Making the American Man

June 21, 2017

Making the American Man – what an interesting concept and an interesting documentary. Do clothes make the man? What makes a man? Why do I feel like an anti-feminist even thinking about it? Is it important to make things in the U.S. again?

The documentary showcases interviews with a surprisingly high number of business people who are manufacturing things in the U.S. As we all know, manufacturing in this country in practically non-existent, but it apparently does, in fact, exist. My feminist side was rolling my eyes a bit at the somewhat “what’s a man’s man” discussion during the first part of the documentary. But, what was really enjoyable was learning about artisans, craftspersons, and manufacturing in the U.S.

Since the focus was on “men’s” items, the information was about clothing, hats, accessories, soaps, etc., geared to men. (I now have a large list of companies I can purchase from for my husband’s birthday and Christmas!) It’s amazing to watch the footage of manufacturing for these companies – workers carefully creating shoes, clothing, etc. with careful attention to every little detail in large, well-lit, environmentally-friendly factory settings. After viewing quite a number of videos of manufacturing in places like Thailand and Cambodia, I can assure you that we treat people and the environment quite differently in U.S. manufacturing than they do in factories overseas where people are treated like virtual slaves.

The reason I found this documentary so refreshing and important for people to view, is the focus on American manufacturing and American jobs. Clearly, we live in one big world, so we need to support each other with fair trade agreements and so forth. However, that said, it’s always to my advantage as an American to support the job of a fellow American. And, more importantly, if I support American-made goods, then I can be certain that I am supporting and clothing myself with goods that were made with laws to protect workers and the environment. If I buy non-fair-trade items (aka “fast fashion”) from just about anywhere overseas, I can be certain that I am, in fact, clothing myself in slavery and environmental damage.

Voting with my wallet is my one big chance at change. If I buy from manufacturers such as the manufacturers portrayed in this documentary, I am voting for an American job and a good, safe environment for the workers. I think everyone needs to consistently carefully and prayerfully consider what goes into each and every product we buy. (Don’t worry – it’s not that hard, promise!)

I recommend this documentary to anyone and everyone who is concerned with taking care of the environment and worker’s rights. If you aren’t concerned about those things, you should be!

Job 12:7-10 (NRSV): But ask the animals, and they will teach you;  the birds of the air, and they will tell you ask the plants of the earth,[a] and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.

Serve all with love.

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