They say that ignorance is bliss, and that could be especially true when it comes to some of your favorite things. Unfortunately, some of these popular things – things that seem harmless and that you thoroughly enjoy – might be born out of greed.
But once you know a little background about these seven common things, you might look at them differently, and see that are all be born out of greed.
Child beauty pageants
Child beauty pageants gained popularity after a 6-year old contestant, JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in 1996. Since then, there have been reality TV shows, such as Toddlers and Tiaras, to give viewers an in-depth view of the child beauty pageant industry.
However, even though these pageants highlight children, they often have very negative impacts on the contestants. For one thing, the young girls experience sexualization at a very early age – long before they’re emotionally and psychologically prepared for these experiences.
Revealing costumes and makeup may help the child win the competition, but it can rob them of their childhood innocence and complicate their lives as they grow older, including the development of eating disorders.
There is a significant association between childhood beauty-pageant participation and increased body dissatisfaction.
Why? Because it focuses entirely on outside appearance, self-worth, self-esteem and placing disproportionate amounts of trust in outside opinion and judgment.
One 2005 study concluded that there is “a significant association between childhood beauty-pageant participation and increased body dissatisfaction.”
So, it’s worth asking: If child beauty pageants aren’t good for the child, who are they good for?
Perhaps it’s something parents do to make themselves happy and proud. And perhaps it something that reality show audiences enjoy because it’s entertaining. Or, perhaps it’s the multi-million dollar industry behind it. But people are either unaware or they forget that children are being taken advantage of – all for the sake of entertainment.
Back in 2012, a grumpy looking cat hit the internet. In real life, her name is Tardar Sauce,but online, she’s famously known as “Grumpy Cat”. And she’s not just on thousands of memes across the internet.
She’s the inspiration for a Grumpy Cat movie and Grumpy Cat toys. And her sad little face is on lots of other products. It’s safe to say that Grumpy Cat has made a lot of money – millions, in fact – for her owners over the last six years. In fact, in one lawsuit, the owners received a payout of over $700,000.
But it’s worth asking if this cat is living a happy life? For some, it might be considered borderline animal abuse, considering what she must go through, and all for someone else’s fame, glory and money.
Sure, Grumpy Cat is funny, but is this unhappy looking cat a freak show that the whole world laughs at?
Zara’s stolen designs
Fast fashion mega company, Zara, is known for whipping out new pieces every week. And one has to wonder where they find all their ideas and how they keep up. One indie artist has an idea.
It all started when Tuesday Bassen, a California-based designer, was contacted by her clients wanting to know if she’d collaborated with Zara. After all, Zara had started selling similar designs.
“Zara literally said I have no base because I’m an indie artist and they’re a major corporation and that not enough people even know about me for it to matter.”
However, once Tuesday saw the look-a-likes, she knew that it wasn’t a coincidence. In fact, she recognized her own designs immediately and accused Zara of copying her work.
Unfortunately, when Bassen confronted Zara about it, she was received with condescension and was dismissed. As Bassen put it, “Zara…literally said I have no base because I’m an indie artist and they’re a major corporation and that not enough people even know about me for it to matter.”
But it does matter to Bassen and her independent business as a creative designer.
The fashion industry and animal cruelty
Unfortunately, much of the fashion industry is powered by greed, and animals are often the ones who suffer greatly. Fur, for example, usually comes from abusing animals, including mink, chinchillas, foxes, dogs, rabbits, and cats, not to mention wolves.
Animal cruelty can be downright sickening when it comes to the leather industry, too, and it’s hard to imagine that while stroking a sleek leather handbag or walking in leather shoes. But it doesn’t stop at fur and leather. Animals suffer for the wool and feather demands, too, not to even mention makeup.
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Diamonds are highly valued, used to signify everlasting love, prestige, and power. However, even though diamonds are incredibly valuable, the African countries, from which they come, struggle with extreme poverty.
Sierra Leone, for example, is estimated to export 500,000 diamond carats per year. That comes to about $78 billion dollars. Yet despite Sierra Leone being the natural home for such value, the country itself is one of the poorest countries on the planet, according to the World Development Report.
Politics are complicated, but it’s safe to say that there’s a problem in the diamond industry, and greed, no doubt, is keeping Africans poor and exploited.
High-end fashion dupes
Similar to Zara’s stolen designs, high-end fashion dupes may be born out of greed. These dupes are knock-offs and blatant copies of high-end designer pieces. Therefore, cheaper companies copy a high-end design and sell it for a fraction of the price, giving consumers almost the exact same thing, and taking business away from companies like Manolo Blahnik and Valentino.
For example, Manolo Blahnik heels ring can cost over $1,000, while a knock-off can cost less than $20.
Now, people may argue that these companies are profitable, successful and so big that these dupes and knock-offs won’t really matter in the long run. However, that’s the same argument that mega house, Zara, used against Indie designer, Tuesday Bassen, isn’t it?
What’s more, these dupes beg the question: is it right to steal intellectual and creative property like that? Therefore, these products, born out of greed, actually raise a moral and ethical concern.