Ethical Consumption Is Impossible and That Shein Bathing Suit Is Just Too Cute


By Danielle Bernstein

I care about the environment. I swear I do! I sometimes recycle and I constantly badger my mom about how all her makeup products were tested on animals. Whenever I see someone litter, I’m sure to give them a really dirty look. I mean, I don’t pick up the trash because, you know, gross, but I swear the look is so dirty. 

Well, the other day I was scrolling through Instagram and an ad for the clothing brand “Shein” popped up on my feed. When I tell you this bathing suit was cute, I mean it was so cute. It was pale green with tiny daisies and had that tie that goes around your neck. And, the kicker, it was only $7 for the entire ensemble. Yeah, you heard that right. The only slight problem is the Shein thing. Shein ALLEGEDLY mistreats its workers, POTENTIALLY has toxic chemicals in all products and its clothing SUPPOSEDLY spends centuries in landfills. That’s pretty bad, I guess. But there’s only so much I can do!

If I’m not allowed to don this enchanting bathing suit, where does it end? Do you want me to stop eating meat? What will I do on July Fourth? Are you asking me not to be a Joey Chestnut-patriot?! And what about music and film?! Kanye is a musical genius and just a few racist and antisemitic comments should not negate that fact. And who among us doesn’t like those slightly too-long shots of feet in Quentin Tarantino’s films? It’s not my fault that so many of these companies and artists are unethical! I’m not the one who is putting these workers in unhealthy work environments. By buying one clothing item from Shein, I am barely contributing to climate change and the abuse of workers. That bathing suit was going to get made whether I bought it or not and the real tragedy would be if all these workers suffered for nothing. 

Ethical consumption is impossible anyway; our planet and society are screwed. We know this so I think we should adopt a new philosophy: why even try? If climate change is gonna take us out anyway, why not have fun while we can? I say, buy all the Shein bathing suits you want, eat the least organic meat you can find and watch Annie Hall on repeat as often as possible. All those vegans and climate activists are being too selfless. Make a better world for our children blah blah all that nonsense. Why sacrifice our enjoyment for our children and grandchildren’s lives? I’d much rather show my child a cute photo of their mother in that green bathing suit as we live in an underground bunker than roam free in thrifted clothes. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy life, not limit ourselves for the sake of the planet, our children or workers thousands of miles away. 

So you know what? I bought that bathing suit. And when I opened up the packaging it had a weird scent to it and the material of the bathing suit gave me a really strange rash. It also didn’t look quite like its photo, but that’s to be expected in the world of Tinder. It doesn’t matter though, I’m just going to buy another one in a delightful pale pink. And if that one fits weirdly, it’s certainly nothing a few Instagram filters can’t fix. 

  • September 25, 2023