We’ve all been there. If you haven’t been there, you will be.
With the way the media moves, it seems like there’s information being thrown at us constantly and I’m positive everyone can relate to the awful feeling you get when you hear or read something you wish you hadn’t. Not only that, but it’s extremely important to be able to be critical of the world around you.
The world isn’t perfect, but I’m a big believer in doing what I can with the influence that I do have. As a young college-age woman, I can control a lot more than I think. One of the areas that’s the easiest way to do that is controlling where I spend my money and how I spend it.
Image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon
Personally, I never realized how important it is to support brands that match my morals until I started working retail in my senior year of high school. I worked at American Eagle and Aerie for three years, and body positivity and acceptance in the fashion world became an issue that was more important to me than I ever anticipated, and I want to make sure I’m supporting brands that match that.
This was also where I had the hardest time changing my ways, however.
Like everyone else, I’ve been the victim of the non-body-positive ads and campaigns that have been put on, and I was never around people that were super critical of the brands they use, either. But, I never realized how toxic this was to my wellbeing and how it was actually really hurtful to the people around me as well.
Everyone knows Victoria’s Secret. It was the place to shop when I was in high school, and I remember begging my mom to get me a Pink sweatshirt and wearing my joggers and quarter zip around. It was a status marker, and I didn’t even care how much it was or the message it was sending. I knew it made me feel cool, and that’s all that mattered.
I also remember seeing their fatphobic and transphobic remarks and not being surprised whatsoever but feeling completely disgusted and disappointed.
I won’t lie, I didn’t stop shopping at VS immediately following that. I still loved their bras and undies and it was still the easiest place for me to shop because there was one 10 minutes from my house. But, there was a point when I had to put ease over my morals and start branching out to other brands that were more positive and accepting.
It’s not easy to just stop shopping at a store that provides something on as wide of a scale as Victoria’s Secret does. At the time, all I could really do is research. When you realize that a brand doesn’t match your morals, the most important thing for you to do is educate yourself on the brands they compete with.
At first, it’s going to be hard, but it’s ultimately a decision that you have to make. If the brand is the only one around, then you may have to deal with buying things from them if you have a need and they’re the only ones that can fulfill it.
After you do your research, it does get easier. You can take time to educate others on the issues and create a discussion around it. Personally, after realizing that there are so many other brands like Aerie and Thirdlove that have better products with more positive messages, I had no problem switching.
The real hurdle is education, and that should start every time you think about trying a brand for the first time or you’re contemplating buying something.