We saw a meme that said: “It feels like January 74th.” And we were like: “Wow. Yes. Mood.” Even though it’s February now, we still feel like January was the longest month in the history of months. Anyone else?
This blog, we’re talking a lil’ something called boutique activism.
Qu’est-ce que c’est? Ever see those pillows that say “F E M I N I S T” or like when people, for example, wear a certain colour to a certain awards show to protest sexual assault and sexual harassment in their industry? It’s kinda like that.
We realize the irony. It was 100 per cent not lost on us that we are a company who sells shirts with tits on them, talking about other companies and people who essentially do the same thing. We know this. We are gonna chat about it later in the blog.
So. Here we go.
“But why is raising awareness bad?”
Sometimes, gestures like this are folks’ introduction to movements / different ideologies. Sometimes, it’s things like this that get people turned onto what is happening in the world around them.
What’s bad is buying something or participating in something that has no real effect on communities or people affected by something. What’s worse is millions of people feel as though they’ve done their part because they bought a pin or wore a colour. It has to go deeper than that. Otherwise, what are we doing but lulling ourselves into a sense of accomplishment without having done the work?
It’s an insult to activists everywhere to believe that one show of solidarity is the only thing you have to do to lay your head down at night and sleep well. That is neither activism nor is it allyship.
It has to be stated that overwhelmingly, people (namely women) of colour are the ones on the ground, doing the work and starting the conversation.
Boutique feminism is almost entirely a white woman’s doing. And it’s something we need to figure the fuck out.
What we can do:
- Support POC-owned businesses.
- Support ethical businesses.
- Use your voice / privilege to amplify marginalized voices. BUT - Don't talk over marginalized voices. Listen more than you shout.
- Donate to worthy charities.
- Check in with your activist friends! Make sure they're doing okay and that you're doing a good job of supporting their work.
- Read! Learn some shit! Take it upon yourself to think critically about how you operate in this world. Keep in mind that one common criticism of white people trying to learn stuff is that POC aren't there to be encyclopedias at the disposal of everyone. Do the work. Take it upon yourself. Don't do it to be cool. Do it to be better.
Activism isn’t glamorous. It’s not symbolic. It’s real, hard work.
We recently saw a series of tweets that summed up this sentiment. Twitter user @sydnerain gives their take on wearing black to the Golden Globes here.
As for us, we fully know we are a company that could very easily be seen as contributing to the cycle of boutique activism.
The Tit Store is almost a year old, and it has been a crazy ride. We have met so many amazing people and personally have learned so much.
It has been our goal since day one of this company to give back. This year, we have enough resources to start with some local programming. Namely, we’ll be partnering with the Shirley Schneider Tutorial School and the Mackenzie Infant Care Centre. Our plan is to start an ally program and host the grad day at the school. We will also be doing a work wear clothing drive for the teens and a baby clothing drive for the babies.
We are always looking for events to sponsor and charities to partner with. If you know of any, let us know!
Also, we are always open to learning and listening. If you have any suggestions for how we could be doing things better or a comment, let us know too.
We know we have a long ways to go. There is always much work. Onward.
The Tit Store