Beyonce’s veganism promotes ‘discrimination,’ profs warn
Two professors at the University of London recently warned that Beyonce’s veganism “reproduces existing patterns of discrimination and inequality.”
In an article in the recent issue of Feminist Media Studies, Ella Fegitz and Daniela Pirani argue that Beyonce’s adoption of the 22 Days vegan challenge perpetuates inequality because it is actually a “post-feminist dietary practice.”
"The endorsement of veganism is radically different from the ethical and political stance of eco-feminism or black veganism, becoming commodified as just another lifestyle choice."
Under the social and economic regime of neoliberalism, the empowerment of the individual is worrisome to some feminist scholars, since it shifts the onus of self-improvement onto the individual and away from society.
“The appropriation of a vegan diet is mobilized as part of a post-feminist ethics that promotes an individualistic form of emancipation, which sustains existent patterns of discrimination and inequality, consumerism and neoliberalism,” Fegitz and Pirani explain.
“In this context, the endorsement of veganism is radically different from the ethical and political stance of eco-feminism or black veganism, becoming commodified as just another lifestyle choice,” they add.
The professors then spell out three main concerns they have with veganism, saying that not only does it promote “consumer culture,” but that the vegan ethos stresses the individual capacity of humans to make their own choices, which is troublesome because it ”leads to the responsibilization of the individual.”
Veganism can also be used to promote a “sexy body,” which can require “self-management, -control, and -discipline,” they lament.
The professors particularly stress their concerns that veganism and vegetarianism (which they lump together under the label “veg*ism”) can promote personal responsibility.
“Indeed, Beyoncé’s uptake and promotion of a vegan diet highlights what Elspeth Probyn has called ‘choicechoisie,’ by which she means the bourgeois, neo-liberal logic of shaping personal identity through the exercise of consumer choice,” they state.
“Ultimately, the post-feminist endorsement of veg*ism becomes a business opportunity, with celebrities such as Beyoncé capitalizing and aggrandizing their wealth through a dietary practice that eco-feminism has employed for political and ethical reasons,” the professors conclude.
Campus Reform reached out to Fegitz and Pirani for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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