Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Mod cons

Are there some things that we have been too readily persuaded that we need, when really the supposed "need" is created by our use of the thing we now think we need? I mean, companies advertise something as though it will make our life better, but actually it makes life no better. Meanwhile we come to think that we can't do without it.

The thing is a con, which makes us go on buying the thing that is making things worse.

I don't mean things that we could live without (with some minor discomfort). I mean things which we would be happier and more comfortable without, if only we could resist the pressure to have the thing we've been conned into having.

Here's an example: deodorant.

When I was a teenager I thought that there were some people who were lucky enough not to need to use deodorant (my younger brother for instance) but the rest of us were smelly and would be very smelly indeed if we didn't use deodorant every day.

Then I met a man who didn't use deodorant, and he persuaded me that all you need to do is wash your armpits at the end of each day. So I tried it, and sure enough, once you've washed off the weeks of bad chemicals from the deodorant, you become fresh and sweet smelling and you don't generate so much perspiration. Nor do your clothes get messed up by the deodorant, and they breathe better as a result, so you don't get hot and sweaty from wearing the clothes that had become non-porous from the nasty things you were applying to your armpits. And you don't need to wash your clothes so often, nor do you find that you need to buy new garments because the old ones have bad marks under the arms.

Perhaps it may be true that there are a few people who have some kind of illness or malfunctioning sweat glands, and maybe they might get a bit smelly. But it's my belief that most of us are fine with a bar of soap, a washbasin with warm water, a good flannel to wash with, and some well-chosen clothes...

I mean, obviously you don't want to be wearing clothes that cut in too tight under the armpits, or clothes made of nylon or polyester or acrylic. But such clothes are uncomfortable and look horrid anyway, and are another mod con, only suited to chavs.

I haven't used a deodorant for thirty years now.

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