The sexual politics of veggies: Beyoncé’s “commodity veg*ism”

Ella Fegitz, Daniela Pirani

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Abstract

This article explores the way vegan and vegetarian diets have been articulated within neo-liberal post-feminist culture. While these diets have an important role for vegetarian eco-feminists, as signs of resistance against the patriarchal and capitalist exploitative system, in post-feminism they have become sexy and business oriented. This shift is analyzed through the case study of Beyoncé’s involvement with the commercial enterprise “22 days,” a dietary regime that involves the elimination of any animal product for 22 days. Our argument is that while eco-feminists have embraced vegetarian and vegan regimes as ethical and political choices, post-feminism depoliticizes and deradicalizes them. In this way, they become part of an individualistic project that emphasizes empowerment and meritocracy; choice, agency, and responsibilization; and the focus on a healthy, sexy body. Ultimately, the post-feminist articulation of vegan diets promotes a form of “commodity veg*ism,” that is not only devoid of any critical force, but also reproduces existing patterns of discrimination and inequality. We use the term veg*ism to indicate the fluid uptake of vegan and vegetarian diets, whereby the avoidance of animal products relies more on an individual than on ethical and/or political choice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-308
Number of pages15
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Volume18
Issue number2
Early online date17 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Veganism
  • Postfeminism

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