Food · Vegetarian Culture

Celebrities: Help or Hindrance?

I’ve been wondering lately whether vegetarianism and the animal rights industry is helped or hindered by celebtity endorsement. Should we be putting a commercial spin on a lifestyle choice that is based on morality, education, health and the desire to go green?

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At the moment it seems virtually impossible to avoid Beyoncé and her new (so called) veganism, it’s been on the news, countless articles have been written about it (a brief Google search brought up Elle, In Style, The Huff, Vanity Fair, Marie Clare plus dozens more) and I’ve overheard several conversations in bars regarding her incredible figure and glowing skin.

First and foremost, it isn’t veganism, its a diet and the ‘mastermind’ behind this diet is Marco Borges. It basically consists of going vegan for 22 days at a time. During this period you cut out all animal products along with gluten and soy. This basically just leaves you with fruit and veg. I love that its highlighting veganism, I hate that it’s claiming to be veganism. The problem I have with it is this, the whole premise seems to be based on a shallow, egotistic, point of view. Do this and you’ll loose weight, do this and you’ll have flawless skin. What I want to hear is do this and you’ll be helping to eliminate factory farming and do this and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint. It comes back to morality. At the very core of this diet there is a plant based heart and soul, I just wish that was the message that was being taken from this story rather than it being yet another fad celebrity diet.

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Someone else that makes me question whether a vegetarian diet needs a self-appointed spokesperson is Morrissey. I mean, love him or hate him, he definitely knows how to bring animal rights into the forefront of the mainstream spectrum. He has compared slaughter houses to Auschwich, said eating meat is as bad as pedophilia and he has been known to walk off stage, mid song, because he could smell meat being cooked within the venue. I wonder what this does, on the whole, for vegetarianism? I don’t think it’s a positive portrayal of what most veggies believe and the ideals they hold. He is almost making it seem like a very extreme religion that alienates non-memebers and brainwashes those that do believe into radicalised ideology. Oh Morrissey…

However, while browsing through Facebook I came across an article that had been posted by Gigwise, a popular music site, saying how Morrissey had refused to play a gig because the venue won’t go vegetarian on the nights he’s scheduled to perform. This post had 4,511 likes and reams of positive comments. All publicity is good publicity I suppose.

PETA use a lot of celebrities to endorse their campaigns, I imagine this is how they have reached over 3 million supporters and are currently the world’s largest animal rights group. Anyone who is anyone has done an advert for PETA, from Justin Bieber to Paul McCartney. But do they work or do they just publicize the celeb and help to get their names in the paper and on the tips of our fingers when we’re Googling?

Maybe I’m just an old cynic, maybe celebrity culture just isn’t my thing, maybe I just want people to do what’s right for the right reasons. But I guess, even if a few people are applauding Morrissey’s moral compass and if Beyoncé is helping people to see the benefit of healthy fruit and veg, even if it is for a mere 22 days, I should be a happy girl

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