Saturday, April 18, 2009


If you walk around a mall, you'll find many, many, many different products featuring the Peace Symbol. Many brands and many stores feature the Peace Symbol.* I'm extremely doubtful any of these stores are actually interested in the political (potentially subversive) intent the Peace Symbol may imply. They are capitalizing on a general mood (passive opposition to war) that contributes to a fashion trend.

So the Peace Symbol has become a fashionable symbol in a consumeristic culture. And in some ways, this makes the fashionability of the Peace Sign representative for the American mood toward war. There are few "supporters" of the current wars--most are weary and skeptical about these wars. But most people are either not so opposed to these wars they're taking any action, or feel incapable of taking any positive action (it does often feel like a helpless situation, that opponents of war can't really do anything to stop it). Thus people are willing to passively express these (general, vague) negative feelings toward war with the passive means we're most familiar and comfortable with: consumerism.**

*In my experience, the overwhelming majority of Peace Sign products are for women, which calls for further--if obvious--comment. Just as "real men" are supposed to love eating meat (just ask Taco Bell--men shouldn't just want steak but they should want "triple steak," and the only way men can eat a salad is if it is "fully loaded" and the lettuce is buried beneath meat), men are not expected to embrace the cuddly, mushy, huggy Peace Sign (usually around pink, purple, and pastels)--that's for sensitive, softer women.

**I own a hat, a bracelet, a key chain, a pair of pants, and three shirts with the Peace Symbol, and two more shirts featuring the word "pacifist." I'm rarely not wearing clothing expressing a peace message, and I love getting new clothes with the Peace Symbol. I'm not exempting myself from this critique.


  1. Is 'Peace Symbol' a proper noun? I'm not being snarky, just asking why it's capitalized.

  2. just emphasizing it is THE peace symbol.

  3. you make a great point. even if i don't agree with the tea baggers, it's nice to see someone take to the streets and make their voice heard.

    the day pacifism would be the majority didn't come soon enough! the only reason it's not the default is that we don't feel the wars here.