Wait so real human hair wigs and extensions come from exploited women? Is there anything else we should avoid??
Ah, well, that’s a pretty broad question. Trying to find ethical consumption in a capitalist society is difficult, but I think that not using anything that is harvested from human bodies is a pretty good start, that tends to come disproportionately from poor and exploited women.
Here is just one excerpt from this article for anyone who isn’t familiar with this issue:
More worryingly, back in 2006, the Observer reported that in India some husbands were forcing their wives into selling their hair, slum children were being tricked into having their heads shaved in exchange for toys, and in one case a gang stole a woman’s hair, holding her down and cutting it off. When Victoria Beckham said in 2003 that her “extensions come from Russian prisoners, so I’ve got Russian cell block H on my head”, she may have been joking, but it was not long until the Moscow Centre for Prison Reform admitted it was possible: warders were forcibly shaving and selling the hair of prisoners.
Part of the issue specifically with human hair is that it’s a difficult resource–most of the hair donated to Locks of Love, for instance, is thrown out. Hair that is long and not chemically treated tends to be the most treasured asset. That generally comes from regions of the world where hair is a part of the culture and a source of pride for women–India and Peru come to mind. They are also areas where economic depression can lead people to drastic decisions. Hair is such a huge part of many cultures, and removing a woman’s hair is often considered a sign of subjugation.
There are companies that put a premium price on hair that comes from women within the country. That doesn’t guarantee they aren’t exploited.
Are there other things to avoid? Well, yes, plenty. I’m not sure I can list them all.