In Response to the Sexual Politics of Veganism

I recently read an interesting article on the Vegan Feminist Network about the sexual politics of veganism. Now, you may be thinking, “wtf does veganism have to do with sex?” Well, that’s exactly the piece’s point. That sex and veganism do not belong together, and that by marrying them, we are hurting our credibility.

The article says that by sexualizing veganism through PETAish antics of lettuce-clad ladies, and vegan cookbooks touting the sex appeal of the movement, and male-targeted books like “Meat is for Pussies,” etc, we’re actually hurting ourselves by diminishing our own integrity and turning something that should be about compassion and equal rights into something about commodifying the movement and selling sex.

It also argues that the sexualization and feminization of veganism devalues the women behind it, making us the target of a patriarchal society instead of a collected band of strong veg-friendly females.

The article, written by sociologist Corey Wrenn, details “Essentially, it is the co-optation and erosion of a women’s movement. Instead of empowering women on behalf of animals, these approaches disempower women on behalf of men.”

I’m not really going to get into that last one, because I don’t like anyone telling me what makes me feel empowered. If I want to flaunt my sexuality, I can do that for myself, and I can feel empowered by it, regardless of who is watching, enjoying, or scrutinizing.

I do agree that veganism has been sexualized by the media, and by some of us vegans—myself included. Just look at my blog. But I’m not so sure that it’s a bad thing. Clearly, I’m biased, but I believe that the more people we can make aware of the movement, the better. If that means getting people interested by talking about how eating plant-based can increase libido, or by focusing on svelte vegan bods, then so be it.

Then, once they’re paying attention, the will hopefully become educated about how veganism also saves millions of lives, the planet, and the body. It’s the old bait and switch, and it’s going to start a movement faster than handing out pamphlets at macrobiotic restaurants, where the majority of the patrons are already into veganism as is.

I have often used the same argument whenever people get their panties twisted about the glamorization of veganism. Celebrities go vegan for a stint (whaddup, Beyonce?) and suddenly everyone is talking about it. And that’s a complaint because? It’s about spreading and growing the movement, and if this is what it takes, then so be it. I really don’t think that says anything bad about veganism, but perhaps about society; it takes some (vegan) boobs to harvest our attention. Do I wish we could just open up a conversation about stopping animal cruelty and have the entire American society break into applause? Yes. But has that happened? Hardly. So maybe it’s good to sneak in the back door.

I don’t care how the word “veganism” gets into someone’s mouth. As long as it stays there—or better—it spreads into the mouths of others, it’s all good with me.

What is your opinion? Are vegans selling themselves out by sexualizing the movement? Do you want to tell me I’m the worst kind of vegan, and the worst kind of woman? Go ahead, you won’t be the first.

One Comment

  • Reply
    March 14, 2014

    I don’t know about all of that empowerment and stuff. That is a totally different issue.
    Since you mentioned that you think that even you are sexualizing the vegan movement, let me share what I think of your blog as I am new here.
    I just see a person who is writing about sexual things happens to be vegan and is just using a ‘vegan muse’ like tofu, while a non-vegan would have maybe named the blog sexybacon or something.

    Vegans too are normal people right! Now about why I don’t think these sexual ads make any difference.
    First question who is a naked lady trying to target? A generally sexually, well lets say borderline perverted male and then maybe the lesbian female.
    I would never buy a normal product that tries to sell itself with a photo of a seductive female, I might masturbate to it (when I was 14 maybe ;-) ) I might not even notice the product.

    I have seen men and interacted with men who have seen this woman and you know I have yet to meet a man who went vegan because of a sexual vegan ad.
    Infact they have lesser respect for woman or the model if they knew them, its nothing sexist its just like meeting a same sex person they are impressed with but when they find out they are vegan, it does not matter how intelligent or nice or whatever they are these people have written them off.

    Instead I found that a lot of men thing vegan woman are easy sex, All you have to do is pretend to be vegan and you can fuck them and leave them.

    You know what has this reduced vegan woman to, the category of woman who these men(not me) think are easy lay like the older woman who is at her sexual peak but is getting wrinkles and is so insecure they think she will sleep with any younger man who think she is attractive. You know what I mean.

    My best friend from college gets connected with me on facebook and after seeing that I had a lot of vegan woman on my friends list who interact with me(its because I got a lot to share about veganism a lot of research and stuff that the general vegans are yet to learn) When he found out I was a vegan, he calls me and asks me, First what is this vegan.
    Before I can complete he just says “you are doing this to get woman right?
    I am like what?
    In my meat eating days we both have eaten 2 whole chickens, We used to eat a lot of meat and even hunt and eat a lot of wild game meats, ready to eat anything.

    Then I remind that he had once gone vegetarian after speaking to a friends(girl) dad but he never could stick to it, I could stick to it, I asked him what made him even go vegetarian for a month, He was silent and then I realized and did a “facepalm”
    I remembered that many were saying that he was going vegetarian only because he was in love that friend.
    He actually pretended to be vegetarian.

    I am digressing, The point is that this sexy thing is not going to turn anyone vegan.
    Lets take it to another level, to get some perspective.
    You show sexy pictures or a sexy ad and hope someone turns vegan, if you want to take it to another you could offer actual sex or blowjobs. You think that the average bacon loving man is going to have sex and then go vegan just because of the sex?
    How can we even assume that he is going to go vegan because of a sexually suggestive ad, Even porn when he can get better porn he likes for free on the internet.

    The only way the sexual ads will work is if you showed a sexual ad and got them to watch it and then just suddenly played videos of animals getting tortured before they can turn away. LOL. And then maybe again get back to even more sexy stuff so sexy they find it hard to turn away and then again play a clip from earthling.
    Well that is the only way I see sex may,,,,,may turn someone vegan.
    Or maybe after 10 minutes of sex ad you have Gary yuforsky say, Ok listen to me for 2 minutes and then you get back to the sex :-P.
    But it would have to be a streaming video or they would fast forward that too.
    Nuff said

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