Brand or Brainwash

“Do we really have a free choice over the products we buy or are we brainwashed to believe we do?”

Several decades/centuries ago, the idea of “brands” was created. The idea developed from farmers and traders who wanted to differentiate their goods from their competitor by trademarking their goods with their name. Since then, we have blossomed into a world of consumerism, materialism and fetishism, in my opinion stemming from very smart marketing and development of brands as opposed to development of a product. This leads on nicely to the above quote; we are bombarded with advertisements absolutely everywhere we look, from the packaging of the product itself to the 50 ft billboards in Times Square. We cannot avoid advertisements even if we tried (obviously moving to the countryside permanently is an unpopular option for the majority, I presume). Instead of buying a commodity – i.e. jeans, we are lead to believe that if we purchase Levi’s instead of Primark or Asda jeans our lives will be so completely different, we will be sexier, more “hip/trendy” and we will lead a generally better lifestyle as seen in promotion images. The same applies to Nike trainers. If you purchase Nike trainers your life will be much healthier, you will be more popular… and so on. Of course this is not the case, but over decades and decades we have been thought to believe this. We have no other choice.
Not only are we being brainwashed, but the devastating truth behind these “luxury products” is hidden from us. Your favourite pair of trainers is most likely made under slave labour conditions, as are your favourite clothes. Actually…most likely nearly everything made in asian countries (China, Korea, Taiwan etc) is made under inhumane conditions.

Snip20150315_5

Firstly, let me explain how the production line works for big companies and corporations. The factories where the products are made are not owned by the companies themselves, that also includes the staff that work in the factories. These factories are owned externally by people in the country of the manufacture. Companies such as Nike make an order to the factory owners for example they want 1’000’000 Roche Run in 5 different colours and the factory owners have to make them for as cheap as possible because if they don’t, Nike will make an order to a different company that will make them for cheaper. This requirement to make the product cheaply also creates competition between factories in different countries. In order to make the order for as cheap as possible, the workers get paid minimum and the conditions are brutal because paying a living wage and air conditioned work stations would be an extra cost that would reduce profits.
These inhumane conditions has most likely lead to the death of many workers. 2 cases I want to mention in particular is Tian Fulei (26 from China, works in an Apple factory). He works 7 days a week, 84 hours a week. A verdict of ‘sudden death’ was given in court, but no autopsy was carried out. Mr Tian’s family said he worked relentless overtime hours at the factory, and his death came less than two months after an undercover BBC Panorama investigation revealed how workers there worked to the point of collapse. He died on February 3rd, 2015. Your iPhone 6 could have his blood on it. I don’t want to make you stop using apple products, I think they’re great, I’m an apple user myself however what I am trying to do is make you stand up against these companies and force them to pay their workers higher wages and sacrifice their own pay cheque a little bit.
The other worker I want to mention is Carmelita Alonzo, a sowing machine operator that produced for Gap and Benetton. She died on 8th March 1997 (International Women’s Day). Carmelita worked 14 hour shifts with 8 hours overtime on Sundays and when orders were particularly large. Workers receive 155 pesos (US$5.96) as the daily minimum wage and are subjected to overtime. Workers are made to work from 7 am to 9 pm during weekdays, 7 am to 7 pm on Saturdays and 6 am to 2 pm on Sundays. Rest periods are usually an hour during lunch time and 30 minute in the afternoon in this particular factory.
Not only are the conditions terrible but the treatment the workers receive is appalling. Carmelita asked time off to go to the hospital because she was feeling unwell and was denied that time off. She later died in hospital when it was too late. The majority of workers are females between about 16 and 30 who have no other way of making money than working in a factory. Females are denied the right to be a female, they are denied the right to have children. Many are not hired if they are pregnant and are fired if they become pregnant. In some cases there are even monthly menstrual cycle checks. Women are forced to show their underwear  with menstrual blood. I could not think of anything more degrading and embarrassing, and this is only just one of the many things wrong with factory labour and treatment of women especially.

