Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is — Mindfully

Recently, comments by Jennifer Beals in the January 31, 2006 issue of The Advocate and the resulting article “Season 4??? It’s in Your Hands” at at L-word.com seem to have opened a rats nest of discussion in the lesbian ranks.  Goodness knows when I shared the article with business partners and friends I got a wide range of opinions and emotions. It was like opening up pandora’s box! Lively discussions, to say the least.

Now, before I get to the meat of what I have to share, let me give you the cliff-notes version of where I am coming from:

  • I am a big fan of The L Word. I don’t believe it represents everyone in the lesbian community any more than “The Jeffersons” or “The Cosby Show” represented all African Americans.  It’s not SUPPOSED to. It’s entertainment and tells the story of these particular women as these particular writers choose to do so.
  • I subscribe to The Advocate and enjoy visiting L-word.com and sometimes I agree with what they say and sometimes I don’t.  That’s what makes free-thinking press and speech great.
  • I do not believe in illegally copying informational or artistic products because it only hurts the creators and fans in the long run (not to mention, it is illegal).

I believe we all get to powerfully choose where we spend our money.  And, we all know that money talks, especially to the executives of big companies making many of the choices in our society.  How we choose to spend our money is one way of walking our talk.

For instance, I go out of my way to patronize the locally owned coffee shop and bakery even though it would be more convenient for me not to do so. I like the people who own the businesses, they treat me well, and most importantly they have a quality product.  Without the quality, it wouldn’t matter WHO they were, I wouldn’t give them my business.

However, I think the articles and conversations I refer to above are overgeneralizations that present the issue (subscribe to Showtime or not) as a black and white issue.  I don’t believe it is.  Here’s why…

Yes, I understand that in order to keep the show on the air and encourage the development of other lesbian themed shows, the powers that be need to see that it is a profitable endeavor.  And, the more people that subscribe and support the show, the more likely it is to be successful.  However, where I differ in opinion from the sweeping generalizations is that I believe people need to make the choice of whether to subscribe or not based on their own circumstances and integrity.  If you read the articles at face value one could almost conclude that people should subscribe even if it throws their entire household out of integrity from a money standpoint.  After all, what kind of lesbian are you if you can’t spend your last dime or go into debt to support the show??  I don’t believe in my heart that this is the intention of anyone, but it sure does come across that way.  And, what about the tons of lesbians who buy the DVD?  Doesn’t that count at all?  If you read the article, only subscribing “counts” even if you put your money where your mouth is and you purchase the DVD.  At least Ilene Chaiken acknowledged the success of the DVD sales in her sidebar of the Advocate article mentioned above.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Let’s face it in the world we live in today, money is a big issue.  Consumer spending is rampant and credit card debt is off the charts.  This is all the more reason to THINK before you spend and be conscious of whether you are in or out of integrity when it comes to your money.  Don’t let anyone or anything guilt you into making a choice that does not feel right to you.  For all you know the friend down the street with 200 premium channels and a BMW may be leveraged to the max and unable to sleep at night thinking of her credit card bills.  Or, the other friend down the street might have a bunch of premium channels and no debt at all because their passion is entertainment and that is how she chooses to spend the bulk of her entertainment budget. You have no control over what they do, but you do get the say over what you do.

Many households, relationships, and businesses encounter peril because no one takes the time to wake up and deal with the reality of money.

So, support your favorite causes, entertainers, and local businesses.  It’s the right thing to do. Just make sure you do it because it feels right to you and works for your budget.


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