Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Veganism (?) in the Media

I read several months ago how singer Alanis Morissette ended up getting a good little chunk of media attention after having shed 20 lbs. The press, of course, is eternally obsessed with publishing reports about women entertainers losing and / or gaining weight. In this case, Alanis made the rounds attributing her weight loss to her switch to a vegan "diet". Back in January, the "green gossip" site Ecorazzi was proclaiming:

Alanis Morissette has joined the ranks of compassionate celebrities by making public her commitment to the vegan lifestyle! HELL, YEAH!!
Of course, the size of the grain of salt with which I took that statement can be surmised just by reading the last sentence of the Ecorazzi blurb, which encourages readers to "join" Alanis by making "the resolution to go meat-free in 2009". Later in October, I'd blogged about another Ecorazzi story applauding more examples of (meaninglessness) supposed celebrity veganism.

Of course, when you actually step back and look at the big picture, adopting a vegan "diet" as an end in and of itself for weight loss purposes (i.e. while continuing to use animal products in every other facet of your day-to-day life) is really just another variation on the same sort of piecemeal eschewing of animal exploitation that going meat-free ultimately is, no? Welfarists will insist that "every little bit counts" and that somehow, whether the people picking and choosing which animal products to consume (or not consume) know it or not, "every little bit" is a potential step forward towards complete veganism.

Today, I read a story that served as a good reminder of how as long as our own self-interest is the motivation to stop consuming this or that animal product, there's no guarantee of any forward motion at all. In fact, in the January 2010 issue of Runner's World, Alanis proclaims that she's taken a few steps back and is now a "semivegan" and that she's "about 90 percent vegan". She said she thinks that veganism is "good for training"; it's a shame she doesn't think that veganism is good for nonhuman animals.


Fredrik said...

Vegan Plus+
Vegan before 6

We are watching the destruction of the word 'vegan'. This has to stop, now!

HeatherC said...
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Anonymous said...

I've always take any news of celebrities who go "vegan" with the tiniest grain of salt since it's pretty easy to pick apart their dedication to/understanding of veganism beyond food choices (Ginnifer Goodwin is a particularly recent/frustrating case in point.)

Personally, I have lost a considerable amount of weight since I went vegan which invariably becomes a point of discussion with friends and family. I always emphasize the ethical implications of veganism. The result is that my family is understanding of my position and a lot of my friends think of me as "that vegan" but I'd rather be known for my ethical stance than for following a celebrity trend.

Vanilla Rose said...

Overheard on a bus: "Well, actually I'm a semi-vegan, but if I weren't, I would DIE, because I eat nothing but cheese!"