Capitalism and the Myth of Ownership: Wellness, Yoga and the Reality of Self-Employment.
If you are a wellness teacher that has considered what it means to be self-employed, you may understand the “owning a business” discourse does not map onto the reality of self-employment. Studio owners and colleagues often tout: “You are your own brand”, “You are your own business”, “You are free to make your own schedule”, “This is your class (that I tell you how to teach and theme and will happily replace you if the numbers dwindle)”. Many of us market ourselves as if we are businesses, but do we have access to the support small businesses do?
The myth of capitalism has painted working for yourself as ownership and a choice, when in fact it is white supremacy and the economy that has forced many, often the most marginalized people, into self-employment (not ownership). Many of us did not choose this life–– it is the only one that keeps us working and earning. The competition for jobs with benefits, elusive even in good times, are often unattainable for those that have been forced into self-employment. And if you have been self-employed, odds are that those who dominate within your industry have designed it to leave the very people it depends on without employment security and benefits, and without ownership or a stake in the business they help flourish. Wellness is one such industry.
This current era of joblessness has brought the self-employment crisis to a head. Many people lost jobs and their businesses, but the self-employed lost work. This distinction is important because a lost job or business is tangible in our culture. Losing customers or clients is assumed to be part of the design of self-employment, the precarious ebb and flow. It is the risk one takes to be self employed. As if we chose this precarious work and its consequences.
In response to the crisis of self-employment in our industry, @connectivecoop have created something new. Our business acknowledges the need of both support and sweat to thrive. We also believe our labor should translate into the ownership of something tangible.