After reading through everyone’s thoughtful replies to my previous blog post, “Actively Creating Change,” I revisited my Conservation Starts With Conversation plan.
One of the most frequent suggestions that I received was to make a social media platform to advertise and spread the ecofeminist message of the
“brand.” Alina even mentioned creating a video to present the designs, and I realized that would also serve perfectly for a social media post/brand introduction. Check it out:
Conservation Starts With Conversation by Jasmine Mattey
I created a video presentation that could easily be uploaded to TikTok / Instagram as an introduction to the “brand.” I took the time to try to make the video as eye-catching, engaging, and aesthetically pleasing as possible to hopefully receive some buzz/shares.
I also had the idea to create a discord to create a place of community and organizing for like-minded ecofeminists or for unlike-minded ecofeminists to develop new and inclusive ways of thinking through critical conversation.
Then, going off of Kylie’s “activism tip” idea, I integrated ecofeminist quotes into the presentation between the merch pictures. Hopefully, this addition will deepen the viewer’s understanding or at least thinking surrounding what the designs represent.
Kylie made another great point—I should be looking to companies that are eco-conscious, sustainable, transparent, and traceable. Otherwise, I’d only be contributing to solidifying the patriarchal capitalist hegemonic system.
This is something that Jess came up against when creating her merch, and as a result, she decided to partner with a small local business. Instead of having their merch available 24/7, they drop new merch designs in batches (which she partners with small artists to create), and they’re all pre-order only. This way, there isn’t wasteful overproduction of clothing, everyone involved is being paid a fair wage for their labor, they can ensure that the quality is going to last so less clothing ends up in landfills, they’re supporting small entrepreneurs instead of big corporations, and honestly, the list of positives just goes on and on.
As a result, I decided to ditch the Printify idea. If I were to put these designs into production, I’d start by walking down to my local printing shop to see what options they have for organic cotton shirts or linen bags and if/what kind of sustainable printing media they have available.
Christine suggested that I should make the designs more gender-neutral and think about placing the designs somewhere other than across the chest. I can understand how, as part of dismantling this idea that womans’ bodies are for men’s consumption, I shouldn’t add fuel to the degradation by making it even easier for anyone’s chest to be ogled at. So, I made sure to include a design with the words toward the bottom and another one with the words under the picture.
Additionally, Christine and Lizzy mentioned that I should expand the collection to more than just T-shirts. This further solves the design-placement dilemma because, for those who are (understandably) uncomfortable with inviting conversation based on their clothing, this is an excellent alternative.
A reusable tote bag or a gifted mug are equal-opportunity conversation starters. So I decided to add some tote bags and water bottles to these initial mockups. Both contribute to more sustainable lifestyles, like ditching single-use plastic bags and water bottles. Again, the more that we respect the Earth, the more that we can dismantle the logic of domination and create a more egalitarian world.
I think the designs that I’ve created by taking into consideration the input of all my ecofeminist peers sets this plan to create change up for success. However, I think that it could be taken a step further.
Amanda suggested that I could donate a portion of the proceeds to an ecofeminist organization, and I thought that was an amazing idea! Over the course of our studies, Intersectional Ecofeminism was my AHA! Moment.
All the pieces fell into place, and it became evident that the only way forward is inclusionary—a theory that accounts for everyone’s inherent intersectionality. Through an inclusive ecofeminist view, the true oppression/domination continuum can be studied and dismantled accordingly. Essentializing identities strips marginalized voices from being heard and their needs being met. So I knew that I wanted to pick an organization that focused on intersectional ecofeminism. This search led me to Intersectional Environmentalist.
In an ideal world, I could set this brand up to where the profits cover the production, and anything leftover would go directly to supporting Intersectional Environmentalist initiatives.
I think it’s amazing to see the Conversation and Community that this potential brand is already facilitating. All the amazing women who commented on my post and offered critical and actionable feedback grew this budding idea into one that could seriously create change. This was exactly the hope that I had for this brand and these designs—to make ecofeminism accessible to everyone.
With these conversations, I hope to add a drop in the bucket toward conservation and building community. It’s through the ecofeminist work of dismantling labels and stigmas by showing that anyone and everyone is what an ecofeminist looks like. It’s through reminders that we are all animals and all deserve equal and just treatment. It’s through fostering respect for our mothers—the many mothers who birthed us all and Mother Earth for sustaining our life that we can work toward the conservation of our planet and, subsequently, shrink the hierarchical gap between those with more/less privilege.
We–as in humans of all genders, shapes, sizes, sexualities, races, classes, and all other intersectional delineation, the nonhuman animals, the environment and planet that we share space and life with—we all deserve a healthy, harmonious, and empowering egalitarian future.
Please let me know what you think! What do you think of the designs? Do you have any suggestions for sustainable alternatives to Printify? What are some more ecofeminist principles boiled down to a few words? What more can I improve on?
Thank you to everyone who has already played a role in shaping this “brand” and creating change toward an ecofeminist future.