The Order Of The Good Death w/ Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, activist, and funeral industry rabble-rouser. In 2011 she founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death, which has spawned the death positive movement. Her first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, was a New York Times best-seller. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs her nonprofit funeral home, Undertaking LA.
I have had the good fortune of speaking at two of the same events as Caitlin which is how I became aware of the incredible work she is doing in the field of normalizing death and holy smokes does she do it well. Her twitter is hilarious and extremely insightful and I highly recommend you give her a follow. Below is an excerpt from a blog post she wrote on orderofthegooddeath.com. Click the link at the bottom to read the rest!
Movements are defined by the change they create– what they are. But Caitlin Doughty wants to dispel myths about the term death positive, further defining the movement by what it is not.
For the first few years I was an advocate for reform in the death industry, I used phrases like “death awareness” and “death acceptance” to describe the movement I was a part of. After all, these were the terms used since the 1970s by scholars and practitioners.
I became “death positive” almost by accident. It started with a tweet, asking why we had movements like body positivity and sex positivity, but we couldn’t use that same umbrella to be forward thinking about our own deaths. People began to respond to the tweet, and the term took off. As an advocate, you go where the enthusiasm and momentum take you, and the term death positivity was challenging and necessary.
I would never tell you to self-identify as death positive. Even if you share all of our principles (laid out here), and support our advocacy, that may not mean you want to align with the movement. That’s fair! But I’ve noticed some misconceptions about the movement’s purpose and values lately, and I want to make sure our stance is clear.