I had really hoped that the events of 2020 would’ve sharpened people’s priorities and perspectives. We had bushfires, a pandemic, economic uncertainty, family separation — and the Pollyanna in me thought these issues would divert people’s minds from pointless, attention-seeking fluff.
I was mistaken.
Apparently, there aren’t enough people of colour in *checks notes* ‘wellness’.
Against the current health and economic backdrop, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age thought it would make excellent editorial sense to publish a piece entitled ‘Rachael was in a yoga class when she realized wellness had a problem’. The article then goes on a thoroughly underwhelming journey from Rachael’s epiphany that wellness was for thin white females of privilege to her conquering the issue by introducing her own range of ‘self-care’ slogan t-shirts which she describes as ‘wearable activism’.
I sh*t you not.
Wellness goes from being ‘elitist’ to ‘accessible’ by wearing a $70 t-shirt.
If only genuine change was so simple.
In actuality, this is nothing more than self-interest and self-indulgence dressed up as a cultural crusade. It’s a text-book example of creating a non-issue, commercializing it, and then patting yourself on the back for your selfless foray to save wellness from those nasty white girls. In fact, this is such an extortionate first world problem, it’s even outside the domain-of-whinge usually reserved for the aforementioned thin white females of privilege.
This narrative is tone-deaf in the extreme and seeks to create victims where there are none. I’m sure the Yazidi women of Sinjar are huddled around their laptops, reading the SMH, and weeping for the plight of women of colour taking yoga classes in Sydney.
Sounds ridiculous in that context, right?
Well, it is.
Every time we create a flimsy and fickle gender or race issue, we detract from vulnerable people around the world who really are suffering. And, if you want to make a change in the lives of those people – I urge you to do it – go get your hands dirty.
But let’s get one thing clear – flogging t-shirts doesn’t make you an activist, it makes you an opportunist.
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