In the last week alone I had at least a dozen of e-mails, marketing their slogan merchandise to me. Neither of them convinced me to make the purchase, quite the opposite in fact and let me tell you why.
As a woman in my early 40s, I have lived a full life thus far and while I have always been vocal in my support for my friends, colleagues and strangers, when their work or deeds inspire me, I don’t feel the need to use tag lines or wear a slogan merchandise, as it doesn’t define who I am. A sweatshirt or tee doesn’t speak for me, my voice does in theory, but in actual fact it is my actions or written words that I expect people to judge me on and form opinion, not what I wear on my body or carry on my back or shoulder.
With the rise of MeToo, we are seeing a rise in the number of feminists and activists. It seems that everyone now has a story of abuse to tell, even when many years has passed. Everyone seems to be having mental problems. The longer all this goes on, the more cynical I am becoming of the motivation of certain brands and people. How do you tell the difference between genuine suffering or blunt cynicism and desire to make a profit on something that seems to be making the headlines, when you don’t know the person?
I have been in many situations when women who talk of supporting others, are in fact building their careers by standing on the shoulders of others and not necessarily acknowledging this. In some ways the situation now reminds me of the situation perfectly played out in the movie ‘Working Girl’. Women have always been very competitive with each other and in some ways in a more mean way than men. We smile, then we bitch when the person at who we were smiling at moment ago has left the room. We promise support, then move on swiftly, unless there is something in it for us. We ask for support, but don’t necessarily reciprocate, when later a person who gave us a helping hand asks for some assistance with something they need. Isn’t it time we started acting, rather then pretending to care, by purchasing merchandise with slogans that are in today and gone tomorrow?
We all are so multi-layered & so complex as human beings, that by simply judging a person based on a sweatshirt they are wearing, we are trivialising things that might be quite meaningful. Words have meaning, tag lines less so ( can someone explain to me what does Clean beauty or Clean eating actually mean ?), yet their use seems to be increasingly widespread, as retailers and publications want to please & placate the millennial segment of the marketplace. How do brands distribute the profits made on slogan merchandise & who does it actually benefit – the brand or the movement? That’s the question that I am pondering.