Friday, March 02, 2007

"Let Vegetarianism Grow On You"

Though not I am not a vegetarian, I was one many years ago. My refusal to eat meat was a rebellion and a political statement so shallow that there was no reason for it to last. That is not to say that others choose vegetarianism for shallow reasons; I am certain there are people deeply committed to values of vegetarianism beyond the political and post-pubescent rebellion I experienced.

In the early seventies, the vegetarians I met were usually hippies and leftists. Most were not very attractive. I fancied myself a hippie (but I was a punk at heart), and I am still a leftist. I am no longer a vegetarian.

Please indulge my vanity: Does eating meat make me more or less attractive than when I didn't eat meat?

Vegetarians are often skinnier than meat-eaters. In the United States, attractiveness is often equated with skinniness. It is rare that you see a voluptuous person presented as attractive. Models, actors, athletes, and others presented in the beauty market are usually trim and fit. No extra flab. The only largesse about them is usually augmented breasts or steroid-enhanced pecs. We get the occasional Anna Nicole Smith (who was pretty hot, irrespective of the train wreck she lived in). It's unusual to be presented with a woman who is rounded, curved and very female-shaped; we generally get Kate Moss (whose body sometimes seems to be that of a teenage boy, uless she removes her top and shows her breasts).

I have heard actress-models in New York discussing their diets. They often avoid meat. Salads are their choice. They are always skinny and sometimes attractive. Are they vegetarians? Do they choose salads because of the reasons that non-actress-models choose to avoid meat? Or, do they want to chew, not eschew, animals. I doubt their reasons are political or health-based. They are more likely just mentally ill, have negative body images, and eat poorly because of it.

I was a vegetarian more in the PETA-sense of it, not the actress-model sense of it. I didn't want to eat animals. I was using drugs recreationally at the time, so the drugs were keeping me skinny. It wasn't a desire to remain skinny that made me a vegetarian.

PETA is an interesting organization. Of course I want to support them because I think abuse of animals is downright reprehensible. But, I think they go too far. I don't think we should club baby seals or hunt endangered species; but, I think it's OK to raise calves for veal, and minks for clothing, and sheep for wool. Leather is an excellent material for human clothing: it's protective qualities are indisputable. I don't think we should be testing eye-liner on bunnies, but I think it's OK to breed them for testing medicine. It's all about the reasons you are using the animals, not what you are doing to them.

PETA has created some fun public relations stunts. The latest is "Let Vegetarianism Grow On You," a photo shoot of Filipino actress-model Alicia Mayer (a/k/a Alicia Bonifacio) dressed in lettuce.


Popular Filipino actress-model Alicia Mayer poses for a campaign advertisement for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) clad only in fresh lettuce to promote vegetarianism Wednesday Feb. 28, 2007, in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Thank you PETA!

See more pix of Alicia Mayer (a/k/a Alicia Bonifacio) here.

See more PETA here.


Liz T said...

I'm a shadeI'm a bit of a harcore PETA supporter. I don't think animals should be used by humans for any reason. We can find materials to wear that don't kill animals and we can certainly test medicines on humans (since they will be given to humans and, duh, human and animal physiologies are not comparable anyway) and all that stuff. Animals deserve to live I think - without being slaughtered for food, clothing or used in sports like horse racing and so on.

The funny thing is that I've always had these views, this love for animals but until a year ago I never spoke about them because I was a hypocrite. How could I love animals when I ate them?

Now I don't eat them (but I do eat eggs/milk because I'm not a vegan) so I can get on my high horse and speak for them because they can't speak for themselves!

Liz x

DM said...

Don't kid me! I know you are a vegetarian becaus of Alicia Mayer.