Specifically, I look at how certain minimalists have increasingly used minimalism as an aesthetic choice over recent years. Ultimately, minimalism needs to be renegotiated as a pro-environment and anti-consumption mindset.

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00:07
We need to renegotiate the idea of minimalism
00:10
The term was originally coined in the late
00:13
1950s to describe the abstract visions of artists like Frank Stella and Carl Andre
00:19
But has since been co-opted into an aesthetic that leans heavily on class privilege
00:25
And the ability to choose less today
00:28
I want to critique what minimalism has become and then point towards a minimalist lifestyle that moves away from
00:34
aesthetics and into politics ultimately minimalism has promised for
00:39
socio-economic and environmental reasons
00:41
but we need to understand that its current state is more an extension of consumer culture than a movement toward an
00:48
environmentally and materially conscious society the trend of minimalism as a
00:53
Personal aesthetic has spiraled out of control in recent years
00:57
Somehow it has become the opposite of what it was trying to be now for certain minimalists
01:02
The lifestyle means a tightly curated wardrobe of expensive clothes in an aesthetic of white on white on white
01:10
Using the minimalism as a style merely replaces one form of conspicuous consumption with another
01:17
Take for example the buy less but buy better mindset that is invaded minimalism
01:23
Yes, buying a $400 pair of shoes might in some cases be more environmentally friendly than buying four sets of
01:31
$50 shoes because the pricier shoes will most likely last longer and produce less waste than four pairs
01:38
However most people don’t have the money for that
01:41
So this minimalist philosophy uses the excuse of having little
01:46
To buy the most expensive things perhaps minimalists are purchasing less
01:51
But they’re still buying into the idea of creating status via
01:56
Expensive items thus if you don’t have the means or the money to rid yourself of your belongings and purchase just the right things then
02:04
minimalism must not be for you. As Chelsea Fagan puts in her opinion piece in The Guardian the only people who can
02:11
quote-unquote practice minimalism in any meaningful way are people upon whom it isn’t forced by
02:17
financial or logistical circumstances and
02:20
This new trend of minimalism as a visual aesthetic has now been conflated with a surge of self
02:27
optimization by using the right technology and
02:30
Paring down your life in the right way minimalism can portably deliver happiness
02:36
Financial security and free time to those who follow its path
02:41
Unfortunately it can only be viewed as a key to happiness by those who already have more than enough for low income people buying
02:49
Inexpensive clothing or owning less furniture isn’t a choice
02:52
It’s a structural reality minimalism
02:55
However can offer so much more than a stylistically slimmed down wardrobe it can instead mean a purposefully
03:02
anti-consumerist and
03:04
Environmentally conscious lifestyle that works against the power of capitalism. The focused with minimalism
03:10
Then is not necessarily working to edit your furniture choices and activewear down to the cream of the crop
03:16
But instead on working hard to critically assess your consumption choices. Day to day this looks like choosing not to buy the latest
03:24
Thousand-dollar iPhone or if you’re cleaning out your closet choosing not to sell your clothes if you don’t need the money and instead
03:31
Donating them to a progressive organization if you do in fact need to get a new pair of pants consider buying
03:38
Secondhand the idea is to understand that consumption feeds a system that affects a tremendous harm on the environment and on
03:46
Marginalized people minimalism can offer guidance, not as a stylistic choice
03:51
But as a mindset that helps reroute our unconscious purchasing habits into a well informed
03:57
consumption critical stance
04:00
Minimum has slowly grown more popular as it is taken hold of the American psyche and with that transition
04:06
Minimalism has become more watered-down and at times the opposite of what it originally
04:11
intended to be. So it’s important to remember that as an aesthetic trend and a way to find happiness
04:17
minimalism can sometimes be just another
04:20
insidious form of conspicuous consumption.
04:23
As a pro-environment and anti consumption choice however minimalism can offer a way to navigate an economic system that
04:31
constantly pressures us to buy more
04:33
Having and buying less do not need to be status symbols or the subject of an Instagram post, they can instead be
04:40
radical political and environmental acts
04:48
This video was made possible in part by the wonderful people who support me on patreon if you’re interested in helping me grow this channel
04:55
Head on over to patreon and pledge a small amount of money for every video I release in return
05:00
I’ll send you gifts like a handwritten
05:02
Thank you note or in our changing climate sticker as always if you like what you just saw share it around and subscribe
05:08
Thanks so much for watching, and I’ll see you next Friday

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