It's been a long time coming, but the Humanitarian section of my blog is finally in action. Last semester, my school load was very heavy and it was difficult for me to set time aside to publish blog posts, so this semester I decided to incorporate what I am learning alongside styled photos onto my blog.
The first post I published under this category is "28 Things I've Learned in 28 Years," in light of my upcoming birthday and because I felt my life lessons aligned with Humanitarian topics. The next post I want to share are the introductory details to my senior project. (I graduate with my BA in Humanities next semester if all goes well.)
Our professor instructed us to pick a topic for our senior project based on a paper we wrote previously or something we are passionate about. Surprisingly, when our 20 page paper was assigned, I immediately knew what I wanted to write about! I decided to investigate one of the biggest influences of my life: social media. Last week, we turned in our prospectus which is like a pitch or an introduction to an introduction that gives the reader an idea of what an upcoming project is about and I wanted to share some of the details with you!
The inspiration for my senior project began last semester, unknowingly. I watched a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost which made me rethink my own shopping habits and what I choose to advertise as a Blogger. This documentary highlights the long-lasting affects of the fast fashion industry by exposing the importance of organic cotton and how other countries like Haiti are negatively affected by Western shopping habits. The film states that only 10% of donated clothing gets reused at charities or second-hand stores. As a shop-a-holic in recovery I haven't done extensive shopping recently, but instead have focused on closet purging over the last few years. Although I was doing good for myself by minimizing unnecessary items, I have contributed to the packages of trash that was likely shipped to Third World countries.
One of the key components of our project is to relate our work to something we have learned in a previous class. Last semester I took a class called Biography of a City: Beijing, and this year I am taking the Shanghai section. My plan is to take my inspiration from the documentary and connect it to the affects the fast fashion industry has had on factory workers in 21st century China. Ancient China up until 1911 is commonly known for its imperial powers, in contrast to modern China that is often exploited for factory work. Although there are more restrictions now in favor of workers, the laws are not always enforced. In addition, employees are put under immense pressure to produce high volumes at low wages.
I do my best to promote small and local brands, but it is nearly inevitable that I shop or work with large corporations. My shopping habits have slowed down a lot (ironically as a style blogger) which I feel has helped in some ways, but my dilemma as a full-time student with a small budget is that when I do shop I am directed back into the cycle of inexpensive clothing. The ideal scenario would equate shopping less and investing in larger ticket items occasionally, but it is not always possible with the surprises life brings.
My goal with this project is to gain a deeper understanding of the lasting influence of my shopping habits and what I advertise. In addition, I aim to educate my audience on how they can make conscientious decisions for their wallet, our environment, and humanity.