Okay, so I’m kidding about being perfect – only spiderwebs are perfect and, even then, a gust of wind and they’re gonzo. All other things being equal (and if I hadn’t sold my Olympus Pen*) I’d be presenting this blog post in video format. It feels like something that needs a bit of an on-camera ramble, but this is what we have, and I need to get it off my chest.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of being perfect and about the pressures we put on ourselves – not to mention the pressures other people put on us – to live up to impossibly high standards.
Being perfect: at vegetarianism
Since telling the world I was going vegetarian last week, I’ve been feeling hugely under pressure to be the perfect vegetarian. If I’m not eating meat, sure, I can hardly wear or buy leather or suede. Then there’s silk – did you know that silkworms sometimes suffer to produce silk?! That seems so hideous and ridiculous (even if silkworms are low on my list of animals whose feelings I’m worried about).
This isn’t just a pressure I’m putting on myself, either; I posted a make-up listing on Snapchat, of products I’d used that day, and I got a snap almost immediately pointing out the hypocrisy of being a vegetarian yet using non-cruelty-free make-up. I posted a link to a suede wallet on my Facebook page (where I post all the best links; go say hi) and someone asked if I shouldn’t be practising what I preach and only posting items that “fit” with my new ethos.
On the make-up point, I’ve decided to try only to buy cruelty-free brands from now on – but I’m not going to bin anything I already own because that would be futile. On the leather front, I had decided only to buy secondhand leather or suede, thus recycling without encouraging the creation of new items. But then I’m not sure; I love leather! And I hate imitation leather, it’s almost always gross.
Being perfect: at shopping
Ethical fashion is another minefield. I wrote about ethical and sustainable fashion, and expressed my desire to be better – and then, when I spoke about River Island a few days later, I got several messages accusing me of being a hypocrite. So what option is there? Do I just never talk about ethics and post non-stop Penneys hauls? Would that make it okay?
Is it not better to at least try to be better, than to pretend nothing’s wrong to begin with?
If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am. It’s not that I want a Blue Peter badge for daring to go vegetarian (frankly, I feel a bit mortified – shouldn’t I have copped on to the cruelty of farming when I was an idealistic teenager?). But what I do want is for us all to be cut a little slack when it comes to being perfect on issues of ethics, whether it’s food or fashion we’re talking about.
Being human: a novel idea
As far as I’m concerned, every small step counts – even if that means cutting down on meat, or buying less fast fashion than you used to (but still indulging in the odd pineapple print duvet set for €21, because YOLO). We all have to live in this world, where animals get eaten and used for leather and consumerism is rife and capitalism is king – and we can’t be expected to go from being totally normal shopaholic meat-eaters to being zero-wasters with hemp shoes and allotments in Stoneybatter.
If you’ve got this far, thanks. I’m sure you can see why / how this might have made a better YouTube video! It’s a Rosemary Rants of sorts – once I get my camera sorted, I’ll be back to on-camera ranting, I promise. (Nobody cares, I’m sure.) Now, a musical interlude.
*If you’d like me to do a blog post on why I didn’t love the Olympus Pen, let me know and I will do just that! For you, anything.