Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Schoolgirl Issues

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013


A few days ago, I went out with my husband to look for shoes. While he looked, I headed for the kids section to look for a schoolgirl skirt. Just like all normal people, I have a fetish for pleated skirts, especially tartan ones. My personal excuse, if confronted about this, is that as a jew, I am fascinated by all things Catholic. Catholic things have the allure of forbidden fruit. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I couldn’t find a skirt in my size but I did find a dress among the school uniforms, priced right at $7.99. I showed it to my husband who patted me on the head, with either affection or pity or both. I interpreted his gesture as “Awww, you’re nearly sixty and you still like to pretend you’re a schoolgirl!” He told me to go try it on.

The dress was a good fit but when I took it off, I saw to my horror that is was made in Bangladesh. There is no way I’m going to buy a dress made under terrible conditions, maybe even made by someone who perished in the Rana Plaza factory collapse.

I don’t regret my decision to pass on the dress, but now people are scolding me for a position that will only hurt people in Bangladesh who want factory jobs. “Those poor people are grateful to work in sweatshops, bla bla bla!”

Fuck! I can’t indulge in my fetish and I’m increasing poverty in Bangladesh.

Opinions, ridicule, advice, anyone?


Slavery Ruins Everything

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Now that I’ve learned about cocoa harvesting, I can’t buy chocolate that isn’t Fair Trade Certified.   Knowing  that everything we buy is tainted with injustice somewhere along the line is troubling. You can’t give up everything; but child slavery is a good place to draw the line.

The Ivory Coast provides 43% of the  cocoa  beans used to make the world’s chocolate. The US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry work under “the worst forms of child labor,” and that some 10,000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement.

In 2001, in an attempt to avoid government regulation and intense media scrutiny, major cocoa companies made a voluntary commitment (the Cocoa Industry Protocol) to certify their cocoa “child labor-free” by July 2005, but that deadline passed with little fanfare. The deadline was then extended to certify 50% of farms “child-labor free” by July 2008. The cocoa companies trumpeted a few pilot programs, but continue to purchase and reap profits from child labor cocoa.

Hershey has been the slow to implement changes and has been the subject of an email campaign. Now, they have issued a press release, announcing a $10 million investment in West Africa to improve cocoa farming but it’s not clear that this will help any actual people.


“Americans alone spend $13 billion a year on chocolate.” Ha, at least half of that comes from me, personally.

I need chocolate to live. I am not  exaggerating. Without chocolate and coffee, there would be no reason to get out of bed or even breathe. My favorite form of chocolate is Toblerone and it isn’t Fair Trade Certified. It’s owned by Kraft, which helps to diminish its appeal, somewhat. Maybe I’ll have to write to them and beg them to get on board.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Favorite chocolate?