An inconvenient conscience in the cosmetics aisle
Many (many) years ago, I was a bright-eyed, tie-dye-wearing idealist who discovered that there was a major cosmetics company that did terrible things to animals to test its products.
The group that informed me of this, named something along the lines of EARTH IS SO RAD! or HUG A WHALE, was one of the many at school I belonged to back in 8th Grade. The group leader held up dittos of hidden camera pictures that captured sad bunnies and other small woodland creatures that didn't volunteer for the job to test eyeliners, lotions, and shampoos.
I was infuriated! How dare they hurt the bunnies?! I was the kind of kid who was quick to judge who was good and who was bad, then stuck to it. I was too busy being passionate about my causes to consider any grey areas, so I put my foot down in front of my fellow tree-hugging students and swore I will never ever buy a product from this company again!
How was I supposed to know that they eventually would become an innovator of fabulous mascaras, plumping long-lasting lipsticks and skincare that could rock my (aging) world?
Over the years I have seen TV commercial after print ad after billboard, only to discover that the products I coveted were made by the brand I swore never to give my money to. And it's been killing me. I've wanted so badly to shrug off my conscience and say, "You wore John Lennon eyeglasses back then. Clearly not all your decisions were wise ones."
I can't turn my back on the girl I once was. I learned to let go of the judginess. I learned to embrace the grey areas. But that stubborn thirteen-year-old who was disgusted at anyone who wronged another of Earth's creatures is still inside me.
Young hippie me was one well-meaning tough cookie, and deserves my respect.
Sure, she had the glowing skin of an angel and gravity was her BFF when she made that decision, but this wrinkled, saggy woman still has to live with herself, and so I skip that one forbidden section in the cosmetics aisle of my local Target.
That company may promise to turn back time, but even if it could make me be the prettiest woman in the room today, I'm still not willing to let down the girl I was back then.
Even if she dressed in unflattering oversized t-shirts while making terribly inconvenient proclamations I'd have to uphold for the rest of my life.