What’s up with the commodification of self-care? Self-care is the hot word of the decade. Some people are really feeling the movement (myself included) and others are annoyed with its persistence and are quick to point out that nothing about self-care is new.
But there is something new about self-care. It’s in the forefront of our minds and we’re actively making it part of our daily lives. This is important because, in a world that prioritizes productivity and achievements over contentment and necessary rest, self-care needs to move to a more prominent part of our lives.
The self-care movement is a reaction to our productivity-praising society.
So if self-care is a survival mechanism, doesn’t that mean it’s wrong to commodify it? What’s up with all those people making money off our need to take care of ourselves?
The fact is we live in a capitalist society and that means people are going to take advantage of the general population’s needs in order to make some cash. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing!!
Consider this: you need food to live. And you’re forking over dozens to hundreds of dollars a week to feed yourself and your family. It doesn’t seem fair that you’re paying for a survival necessity, does it? But the truth of the situation is that not only are you paying for a product, but you’re also paying for the convenience of having all your food needs in one store, you’re paying for the time and materials it took to bring the food to your grocery store, and you’re paying for the knowledge it took to produce quality food.
You don’t have to pay for food, though. You have the option to grow your own vegetables in a home garden. I hear backyard chicken coops are a thing. But you’re not going to do that, are you? You’re going to exchange money for convenience. And that’s okay!
We can transfer these points to the commodification of self-care. Anybody can figure out self-care for themselves by taking the time to notice what makes them feel good, getting advice from family and friends, and using common sense. But when you purchase a self-help book, essential oils or a yoga mat, you’re paying for the materials that make up those products, and the knowledge it took to create them.
Let’s bring it back to the basics. All you need to check in with wellness is a pen and this worksheet!
We’re thinking human beings. We don’t have to support the self-care industry if we don’t want to. But I don’t think the self-care industry is a monster for commodifying a necessity because you still have access to a ton of free information on it.
Consider what self-care means to you. Does it mean pampering yourself once in a while? Does it mean spending more time with your friends and family? Does it mean eating healthier? Are these things you can do by yourself? Sure. You could perform at-home manicures, put away your phone, or eat more vegetables. All of these options are free.
But maybe you need a little extra help. You might go to the spa for a manicure, buy admission to the local pool, or buy a book on nutrition. These purchases could be considered investing in the self-care industry. Does it feel icky? That’s up to you, I suppose.
If you do want to invest in your self-care, but are a little worried about its commodification, I think you just need to do a little research.
We can make choices in what businesses we support when we invest in the self-care industry. Read the about page on each business’s website. What is their mission statement? If you don’t want to purchase your essential oils from a large corporation, what about a small business?
The commodification of self-care was an inevitability in our capitalist society. But we as consumers can make well-researched choices about what we purchase. We can look for the sellers who are really looking to help us out and differentiate them from the ones that are simply looking to make a quick buck. Look for quality when you’re purchasing. Purchase with purpose. Don’t impulse buy. Make the self-care industry work in your favour.
What are your thoughts on the commodification of self-care? I’d love to read your comments below!
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Thanks for reading!