Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Veganism, masculinity, fat-shaming

It's not every day that you listen to an NPR interview with an academic whom you've met, conducted by a reporter who once sublet your apartment! This story on vegan men and masculinity touches on many of the issues that continue to inform my blogging and my research.

While I'm reposting links, I should also mention fuckyeahfatvegans. While I don't identify as fat, I absolutely love this tumblr. I love how this blog calls out the hypocrisy of the ableism and thin privilege of vegan discourse. While I do think that eating vegan is generally healthier, I don't think that this is the most compelling reason to go vegan. And I certainly don't think that it's okay to use fat or otherwise nonnormative bodies as negative examples in "go vegan!" propoganda (as in this cartoon).

Animal rights have always been the stickiest, least comfortable arrow in my "why vegan?" quiver. I think it's really complicated, and I am still open to the idea that in environments where eating vegan is not agriculturally feasible, there are good ways to be meat eaters. This is part of my reason to eat as an omnivore while studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal. That said, for someone living in the U.S., it's not only feasible but also ecologically imperative to avoid eating meat, given the way it's produced here. And from there, maybe it's only a matter of degree from a worldview that de-emphasizes the individual with respect to the planet, to a worldview that de-emphasizes the individual with respect to the energy and uniqueness of other beings.

I don't know. 

I don't know. Like I said, it's so much harder to articulate this aspect than the fact that one quarter pounder uses the equivalent resources of two months' worth of showers. But even if the animal rights ethics aren't obvious, 1) the environmental argument is obvious, and 2) why not err on the side of care, given that we have the option?

Even with this agnostic position on animal rights, it seems clear to me that campaigns like PETA's (which have employed sex, fat-shaming, and even autism scare tactics [rufkm?!]) totally miss the point. If veganism is to mean something, it needs to be a self-aware, politically conscious stance that privileges humility and compassion over self-righteousness and hysteria.

1 comment:

Zippy Locations said...

danggggg dude! how'd I miss this post? astoundingly well informed + eloquent presentation o' the vegan fax. thanks
for sharing!