 

To explain my next point regarding exploitation of resources I want to first show a series of images.


africapolicartoon

 

african resources

loss of money in africa

the world vs africa

The above images demonstrate the exploitation of solely Africa however India is similarly being exploited as are South American countries for their water. To make a 330ml can of Coca-Cola you need 1 litre of water. That’s 1 litre of water that is being polluted by chemicals, colours, flavourings etc. This dirty water is not cleaned by Coca-Cola for use by local citizens (Indian farmers) therefore they no longer have any clean water to drink. So for you to enjoy a can of Coke, someone else sacrificed their own water. Coke isn’t even good for you. So whilst you drink something that is damaging you, someone else doesn’t have clean water that could potentially SAVE them. Once again this is because there are no health and safety regulations in India. Why else do you think most manufacture is being outsourced to these places?
Many of the foods we buy from supermarket shelves are grown in deserts. Now is it possible to grow crops in a desert naturally? No, of course not. So how it is done? With the use of underground fossil water supplies. So once again for us to eat these foods, people in less developed/poorer countries have to sacrifice their own water supplies.

africas_not_poor

 

Arguably brands are great. However, is it really that deep? Does our life really consist of labels? If you wear  Fila instead of Nike you’re not cool now? Not everyone can afford the price tags that come with a pair of Huaraches, but EVERYONE has taste and their own fashion sense and their own freedom to express themselves through the clothes they wear or the food they eat. Is it really worth paying thousands of pounds for a label on your clothes? Is it more than just a price tag attached to the items you purchase, is it a life too? For now, if you really want to help, send complaints on mass to corporations, share this post, share it on facebook, twitter, every social medium let everyone know. If we stick together they’ll have to listen and make a change.
If YA DONT KNOW, ya do now ;)
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  • [Thought of the Week]

    "Maybe cheating in a relationship isn't the worst thing you could do, maybe it's just human nature?"

    Remember when you were a child, and your parents would tell you you're not allowed to eat sweets, or make a mess in your bedroom, and you'd do the complete opposite and crave it even more just because you're not allowed? Or if you're on a diet, you know you're not allowed cake or carbs, but simply because you know you're not allowed it, you want it even more? Well surely the same applies in relationships?
    Firstly, I want to start by saying we're not perfect, but perfection is something we should strive towards. Honesty is the best policy.
    A friend of mine is genuinely one of the loveliest people I know, with the best heart and the best intentions and I don't want to show him in a negative light whatsoever, simply provide you with an alternative idea. I've known him for a few years, however we only started speaking properly about a year ago. We both found each other attractive, blah blah blah, so we decided to book a hotel room. He ignored me for a few days, so obviously something was wrong, then he told me there's another girl he loves (obviously I didn't know this before), as they weren't together. I didn't think much of it, actually I was extremely envious of this girl, and that she has someone in her life that is so dedicated and faithful. A few months later, conversation escalated, and we once again decided to go hotel, and a few days beforehand he once again cancelled. This time I was pretty angry and upset, because he'd lead me on and then cancelled. Obviously we're not together but I'm my own person too at the end of the day and don't want to be lead on.
    Another few months later we started talking, innocent conversation about gym, films etc (this time via dm on twitter as I deleted his number and vice versa, I assume), and I had calmed down over the previous incident, he was a genuinely lovely person and I admire the faithfulness to his yet to be girlfriend, I hope I find someone like that in the future. But anyway, we decided to have a gym session together, as we live near each other we went to the park, and for the majority of it, it was a really good session, fun, productive (my legs KILLED the following day) but there was sexual tension, especially towards the end. My back was super sore from gym the previous day and he offered a massage, it was rubbish and he didn't get very far unfortunately as he was starting to give in, and couldn't resist the attraction any longer. Not a lot happened as I stopped him, before it escalated too far. I'd hate for my future husband to cheat on me, so I could only give this couple the same respect (they were together a few months at this point). The following day he thanked me, and was grateful for stopping him.
    The point of this example is, I know my friend loves his girlfriend very much but none of us are perfect and we all give in to temptation now and again. Many males/females cheat because they have a craving, and a hoe gets in the way that has no respect for the relationship and only wants his/ her needs fulfilled, few will have a conscience and stop anything

    Alternatively, on a separate occasion I was speaking to another friend about this topic. He told me that he's seen a sidechick/man save many relationships. His reasons were that if you have an argument with your partner, instead of ending the relationship, you go to see a sidechick/man, relax, then go back to your partner happy and proceed as normal. I disagree with his reasoning however I see the point behind it.
    As long as you don't make a habit out of temptation, and are honest... maybe we're too extreme when it comes to cheating? I disagree with cheating, and don't condone it, however this is just a thought. Everyone get's bored of everything eventually if you get too high a dose, it's just a matter of balance.

     

    If YA DONT KNOW, ya do now ;)

     

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