What it Really Means for Millennials to Kill Something

mayo (1)Maybe you’ve seen the latest in my favourite internet genre, Industries the Millennials are Killing, a frankly bananas screed about mayonnaise, political correctness, the greatest generation, and the “Taylor Swift of condiments” all sprinkled with anachronistic young people speak from a Baby Boomer refusing to go gentle into that good night. Instead she is raging, raging against the dying of the light (of mayo-based salads).  Continue reading “What it Really Means for Millennials to Kill Something”

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How Do You Evaluate Health Claims?

pom_wonderful_ad_540It seems like every day there is a new health fad people are talking about on Facebook, mentioning in the office, or being made into a documentary of questionable truth value. Many, if not all, of these play on our deep wish to be in control of bodies that simply refuse to do as we say. And in a society that is deeply unjust, that is facing increasing anxiety about climate change, fears of nuclear war due to a certain orange monster, and unreasonable capitalistic expectations when it comes to labour and work/life boundaries (or lack there of) these fads gain traction quickly. We all want that magic bullet that will insulate us from disease, pain, and suffering. And most of us are not trained in evidence-based medicine. Very few of us, unfortunately, are given the tools to properly evaluate health claims. So I’m offering a crash course in evaluating health (or other scientific, but I’ll focus on health) claims. Continue reading “How Do You Evaluate Health Claims?”

A Primer on Neoliberalism

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I’m obsessed with neoliberalism. I’m fascinated by it as an ideology, and I’m fascinated by how successful it’s been in such a short time. Mostly, I’m fascinated by how pervasive it is–infecting every corner of life in the Western world–and yet how successfully it has remained invisible.

Like it’s brother capitalism, it’s become an ideology that just is. Ask most people what neoliberalism is and they’ll shrug. But ask them their views on government’s role in society, on privatization, on healthcare or welfare or trade and they’ll be either espousing or critiquing neoliberalism.

Because it’s become the toxic water we swim in–that is, invisible yet fundamental to shaping how we live–I thought it might be useful to offer a little primer on neoliberalism as well as some of the ways we see its impacts. Especially because a lot of writing on neoliberalism is far from accessible, and that is one of the ways we remain unable to fight it. When we don’t have language for what we’re fighting, nor the full scope of the problem, it’s hard–if not impossible–to mount an effective and broad opposition.

So first, what is neoliberalism? It’s a political ideology (that is, a way of understanding, organizing, and governing the world) that emphasizes and prizes individualism over collectivism and encourages consumption as a source of identity and the primary way that we engage with society. Continue reading “A Primer on Neoliberalism”

Beware the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: On Empowering Language and New Year Marketing

New Year Graphic.pngIf you listen to as many podcasts as I do, you’ve no doubt heard ads for the new Huawei Fit. The copy goes something like this:

“The fitness tracker for every BODY. You don’t have to be a super fit athlete, the Huawei fitness tracker is designed to meet you where you’re at.” Continue reading “Beware the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: On Empowering Language and New Year Marketing”

Things I’ve Learned From Sewing My Own Clothes

For those readers who are my real life/social media friends, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve picked up a new hobby. My Instagram has been flooded with pics of my burgeoning self-made wardrobe (sorry/you’re welcome).

And I’ve learned some big lessons. Here are a few of them:

Sizing
Anyone who wears women’s clothes knows that shopping is a battlefield–if for no other reason (and oh, there are so many other reasons) than that sizing is all over the place. You’re a squiggle here, a dog there, an expansive universe at this other place, and that store for teens seems to have a forcefield that repels you if you approach. Initially I wrote those as numbers but then I realized that a) some people find numbers tricky and b) they’re as nonsensical as a squiggle, dog, and expansive universe so why not be honest? Continue reading “Things I’ve Learned From Sewing My Own Clothes”

Let’s Talk About Hunger

I was at the gym today and saw an ad on one of the many televisions for SlimFast. Its selling point, other than a bunch of thin white women smiling, was that it “controls hunger for up to 4 hours.”

It controls hunger.

Let’s think about that. It doesn’t satisfy hunger, it controls it.

We (especially us women but not only) are taught to have an adversarial relationship with hunger. To see it as a problem, an enemy, a danger that must be controlled.  Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Hunger”

In Praise of Things

I was at a new friend’s (lovely) apartment for the first time last night and there was a moment that struck me–he looked around his home and said, “We’re really big fans of things.”

photo (1)I was struck by that this morning as I looked at my shelf of beloved, carefully chosen mugs–each one bringing joy for a different reason–the cheerful turquoise chevron, the pug mug with a pun. Continue reading “In Praise of Things”

52in52: Centering Female Directors

In an oppressive world you have to actively work to avoid propping up the status quo. One way people have been doing this lately is by challenging themselves to consume media differently, whether that’s reading only women, POCs and LBGTQ+ authors for a year or pledging to watch 52 films made by women in the next year. I make a point to support the kinds of media I want to see–I make sure to go to feminist films in theatre, I support films starring and centering people of colour, I support independent radio. But this has been an ad hoc extension of my politics, rather than an organized strategy. Continue reading “52in52: Centering Female Directors”

Fast Fashion and the Illusion of Wealth

I watched True Cost today, a documentary about the profound ecological, health, labour, and human rights consequences of fast fashion. For those who are generally aware of how and what they consume it is not new, but it is stark. I would highly recommend everyone seek it out.

There was a particular idea put forth by Livia Firth, an executive producer of the film and creative director of Eco-Age (and wife to Colin) that I found particularly interesting. It tweaked my interest in neoliberalism and how profoundly the ideology has shaped the world in the past thirty years. Specifically, it was the idea that fast fashion allows us to maintain the illusion of wealth. It was just a sentence in a larger conversation about human rights and sustainability in fashion, but one I wanted to explore. Continue reading “Fast Fashion and the Illusion of Wealth”