cheap and affordable clothing? Do you buy more than what you actually need? It's awesome when we can afford new things we can indulge in or spend money on something we like but don't necessarily need or wear. We complain when a pair of jeans are $50 more expensive than the previous store. We spend money on things without ever considering, WHO really pays the price. WHAT are WE allowing to continue when we complain that clothes needs to be cheaper, ask for coupon codes, and sales? Do we really need 5 pairs of the same style shoes in different color just because it was $10? When I was younger I remember watching this short documentary about these kids. KIDS younger than I was, making jeans. And this kid wrote a letter and left it in a pocket of a pair of jeans, telling his story, that he hopes that whom ever wear those jeans he sew likes them. Back then, it made me realise to appreciate everything, even clothing. But along the way I forgot about it. Then @truecostmovie came on netflix and this changed everything. These people behind our clothing have been suffering for too long. Living in poverty. Barely surviving. I know the video here can be too much for some people, too sad to watch. But ask yourself this… If you can't stand watching this 1 minute video of this documentary that shows you how the REAL WORLD is today -imagine, just imagine how these people who sew the clothes you're wearing right is doing right now? We can do so much better than this. We can truly change this if we start changing our way of shopping. Choose fairtrade. Choose recycled. Choose second hand clothing. Support businesses who are trying to end this cruelty. Spread awareness about it. No one deserves a life like in poverty. No one deserves to die because we want cheaper things.🙏🏼 Watch the documentary💕❤️ #nataschap#truecostmovie

A post shared by Natascha Pedersen (@nataschap) on

At the end of the day, contributing to somebody else’s plight just does not feel right. It will be a long process to move towards more sustainable clothing choices, but I am now cognizant of the situation and will try my best.

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