As much as I decry consumerism and reject capitalism’s tendency to essentialize workers and consumers, I sure do buy into it. I have effective demand- I spend up to $50 day, when that same $50 would feed one student in Nigeria for a year.
I am typing this on a MacBook. I have my Sigg water canteen right next to me. My Motorola cell phone (woefully underutilized) keeps me connected to the material/ephemeral world of technology. All the same, I sometimes rely on these markers of privilege and wealth to create a certain image of myself. I am environmentally-conscious because I drink from a $30 canteen. I am technologically savvy and computer literate because I have this shiny, over-priced MacBook. I enjoy the musical stylings of artists around the world emanating from my iPod, which was likely manufactured in a factory in China in less-than humane conditions.
And not just technology. This morning, I decided not to wear earrings. This is probably the first time I’ve ever gone outside of the house without earrings in 2 years. I use earrings as a marker of my femininity. Ever since I cut my hair off, I admit, I have been more careful about constructing a feminine image of myself. However, this morning, I decided to give my poor earlobes a break. Predictably, as I walked out the door for work, I ran back in and grabbed the first pair of earrings I saw. But I told myself, “you’ll be late for work,” and put them down.
Why do I feel the need to define myself with these material things? I am a woman inside and out. I am a person of worth regardless of my possessions. I don’t need to use clothes, jewelry, gadgets and things to show that. I think it is because it is easy to forget that I am who I am despite and in spite of anything else. My identity is rooted in my Creator- no one else, nothing else.