I’ve never written anything political on the blog for fear of being met with controversial backlash, but here goes. This is a blog about veganism and we also write about sustainable fashion which are political statements in themselves. I believe that my core values effect my political beliefs and that everything is interconnected. My generation are often critiqued for not caring enough about relevant issues, spending too much time on Facebook etc. etc. The more I hear such criticism the more it makes me want to prove myself as an upstanding and active member of our society. Being a millennial, how else am I supposed to go about this other than write it on my blog?
In the era of Trump, refugee crises and missile threats, it’s easy to feel helpless and let the political situation play out (literally, because the evening news now feels like a daily satirical comedy show) without getting involved. I generally resort to a ‘there’s nothing I can do’ attitude, but yesterday I read a really great article in the Telegraph Magazine that changed my mind. It’s about 20 year old Leonetta Fendi, fashion royalty and an Heiress of the luxury brand Fendi. Among other things she discuses her plans to be politically involved. ‘I want to go into politics. I want to help people and change things.’ I was inspired by her comments on activism and the power of small initiatives.
She reminded me that institutional politics isn’t the only way you can make a difference, and made my reflect on my own political involvement. On a side note, I admire hugely that she is open about not having her path all figured out yet. As someone born into a high powered family, there must be immense pressure to build her own identity. She wants to work in fashion but not as a designer for her family’s label. I’ll be really interested to see where Leonetta’s journey takes her, in terms of marrying political issues and fashion.
So, how can I be more involved in politics? I am no expert and definitely don’t think I know it all, but there ARE ways without studying politics or being well connected. I’ve come to the opinion that we all have our role to play. I am new to the politics game, I don’t have all the answers and I’m not claiming I do. My aim is to inspire even one person to have more of a positive outlook on their political power, self reflect and make simple changes. Here’s a list of a few things I already do, and a couple I’ve dreamt up overnight and want to incorporate in my daily life.
1. Think & act local. Now to be fair this isn’t something I have fully immersed myself in yet, but the theory behind it makes a lot of sense to me. Instead of getting dragged down by how depressing the bigger issues are, notice what you can do within your community. Volunteering, activist groups, local political meetings…they’re all important and can have a domino effect! I’m planning to use social media to find out about what’s going on in my area.
2. Vote with your wallet. In my opinion we don’t just cast our vote on Election Day. Every cent we spend is a vote with our consumer power and can support either oppression or ethical consumerism.
3. Align your lifestyle choices to reflect your beliefs. Don’t be all talk and no action. Whatever you’re into – feminism, veganism, environmental conservation – implement small personal changes and always strive to self improve. Currently I’m working on cutting down on plastic, buying organic vegetables and avoiding fast fashion.
4. Educate yourself. It’s so easy to turn a blind eye to things that don’t effect us or that we can’t see in daily life. They’re still going on. People are still suffering. Read the paper. Read non fiction. Once a week choose to watch a documentary about something current and relevant instead of mindlessly binge watching. Swap 7 minutes of instagram scrolling for watching my friend Bea’s YouTube video on how to educate yourself politically. Feel empowered.
5. Believe in the power of one. As cheesy as it sounds, imagine the world if Nelson Mandela never believed he could make change. Don’t be complacent and take your personal political power for granted, because some people would kill to have the freedom that we do.