You’ve got all the power in this relationship, so why not hold these companies accountable like you would a friend?
gence, and there are actual people behind them that help to craft a certain image. I double tap on Instagram and smile when a company writes a funny caption as I scroll through their perfectly-cultivated feeds. These relationships have been building upon little, sacred, almost-intimate moments between the brand and I. It’s no wonder I feel bamboozled when a company acts up. There’s a camaraderie I feel with certain brands (what can I say? They just...get me), who are surely looking out for their bottom line and not my best interest. Now we’ve come full circle. The same emotions that allowed Joaquin Phoenix to fall in love with Scarlett Johansson’s voice in Her, are the same ones that are played on by large corporations to get you to fall in love with their product. Brands use specific terminology and methods of outreach to connect with people to make themselves seem empathetic. They make posts to ask us how we are. They pander to our own feelings of solitude and isolation by ensuring that our feed is full of ethereal pictures of coffee, tea and books that mirror our lives at home. More than ever, companies are paying attention to our interests in “intersectionality” and “diversity” because they generate big
business. Their main consumer base consists of Gen Z and millenials; even though we make the least money, we are the most willing to spend it. These brands have created digital personas reflecting what they’d be like if you knew them, if they existed outside of the Internet or our wildest fashion fantasies. Glossier, Milk Makeup, and Colourpop are reminiscent of that trio of friends that win all of the cool superlatives in high school. Madewell and Free People are trying to figure out if their last couple of bad days have been because Mercury is in retrograde or if it’s just their lives spiraling. Which medium of art do they prefer; Oil or fresco? Watercolor or pastels? Once you become aware of your part in all of this, it doesn’t take away from the fun of engaging with specific brands, or preferring certain ones over others. It puts you in a stronger position as a consumer, because once you realize how much a company relies on word-ofmouth and fabricated friendships, then you can capitalize on that. You’ve got all the power in this relationship, so why not hold these companies accountable like you would a friend? Even companies that still remain in our collective conscious have been out-
ed in the fashion industry for their abominable practices (we see you Forever21, D&G and Kylie Cosmetics pre-Fenty release, you ain’t slick). There’s at least been a collective effort by both consumers and the media to hold brands, and the corporations behind them, accountable for their mistakes. I don’t think many brands have made any substantial changes, but we should keep this momentum going. We have the power to push companies toward change, including improved working conditions and higher wages in their factories, more eco-friendly production methods, and increased social awareness. It’s a combination of one of the most basic tenets of interpersonal relationships and a fundamental element in creating lasting friendships: respect and reciprocity. If corporations are going to put up a facade of who they really are, and appeal to innate human instinct to form connections and build relationships, then we’re situated perfectly in this power dynamic to ask them for respect. We’ve got moral obligations to fulfill and they’ve got a social responsibility to do and be better. Demand it.
ROCKET Magazine's Spring/Summer 2019 issue. Find more online at www.wmrocketmagazine.com.