Saturday, November 12, 2016

What every woman needs: to stop lustening, stop listening.

Something worth reading today at The Vivienne Files: "12 Must-Have Items? Let's Consider..."

If you read right to the end, you'll see these blunt words:
"Remember, these lists are written in order to make you feel inadequate, and to drive you to go shopping."
This applies not only to lists of must-have clothing, but to homeschool items, organizational tools, and toys of all kinds.

Janice (at The Vivienne Files) points out that not only does every woman in the world not need black pumps, but, in some places, she might not even need shoes. Someone else recently posted about how we all live in certain bubbles that make up our own reality. If our bubbles are too small, we can end up seeming callous or just ridiculous when we start listing "needs."

One of the Vivienne commenters pointed out that women's real needs are love, a way to keep clean, and "a way to get around--a bus, a bike, a camel, a Bugatti." I can think of a few more things to add to that list, but it's a start. To look at it the other way around, those of us who have those needs met (along with the other essentials like food and a safe place to live) are already well-furnished.

The list of must-haves...when we're told (or shown in photos) the ways that we don't measure up...who is writing that list? And why are we still listening?


Phyllis said...


Terra Heck said...

I have no problem with other people and their lists, but I go by my own "needs". And honestly, it's not a lot. I'm very fortunate and blessed that I have what I have, and I don't regard myself as rich or elite.

Education is a Life said...

I love the Vivienne Files, and that was a very good point. I've noticed something like this in a Facebook minimalism group I'm part of. Sometimes when I see the amount of clothes people feel they need to keep, it's about five times what I consider necessary. I'm sure they would feel the same about the amount of books I need.

Mama Squirrel said...

Nelleke, I know there's an equivalent of "fast fashion" in books as well (check out any mall bookstore or thrift store), but I am trying to mentally separate "good books" out from the discussion of minimalism and possessions, and that doesn't just mean heavy adult books, but good children's books as well. One legitimate personal reason for that (that you also have) is that they are what you do, what you use, your tools as a home educator and other roles related to that (in my case, writing and curriculum development). Another one I could argue is that, for many of us who live in families, the books don't belong to just one person, as a shirt would be. Our adult daughters don't have room or need for picture books in their apartments, but they wouldn't be too happy with me if they found I had given them all away. I also loan books to home-educating friends.

That doesn't mean I don't thin them down, by selling or giving them away; I've done both regularly, sometimes happily and sometimes more reluctantly (it's hard to say goodbye to any friends, even briefly known). I've pulled out a few potential victims over the past week, and I know there are more I *could* give away. Whether I *should* is another question. As I said, I can't seem to see classic or out-of-print or otherwise useful books as belonging to the same category as a too-tight sweater.

Education is a Life said...

Oh, I agree with you, books are a very different category from clothes! I don't separate books from my minimalism, though, because to me minimalism is really about keeping what you truly value and taking away everything that distracts from that. I truly value good fact, I just bought four new bookcases this weekend to hold them all. :)

Mama Squirrel said...

Yes, I think that minimalism could mean that you are focused on the things you value (like the books and something to keep them in) rather than putting money into something like an expensive couch. (I've never been to your house and don't know anything about your couch, that was just random.) We can't have everything, but that doesn't mean that we can't have anything.