Having Fun Vs. Social Responsibility

So Claire accidentally peed in my Cheerios the other day. Lovely visual, I know, but let me explain. I love Disney. Yes, this cranky, bitchy, gloomy writer loves Disney. I love it so much that I’ve been there six times in ten years. If I were not fart broke? I’d be trying to convince Lauren that she and Greg want to go back this year, with promises of not making her go on the Yeti Roller Coaster of Doom:

((A small interjection here. Lauren doesn’t like roller coasters. I found out this one didn’t go upside down and somehow managed to convince her that IT’D BE FUN, YOU SHOULD TRY IT. She wasn’t expecting a jarring turn, her neck nearly snapped and her head almost fell off. She hasn’t forgiven me since, I don’t think.))

Anyway, come to find out Disney is one of the biggest users of child labor in the world. Have some really depressing reading material. Claire stated she’d never take a kid there because she’d be thinking about all the little kids getting hurt and burned and maimed making Disney paraphernalia while her kid sat on Mickey’s lap.

On its own, this revelation sort of crushed my spirit, but what actually got me THINKING beyond the “Oh shit am I a bad person to still want to go to Disney” thing was when she said “We were totally going to go to Disneyland, but I was against it, so we went to the zoo instead. It’s good my friend wasn’t there, because she’s an animal activist and would have nixed that.” Hrmm. HRMM.

EXTREME EXAMPLE TIME, BEAR WITH. So imagine if you will three people sitting around trying to figure out what to do with themselves for the day. There’s an animal activist, an anti-child labor person, and a feminist. All are well read, well spoken people, all are passionate about their causes and beliefs. All are looking for entertainment. The zoo’s out, as previous stated, and some restaurants might be out too because they serve meat that’s been taken from cruelty slaughter houses. Disney’s out, as is having a chocolate bar because holy shit NESTLE IS THE DEVIL. Video games? Nah. Dripping with misogyny, and sexism runs rampant in the film industry.

So no movies, desserts, dinners, travel, and shopping for fear of buying sweatshop labor product.

What the fuck do these three do, then? Sit in a field somewhere and have a staring contest?

The point of the post: I -want- to feel socially conscious. I want to feel aware, and that my voice matters and I can make a difference as a consumer by putting my money towards companies that do it “the right way”. I want people to believe in things because that’s how the world gets better. The problem I’m having, personally, is how do I figure out what constitutes “guilt free activity” versus not. I like to think I care about animals, but I can’t account for where restaurants purchase meat from. I also like the zoo, and I know maybe that’s not nice to the animals. I love Disney, and I’d love to go back, but doesn’t that mean I support their child labor ways? I love chocolate, and hot cocoa makes me happy, but they’re doing awful things in Africa to give my fat ass something sweet. I like video games and movies too, but they’ve pretty much shit all over women for as long as both have existed. So how does a person figure out where to draw the line? Burying your head in the sand and pretending you don’t see it makes you – SORRY! – a douchebag, and I don’t want to be a douchebag! But at the same time, I’m an entitled white kid (by most standards anyway) who wants to be entertained, and now there’s this strange guilt associated with most of the things I find awesometastic.

So I suppose really this is a question to the readers out there who are passionate about causes: how do you pick and choose how far you will go with your TAKING A STAND? Do you rally for a cause, or say you believe “X, Y, and Z is bad” and yet, in the end, end up purchasing anyway? If that’s the case, at what point do you become a hypocrite?

It’s an interesting and difficult thing to figure through, I think, and I’m assuming the answer is different for everyone. Balancing right and wrong versus selfish want . . . well. In the end I’d like to come out thinking I’m a good person, and yet I’m not actually sure I do. Strange that.

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