Women in veganism: to be feminist is to be vegan

By Nelida Insua-Coelho

Out of the six percent of vegans in the country, seventy-nine percent of American vegans are women, according to the website HowStuffWorks. The site goes into detail of how co-hosts of plant based podcast, “V is for Veganism,” Emilie Aries and Bridget Todd break down the statistics of veganism both in the United States and the United Kingdom.

As of 2017, six percent of the United States population identifies as vegan, compared to one percent in 2014, as stated in the Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017 report.

Veganism has been a trending topic for the past year with documentaries like Cowspiracy, What The Health, Before the Flood and the Netflix original movie Okja sparking conversation.

The reason for the rising amount of vegans that are females, according an article published by Dr. Anne DeLessio-Parson in the “Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography” is because eating meat reinforces “toxic masculinity”.

In patriarchal societies where hegemonic masculinity implies an imperative to eat meat, vegetarianism disrupts food culture, raising questions about how vegetarians do, re-do, and rework gender,” said DeLessio-Parson, Ph.D. candidate at the Pennsylvania State University.

She also explains how being vegetarian in society doing vegetarianism in interactions drives social change. The act contributes to the de-linking of meat from gender hegemony and reveals the resisting and reworking of gender in food spaces.

DeLessio-Parson, in her article, explains how being a vegetarian in a South American nation is a political act that contributes to the destabilization of the gender binary. Vegetarians defy attempts to hold them accountable to gendered social expectations.

“Women, for example, assert authority over their diets; men embody rejection of the meat-masculinity nexus by adopting a worldview that also rejects sexism and racism.” She was also interviewed by Jesse Watters from Fox News, who ate a steak in front of her during the segment.

The hispanic population at the University, according to the website, is at sixty-one percent. Hispanic culture and foods revolves around animal based dishes, making it harder to break tradition despite the rise of vegans born in and of hispanic descent.

As women, we work hard to look our best from how we dress to how we look physically.

Second year FIU law student and vegan, Ali Danae Mullenax stated that veganism has helped with her self image, as well as improve her overall health.

“As a female, honestly, because of whatever societal pressure, we are concerned about our body image and many of us develop eating disorders because of it. Veganism has helped me overcome that,” said Mullenax.

Women go vegan for the same reasons as men: health, environmental degradation and/or the animal cruelty that goes on in the animal agriculture industry.

“Women can personally identify with the female cows and the abuse they have to go through in the dairy industry,” said Mullenax.

They deal with immense amount of torture before being slaughtered, and end up on non-vegan plates.

Making the connection, despite being from a different species, is important. Being a feminist allows for women to support other women, providing opportunities previously unavailable for females, and having respect for one another.

There are females in every other species, and they deserve the same amount of respect we fight for our own species to have.

Feature Image by EightBitTony. Image retrieved from Flickr. Image license can be found here.

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