Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Skinny Bitch and Bulimic Vegetarians

In 2007, few people would have expected a "no-nonsense" book of "tough-love" for American females to become one of the most successful vegetarian advocacy publications in the Western hemisphere. This book, Skinny Bitch, spawned a whole slew of products including a cookbook, an instructional book on pregnancy, a journal, and now three work out videos. Already, the original book has become an international bestseller, hung onto the New York Times bestseller list (including a brief spot at the top), has sold two million copies, and has been translated into 20 languages.

While many vegetarian and AR activists have welcomed this book with open arms, too few people have heeded to the criticisms that this book preys on female body insecurities. Below, I will discuss why disguising a vegetarian message within a frame about weight-loss/management is not only detrimental to the health of adolescent females and young women but also trivializes the radical political orientation of veganism by conflating it with a self-interested, faddish diet. In light of continuous research that links the adoption of vegetarian diets by teens to disguise and/or justify their eating disorders, the sizist discourse that shames and blames "fat" people, and the vogue-ing of vegetarianism for the mainstream, I suggest that vegans ally instead with feminist and radical social justice groups to promote body acceptance and HEALTH rather than societal acceptance and "health."
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