If there’s one thing we’re always absolutely sure we’ll hear at some point during a Postconsumers year, it’s that celebrities who advocate for environmental consciousness or reduced consumerism are hypocrites because of the elaborate lifestyle that they lead. Fair enough, on some level. But on other levels, that’s a misleading and often misplaced strong attitude. Our stance at Postconsumers is that we celebrate celebrities advocating for worthy causes, despite the fact that it is often an unpopular opinion with many of our followers and fans. Why is it that we feel this way? Today, for future reference and with some of the biggest celebrity awards shows coming up, we’re laying it out for all to understand.
Most Importantly, We Believe in the Satisfaction of Enough … for You
We have other reasons for cheering celebrities who support causes, but foremost among them is the basic tenet of postconsumerism as we define it: you need to find the satisfaction of enough for you. So many movements out there can’t speak to or communicate with the mainstream because there is no answer that is good enough to them unless you have entirely gone to ground, off the grid, living on entirely recycled goods and self-farmed food. That’s obviously not realistic for the majority of people (at least until we’re all living post-apocalyptically). Why would a person take a movement seriously if it’s telling them to live an unrealistic lifestyle? Instead, we support everybody needing to find their own comfort level on the scale. For you, that may mean a treehouse and a solar-powered generator. For others, that may mean burning fossil fuels while recycling more, buying local produce but still price-shopping at a big box store. And the scale is fluid. As resources, mindsets, and available cash flow change, so might one’s scale. What we advocate is mindfulness and making decisions based on people’s mental health and satisfaction rather than driven by the illness of our culture’s addictive consumerism.
But by accepting that the scale is different for everybody, then we have to also accept that the scale is different for those who operate in a different stratosphere of economics than the average person does. A person making millions of dollars per year may find that their reduced scale simply means buying fewer things, not giving up luxury purchases for the items that they do buy. They may still enjoy their private jets and yachts because there are other serious drawbacks to public options. They may drive an electric car, but it may be a hundred thousand dollar electric car. The scale is different, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not making mindful and conscious decisions. And we support and celebrate anybody who does that.
Secondly, We Are Realists. We Need Celebrities.
Perhaps celebrities do not wield influence over you, though we suspect that you care about what some very specific stars in certain genres say. But regardless of your possible distance from or rejection of celebrity culture, celebrities have great influence over their large fan bases and, in some cases, the general public. While we obviously need grassroots awareness raising, many people’s journey to postconsumerism or even environmentalism begins because a celebrity that they admire, potentially at a younger and influential age, alerts them to the cause and encourages them to adopt it. Very few individuals have greater reach and impact than celebrities. It may make us all slightly uncomfortable to think about what a great degree of celebrity worship culture exists out in the world, but that doesn’t mean that we can afford to ignore its power and reach. We certainly would prefer stars who are actively supporting worthy causes – both with attention and money – than celebrities who are endorsing consumerism through paid advertising and endorsements of course. The truth of the matter is that we need celebrities to raise awareness and funds for the causes we support. There’s no value or positive end-game to shaming them for doing so just because their definition of enough is different than ours is.
Thirdly, Judging Others Is Always Dangerous
If there’s one thing that the year prior has taught us, it’s that judging others is a dangerous thing to do. As a personal practice, most of the Postconsumers staff works hard to be vigilant and aware of when we’re judging others. How much of your judgment of celebrities and their causes is based on a thoughtful consideration of the topic versus based on assumptions? It’s worth some time for personal explorations to determine the answer to that. But at the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that it’s not on us to scrutinize. It’s simply on us to live our truth and to make the world better in the ways that we feel we can. It’s likely that many, if not all, of the celebrities that you may be judging are simply doing the same.
This red carpet season, we’re sure we’ll all have some celebrity cringe moments. Let’s just try to move past them and remember that at the core we’re all human. And let’s also appreciate the celebrities who are advocating for causes that are close to our hearts in their attempt to build a better world. Whether or not you indulge in enjoying some lovely dresses on the red carpet or not is up to you entirely!
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Photo Credit: United Nations Photo via Flickr