‘Tis the season to shop responsibly

Whether you love or loathe the Christmas season the reality is that most of us will have to buy for someone, no matter how un-Christian we may be, our society usually demands that a lover, a mother, or some other loved one will be waiting for their Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, or Soltice gift. So if one must give up the contents of one’s wallet, we might as well do so responsibly. Of course this goes year ’round, but if we remind ourselves once a year, perhaps we have a chance fo remembering throughout the year. An though I seldom trust the Human Rights Campaign with terribly much their annual Buying Guide is a good place to start. I believe that it probably is a fairly comrehensive overview of the largest companies treatment of gays and lesbians. And I am all for shopping with gay-friendly companies. I do think it is important, however, to keep in mind that companies with good labor practices in general, both here and overseas, might be even more important. It may suck for gay Americans do be denied domestic partner benefits but it probably sucks worse to be a 5 year old working 16 hour days in a factory. This balancing act can be difficult. The whole American Apparel scandals sent me into a tizzy, wondering if it was better to supprt a worker owned anti-sweatshop company even if the CEO treated his female employees like objects. I’ve also heard the whole schtick is a publicity stunt. I never know quite what to believe, but whatever small part of the stories are true the whole thing does indeed end up degrading to women. That being said, I bet we’d hear less outrage if these things were, again, committed against third world women. So, I begrudgingly accept AA merchandice while acknowledgeing its less than savory persona.

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