Vegans, like vegetarians do not consume meat, fish or poultry “but they also do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.” Veganism has been around since the 1850’s. Back then, the reasons for going vegan were quite similar to some of the reasons why people are vegan today. Some vegans really want a healthy lifestyle and desire to give all living animals a better life. They choose not to eat animal by-products such as eggs or dairy because they don’t want to promote the meat industries and it’s all the same for why they don’t wear leather or cosmetics. Though veganism has been around for more than a century, it is still pop culture of today because the mediums of media are different. It’s always in your face and the tastemakers of this time makes sure that all have an opportunity to choose a vegan lifestyle.
“Tastemakers can help keep culture vital by introducing the public to new ideas, music, programs, or products. But the ability to sway or influence the tastes of consumers can be worth millions of dollars. In the traditional media model, media companies set aside large advertising budgets to promote their most promising projects. Tastemakers are encouraged to buzz about “the next big thing.” -Jack Lule
Is vegan at all what it was originally meant for anymore? That is my question. When I see that celebrities like Beyoncé and Ariana Grande have gone vegan or when I type “vegan” in Pinterest and see how many boards comes up, i’d say, no. It’s been around for all of our lives, but this this generation is reshaping its purpose and it has now become the “cool” thing to do. With that, businesses have created many forms of non-vegan foods to appease vegan dieters making this diet doable as well as comfortable.
There are so many substitute foods for “old cravings” that a vegan dieter may have. Though tofu and soy products have been around for a while, businesses have added more “foods” to the list of products that a vegan can eat. There are Vegan substitute guides all over the internet giving guidelines to what one can eat when they are “feeling like a burger”.
It goes without saying that celebrities have a huge influence on what their audience sees and emulates. Early this month, Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z joined forces with the 22 Days Nutrition meal service. The couple tried the product for themselves before they sold the idea of their own Vegan campaign to their fans. However, Beyoncé made her personal challenge public by posting her journey on Instagram. Even if the challenge hadn’t worked for her, her fans had already joined the movement, simply because she tried the product. In a short, written by MTV’s John Walker, Walker makes a very good point that I don’t think people think about when they jump on celebrity bandwagons. He states that “If you are what you eat and you’re eating “the Beyoncé diet,” then this meal plan’s big selling point is that you will effectively “become” Beyoncé by the end of it — and therein lies the problem.”
Young actress turned pop star is an example of this. There is a webpage that is dedicated to Look and Act Like Ariana Grande. On this page you will find out how to get her skin, style sense, and eating habits. In 2013 Ariana Grande went 100% vegan. A vegan YouTuber was ecstatic about Ariana’s decision to go vegan and states that “she has such a huge following that she has so much potential to change an entire generation”.
While this is true, it may also be dangerous. I think the idea of Vegan eating (clean eating) is a great thing but just because its right, doesn’t mean that it’s right for everybody. Celebrity trainer and founder of Twenty Two Training, Dalton Wong stated to Telegraph.co.uk that “Every year there is some eating fad that we all get behind. Last year we had the 5:2, the year before we had the alkaline diet, and the year before that gluten free. Veganism is now cool, but if you don’t do it properly, it’s really not that healthy,” As pop culture consumers, we hear all of the glorious things about movements, products and results that make us want to jump on the bandwagon. However, doing so leaves a ton of room for ignorance, accidents and destruction. Some will do it right. Some will seek a doctor to gain knowledge about themselves and how becoming a vegan would be beneficial for them. They will figure out why they want to switch lifestyles and how to appropriately do so. While others will spend a lot of money trying to eat like Beyoncé and who knows, may turn out worse than if than had they not tried it. I’m amazed how many people will follow a single person in a serious life change JUST because they’re famous. The future of Veganism is bright. Businesses make loads money, some people lose weight and become healthier, and some try and fail. The rest of us eat animals, animal by-products, honey and everything dairy. We wear, fur, silk, wool, and cosmetics and we enjoy life.