By now, you either wear them in your own hair or have at least seem the latest fashion trend, feather hair extensions. My own hairdresser suggested I try them not long ago. I looked at him and said, indignantly, “I am vegan remember? I am not going to wear some bird’s feathers in my hair.” He said, he didn’t think they were real, then he said, “I hadn’t really thought about where they come from.”
Now, before you think, here comes the lecture, that is not what I plan on doing. Quite the opposite. Whenever something bothers me, it means that it is something that I need to look at more closely in my own life, not something I need to challenge others about. I sat there in the salon that used god knows what terrible chemicals getting all high and mighty about what turn out to be rooster feathers.
Since then, I have made a commitment to put my ethical money where my mouth is. I have switched to a salon(Acorn salon in Dover, Nh) that only uses organic, cruelty free, mostly vegan products (some products contain honey and silk), and it is a good deal cheaper than where I was going before which is great. I only mention that cost part because one big argument for buying and using products that are not cruelty free is their cost, but that is a whole other post. This hasn’t settled the feather hair extension issue in my mind, yet I feel like I am at least being constructive.
I am not sure why this hair extension craze bothers me so besides the obvious. There is a good deal of discussion and some crusading going on on the Internet regarding the cruel practice of raising these beautiful roosters just for their feathers and then killing them once the feathers are harvested. These birds were already being raised for fly fishing lures. The hair extensions have put a insane demand on what was a rather small industry (I know, I know, it is also insane that there is actually an industry around raising birds to decorate K$sha’s hair). Obviously, I am not a fan of cruelty of any sort. The arguments on the Internet inevitably call into question the fact that most of the people that decry this practice eat chicken. I don’t think that really gets to the point.
The point for me is the lack of thought period put into the myriad of choices we make every single day from what to wear, to what to eat, to what to drive, to what to watch and read and listen to. On the one hand, it is shocking to me that anyone would put a bunch of feathers in there hair and not think, wonder, know that they came from an animal. How many blind spots do I personally have in my own daily choices? This is just an obvious example but it is the subtle and the daily choices that really make the most impact.
I believe it is time for all of us to think more and judge less. I believe that it is time to make more positive choices. In some ways these issues like the hair extensions muddy the water. It is frustrating,depressing, and downright stupid and unnecessary that these birds live their lives in cages until their feathers are “harvested” and then thrown out or made into animal feed. It is enough for some to just throw up their hands and say “why bother?”.
I have mentioned before the slogan of one of my favorite companies, Herbivore, “Eat Like You Give a Damn”. My new slogan is, “Live Like You Give a Damn!”. I mean why not care? Why not give a shit? Being informed and thinking about my actions does not have to be paralyzing and depressing. Quite the opposite, most of the time I feel empowered. Does that mean I never feel frustrated and depressed by what I see in the world? Of course I do. However, what is more upsetting to me, is the complete lack of thought that goes into many choices; the complete lack of awareness that there is actually a choice to be made.
Like always, I love to hear what you think! Peace, Mimi