Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Women, the 'Net, and Veganism

I have criticized, and I'll continue to criticize, the recent growth of veganism as some sort of trendy diet, as the latest weight-loss regimen. The word "health" is thrown around often, but it seems like it's the person in the mirror that's at the end of it all. It would be a shame to see a fine cause consumed by narcissism. An aging hippie once told me that every lifestyle choice will have its time in the mainstream, so it's important to stick to your principles until the fad passes. True, but I've never been part of a movement that hasn't lost currency though widespread interest.

From what I can see, interest in the vegan diet wouldn't be quite so big if certain people weren't obsessed with what their scales tell them. And yes, sadly, I mean women. There are whole industries thriving on convincing women that they're not good enough as they are. Just stop and consider that ad for anti-aging cream you saw recently. It's all in the name of sexiness, but nobody's asking individual men what they like. Sexiness does mean actually being attractive to the other sex, doesn't it? For the majority of us, anyhow, with all due respect to the gay and lesbian people out there.

I mean, when pressed, what men really like. You'd be surprised. There's nothing wrong with a little bounce. Or maybe a lot.

If you try to please the public, you're leaving your own man behind. It's one or the other.

All that makeup, all the talk of calories and other numbers, just creates a barrier between a man and a woman. It's not about your own self worth, it's about others manipulating you to increase profits. If people found out that passion requires not a single dollar, huge corporations would collapse.

It was this video, posted by Kat on Facebook this morning, that spurred my thinking. If the female presence on the internet is characterized by narcissism, I wonder just how much the internet is affecting the growth of veganism.

Yeah, I know he emphasizes the cultural side of things a little too much, and there may be an instinct in women to attract a mate, but you get the general idea.

You know, I called a big vegan blogger out on things she said in a post, and I got a message telling me that I'd hurt her feelings. I had left my comment on the wall of her Facebook business account, but she took it very personally. I was a little shocked, and I'm still trying to figure out how to respond. I'm still grappling with the idea that the vegan diet and surrounding issues can, in her eyes, reflect her personal worth. I've been feeling that, by starting a blog with the word "vegan" in the title, I've entered shark-infested waters. If I knock over some cultural props that deserve knocking, I'm gonna hurt people.

See, avoiding animal food is resistance to me. It means rejecting what powerful people want you to do for the sake of what's right. It means being yourself rather than buying a self at the mall. It's heroism of the David-and-Goliath sort. But when individuals, of their own free will, and with little coercion, are selling themselves into the hands of manipulators, it all seems a little hopeless.

I'm talking We the People. Please, let's not give up. Please step off the scale and focus on bigger things. There's a whole world outside of trivial body-image issues, and it desperately needs your attention. And if ever you're tempted to envy some emaciated gorgon on a red carpet, please stop and think twice.

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