How the Cabbage Patch Kids Got Me on the Road to Anti-Capitalist Activism!

I used to be very younger once I realized there was one thing flawed with our world. I keep in mind being round 10 or 11 when the Cabbage Patch Kids craze began (it was the ’80s!). I keep in mind having a love-hate relationship with the Kids – everybody had one, so in fact I needed one, but I might really feel that there was one thing flawed about the truth that “everybody needed one,” with out questioning why. I didn’t wish to be disregarded, however I didn’t wish to cave underneath social strain – what was a younger woman to do? In the top, my of us obtained me a CPK for my birthday. Technically, I hadn’t purchased it, however I nonetheless keep in mind the sensation of happiness mingled with disgust. Now I used to be “similar to everybody,” however I had additionally betrayed my true emotions, that we have been being made to suppose all of us wanted these ugly dolls.

It actually began me enthusiastic about how companies “brainwash” us to devour. My 11-year-old thoughts didn’t have such clearly worded ideas, but it surely was a powerful feeling. This would comply with swimsuit with weight-reduction plan; I used to be 12 and all the ladies in my class have been on a “weight-reduction plan” (Twelve!!!). I keep in mind how I liked watching Fashion Television, a Canadian vogue present. I keep in mind seeing the fashions’ “good” our bodies, and taking a look at my very own 12-year-old physique! and considering I wanted to shed some pounds (WTF!!!). I keep in mind consuming celery and attempting to weight-reduction plan and feeling depressing. Then, sooner or later, I noticed this was bullshit, and stopped. I don’t keep in mind what prompted me to cease, but it surely was clear. My physique was my physique, and I accepted it because it was. I keep in mind seeing a daytime speak present the place Leeza Gibbons complimented a visitor on not having an oz of cellulite. I keep in mind considering, “Why reward this on tv? She was most likely born that method and there’s nothing most of us can do about it.”

Cabbage Patch Kids, a Nineteen Eighties fad that began Elza Kephart on her path to enlightenment. (Image by William McKeehan, through Flickr / Creative Commons license.)

Since then, I’ve seen buddies, feminine and male, wrestle with weight, with weight-reduction plan, with physique picture, and being so indignant at our society for perpetuating this garbage. Same with hair dyeing! I dyed my hair with varied supplies since I used to be 14, hating my “dishwater blonde” hair, as my mom referred to as it. Then sooner or later, I learn a brief essay referred to as “Beauty and Misogyny,” which decried most magnificence practices, together with hair dyeing. It stated that ladies are by no means “ok,” our hair can all the time be “improved,” even when we don’t have – gasp – gray in it! I henceforth stopped dyeing my hair – satirically, simply as I began getting gray.

So my questioning of our tradition’s brainwashing to devour and all the time be dissatisfied with our look began fairly early, and has by no means stopped. This has been an enormous motor for my new movie Slaxx, a really pointed critique of quick vogue, mass consumption and company brainwashing energy. It tells the story of Libby, a younger and idealistic salesperson who joins the “Canadian Cotton Clothiers” throughout their night-time assortment turnaround, solely to understand a killer is at work, bumping off gross sales folks one after the other. [Spoiler Alert] What she discovers is that the killer is none apart from a pair of denims, possessed by the spirit of a lifeless little one labourer, killed in an accident whereas choosing cotton for the CCC, hellbent on revenge. While the movie doesn’t focus on the theme of magnificence beliefs, I’ve infused it in there as properly – nothing escapes Slaxx’s vicious and lethal critique! The movie was my approach to take to courtroom all these nefarious practices, promoted by big companies who care about nothing however their backside line, at the price of folks’s lives, the surroundings and our psychological well-being.

Writer-director Elza Kephart with cinematographer Steve Asselin on the set of Slaxx. (Photo by Marlene Gelineau Payette.)

As Slaxx’s pre-production was getting underway, within the fall of 2018, I noticed, after the catastrophic IPCC report and studying the United Nations Secretary General’s declaration, absolutely the local weather and ecological emergency we have been in; the declaration predicted crop failure, social unrest, and the potential extinction of civilization. The world, as I knew it, got here to crashing halt. Everything I had envisaged in my future was upended. I joined an activist group and got here to understand, by means of my involvement, how capitalism and companies have been instantly answerable for the local weather and ecological disaster. All of a sudden, all of it made sense: My lifelong enemy, the “evil company,” was really being identified because the film villain it was, answerable for our destruction, all for a fast buck.

This made me much more livid, and I’ve since determined to make use of my artwork to speak in regards to the local weather disaster, extraction of pure assets past Earth’s capability (by means of mining, logging, fishing, and many others.), and the way we should reorient our perspective in the direction of Mother Earth, our accountability to her and each dwelling creature on earth. One of my upcoming tasks, Night of the Pendulum, a supernatural restricted collection, reimagines the extractivist mining trade by means of a mythological lens, and follows one character’s journey from unconsciousness to consciousness, and coming to understand he should sacrifice himself for the nice of all. Another mission, an action-satire TV present, Global Terror Inc., revolves round teenaged activists who take their survival to the subsequent stage and begin terrorizing the fossil gas elite. The characteristic I hope to direct subsequent, Chair Obscure, performs with the notion of “possession” by a spirit entity and “possessions,” as in issues we personal. The foremost character possesses somebody to outlive, however satirically finally ends up rejecting her possessions, to get a second, extra trustworthy crack at life.

Elza Kephart dressed as a nature spirit on the Extinction Rebellion Québec protest in opposition to the Quebec authorities’s inaction on local weather change. (Photo by Lisa Barrett.)

I’ve additionally joined the Directors Guild of Canada’s Sustainability and Climate Action Committee, the place we’re laborious at work implementing modifications in our trade, in addition to SCALE, an arts neighborhood motion group spearheaded by Seth Klein, brother of Naomi. Through this group, I urge different art-makers to learn a private declaration on the Climate and Ecological Emergency earlier than their performances or displays of their work, to make sure that folks perceive that “enterprise as regular” is not legitimate if we’re to outlive.

For those that wish to discover out extra about what they’ll do, please go to:
https://midnightkingdom.com/ACTIVISM

Featured picture by Lisa Barrett.

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