TODAY'S GREEN MANTRA: I will make purchases which empower not exploit
Day 64 / 365
It's International Women's Day, and thus, writing about eco aprons might seem a little off theme for such a celebration, but ... I see equality as equality, to me an apron doesn't hold a gender, it's simply a practical tool for not ruining your gear when slopping around in the kitchen. Regardless of what you've got going on between your legs.
In our home, my husfriend is both the main breadwinner and the head chef, these facts are not a reflection of inequality for either gender, they're a reflection of the natural balance we've arrived to as a couple. As two individual human beings with different skills and hobbies.
Homeboy loves to cook, he gets a huge amount of joy listening to podcasts while he does it and comes out all bright eyed and proud of his creations, as he should be. I myself don't mind cooking, but I definately wouldn't describe my time in the kitchen as 'joyous', and thus, I take care of the breakfasts and gratefully bow out for my lover to work his magic the rest of the day.
Conversely, when we were building out our VW Van, it turned out I had more experience in woodworking, this was no reflection of my husband's 'lack of manliness', it was simply an example of women's rights working. I had been allowed to pursue whatever interests suited me in school, without any fears of bias. My mother and grandmother's generation had fought those battles for me, long before I arrived on this Earth, and I was lucky enough, when I fell from the starts, to land in the womb of a strong independent women who lived in a country where women are liberated and free.
To me, International Women's Day is about celebrating the historical, social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. It's also about the celebration of good men, who encourage and support all the women in their lives to pursue anything they desire and who put no limits on what could be achieved. The world is a better place because of these growths. But we're not done growing yet.
The 'international' part of IWD is less about women in the first world and more about women in parts of the world where urgent action is needed, and one of the industries where 'foreign' women suffer greatly is the fashion industry.
From the farmers in fields inhaling chemicals and tainting their own water supply to grow the fibres we'll eventually wear - to the women in factories working inhumane hours in unsafe working conditions for slave wages - to the society the clothing is destined for, which celebrates and rewards unobtainable beauty standards which drives young girls to understand they'll be valued for their looks alone and the insecurities those pressures creates a hole which we attempt to fill with 'stuff' which perpetuates the pattern.
The difference between 'us' with unobtainable beauty standards to meet, and the women who create the 'stuff' we use to enhance our esteem is: we have a choice. We as women of the first world have the power to obstruct this story, the 'others' do not. So whether it be through fashion or another industry we have the choice, with each purchase we make, to vote for or against humanity, to vote for or against equality and to vote for or against our planet.
You walk into Forever 21 (or any other 'mall' / 'high street' shop) and make a purchase you are voting against biodiversity, you're voting against clean water, you're voting against farmers, you're voting against the women who sew your clothing, and you're voting FOR objectification, inequality and pollution.
Sure, it's unintentional, but that's what you're doing. You're standing up and clapping long enough to encourage an encore, and an encore is exactly what we get.
So, whether its gender neutral aprons made ecologically and ethically, or a pair of sodding socks. We all need to wake up and smell the fair trade coffee, and try to understand what it all really means. Most of us in the first world don't vote with our dollars for the things we say we believe in, we update our status' and throw paragraphed fits, but we don't actually DO anything to encourage balance and equality between genders, races, religions, countries and this planet. We just bask in the ignorance our blessed 'freedom' has lent us, and on a few days like this one, we might think about what brief sections of this story and others like it means to US, but not what that means to the rest of the souls who inhabit this planet alongside us.
This post isn't really about aprons, I just saw no reason not to write about them and no reason not to encourage deeper contemplation and conscious consumption. I'm going to hero some brands who ARE producing aprons with mama earth in mind and empowering women at the same time (here and abroad). As that is how all things should be produced and how all people, regardless of gender, should be treated. With equality. With dignity. With Love. End of.
Lets celebrate our progress and take action in accelerating gender parity by voting with our dollar for every single purchase we make. and promote positive change and exponential growth across the board. For women. For mama earth. For humanity.
UNISEX - FAIRTRADE - SWEAT SHOP FREE - ETHICAL - MADE BY EMPOWERED WOMEN
UNISEX - FAIRTRADE - SWEAT SHOP FREE - ETHICAL - MADE BY EMPOWERED WOMEN
Rather than creating dependency on aid, Full Circle Exchange takes a market-based approach to alleviate poverty by advancing entrepreneurial solutions rooted in the dignity and creative capacity of the individual. By focusing on poverty reduction through job readiness training, job creation, improved incomes, education and access to global markets, we believe that, when equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.
Their hemp denim aprons are a blend of hemp and certified organic cotton. Hemp has eight times the tensile strength and four times the durability of other natural fibres, and is mildew resistant and anti- microbial. It is also self-extinguishing and won't burn like cotton, or melt like synthetic fabrics. All in all an excellent yarn for kitchen and dining areas. Each one of these aprons is made in a fairtrade, sweat-shop free environment.
(from their site) Recycled, handmade and durable are a few qualities of our reversible aprons that are lined on the inside with hand block-printed kalamkari fabrics. Made from discarded or rejected digitally printed polyvinyl billboard advertisements, these aprons will surely encourage you to try out a new recipe every day. These aprons are the perfect eco-friendly accessory for your kitchen or gift for nature lovers, environmentalists, foodies or home chefs. These fantastic recycled aprons are hand-stitched by women artisans at Speed Trust, a non-profit organization located in the southern part of India. This organization supports socially and economically disadvantaged women from urban slum areas through vocational training, financial support and income generation.
Loving Africa promotes the work of emerging, underrepresented South African artists. They are dedicated to supporting women with 95% of the 400+ artists they represent female. In rural areas of South Africa, art and handcrafts provide an important source of income, especially for women who have limited options and resources to productive employment. By supporting Loving Africa, you're empowering their artisans.
One of Eco Habitude's brands, Scrappy, makes their collection from a product called Ecophab which is a line of fabrics made from 100% recycled soda bottles which is printed on with non-toxic inks. Each one is designed, printed, cut and sewn by women paid well over the minimum wage.
Photos: Shane Woodward
Syling: Nada Abou El Dahab and Kellie-Marie Burdekin
Location: Dean's Court