Use your purse to be an activist

Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve. About-Face reader Daniela Caruso wears her brain on her purse. She lets the world know how she feels about the media’s manipulation of women by shouting it out on her handbag. She encourages you to do the same.

My purse-billboard activism demonstrates what we already know to be true: When a girl or woman expends less energy worrying about how many pounds she weighs, whether she’s the hottest one in the room, or how to get more male attention, something magical happens.

She wastes less of her precious energy on dieting.

The mainstream media tries to tell girls and women what female beauty is: an absurd and one-dimensional standard that can be attained by buying the product or service being thrown at you.  

Instead of following this greed-advice from a corporate magazine page or billboard, females can spend more energy pursuing their own ideas of what would lead to self-satisfaction, like spirituality and wellness, or pursuing solutions to real current problems on our blue marble planet.

This is what happens when a girl uses her beautiful brain, her gorgeous curiosity, and her kick-ass passion towards understanding and then trying to help the world around her – when she’s not fixated on dieting!

I switch the sign in my purse at every new moon, according to my mood, local events, or the season of the year.  The messages I’ve created include comments on the media’s assault on women’s self-esteem for corporate profit, morally indefensible factory farms, the Congo’s conflict over cell phone minerals, and the proliferation of fad technology and the sweatshops used to mass produce such technology for those of us in the developed (minority) world year after year.

I would love to share this idea with other girls and women who have their own passions to express.  It just takes a little bit of courage to spread one’s own positive or awareness-raising messages to the world.

It takes a little bit of ovaries – but isn’t it worth it?

— Daniela Caruso is from Toronto, Canada.

5 thoughts on “Use your purse to be an activist

  1. Do not waste your precious energy; I like it and I hope others can hear this message.

    I think it is a great idea for a statement. I believe there is often a one dimensional image of beauty and when women show that they know the truth is otherwise it is very empowering.

  2. If you want to create your own activisty purse:

    1. You can use one you already have (if it’s an appropriate size and shape). I simply bought mine at Grand & Toy, but it was probably made in China with less-than-standard conditions for workers, so even this small act of activism is not perfect. You can look for a bag that has material like fake leather, that is not too soft or pliable. It should be a firm enough material so that the sign doesn’t budge or bend too much, but stays in place. I chose a rectangular shape, and it’s somewhat large. If you don’t want to lug around a kind of large purse, then go with a smaller purse that will show a smaller sized sign. You need to be comfortable with the size of it, & keep in mind if it’s practical enough for your daily or weekend routines.

    2. Then you can go to an art or decoration supplies store to buy some glue that is made for fabrics (it won’t work with crazy glue, i tried that). Ask the sales person to make sure you’re getting the appropriate glue for your purse’s material.

    3. The last item you need is from an office supplies store. Get the clear plastic sheet protectors (you will use this to slip the piece of paper in). Mine happens to be the size that is for legal paper size 8.5 X 14 (you could re-use the paper in your workplace recycle bin). You can trim the outer edges of the plastic paper holder to fit your bag better if necessary.

    4. Then you can clean/wipe down the purse, and after it’s completely dry, add the glue to the purse (check the glue’s instructions), stick the plastic sheet protector to it, and you can put some heavy books on top to make it stick securely.

    5. Then it’s the fun part – create your own designs or slogans, or look online for a photo or a slogan. I use excel spreadsheets since they’re user-friendly when working with both a photo and text. The iSweat picture is one by Adbusters.

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