Today, the day before Black Friday, some of us might be coming down with Consumption. It's a common and infectious disease which can hit about this time of year, often peaking tomorrow. Maybe you're discovering extra 'needs' and thinking about 'bargains'? You may be relieved to hear that we've stumbled across a vaccine...
First of all, let's come clean. Loose Debra started as a bit of a shopping website, where we spent time choosing clothes from shops that would look attractive worn without a bra, and curating them on to Shop the Tops for flatter-chested/free spirited women to buy. This was easy, as Jane and I both craved these kind of clothes anyway and found them hard to come by. However, we don't make money from this and it's never been the main reason for our existence. That was always to promote a freer lifestyle and also, to be honest, to offer space to, and celebrate, a different female body type that doesn't get much mainstream attention. So we combine shopping with awareness-raising and it suits us well.
This week I've had tonnes of emails about discounts from shops and special offers on selected styles, in the run up to Black Friday. Tomorrow in the UK alone people are expected to spend £3.49 BILLION on discounted goods, with peak credit card chaos predicted for between 1-2pm, and some shoppers actually risk physical harm as high street shops are rampaged for discounted goods. I began to feel uneasy.
Then I read an article by the Bishop of Sheffield about the banning of the Lord's Prayer in cinemas. He argues that the decision to ban was correct because its meaning doesn't sit well within a consumer culture. He says the words of the prayer "check our greed, remind us of our imperfections, offer a way of reconciliation, build resilience in our spirits" qualities which antagonise the idea of buying more. Whilst I might argue that it was banned because a cinema is the wrong context in which to promote a religion, I nevertheless like the recognition of a spiritually restrictive culture that relies upon a need to conform and feel discontented with what's already there.
And just yesterday I read a report about how the Pope called Christmas festivities this year "a charade" in a world "filled with war and hate". He says God and Jesus are weeping and suggests we should too.
Well, rather than weep for a dehumanised, self-obsessed culture that has forgotten the needs of others, we are accepting an invitation from #SantaCause. Instead of giving presents to other adults this year, we're donating to the displaced people at the borders of countries throughout our continent, so vaccinating ourselves against Consumption :-)
We're abandoning Black Friday, (though we rather like the look of Civilised Saturday!) and are giving the money we would have spent to the homeless people fleeing war zones who wait at our borders, instead of buying consumer goods, clothes, beauty products, and extra luxurious food.
Do share #SantaCause if you like the idea, and if we can share it all the way to the Vatican, well so much the better. :-)
Karen Dobres, Chief Freedom Fighter