We are living in a world that is driven by celebrity culture – we want to see them succeed and we kind of enjoy seeing them fail. We swoon at the sight of a stunning starlet working the red carpet and later gloat when she gains weight, or trips on the way out of her car, or gets arrested for a DUI.
We might have a love-hate relationship with celebrities, but one thing’s for sure – their views have an effect, and many times impact the choices people make in their personal lives.
So when it comes to vegan celebrities, how much does what they have to say influence people’s opinions?
Everybody loves a vegan celeb
Celebrities play a major part in the discourse of Veganism in the western world – however irrelevant their views may inherently be. They have power and they draw the public’s interest, and animal rights organizations such as PETA utilize this power and interest to raise awareness for animal rights issues.
But what happens when a vegan celebrity turns into an ex-vegan celebrity?
When vegan celebrities backtrack
Celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Carrie Underwood, Anne Hathaway, P!nk and even vegan guru Ellen DeGeneres, have all been part of some sort of controversy surrounding veganism. Only recently, everyone was shocked to discover than Ellen and wife Portia de Rossi actually consume eggs laid by a neighbor’s chicken. Vegan fans were, of course, outraged. How can a vegan celebrity who speaks so much for veganism suddenly admit to consuming animal products?
Every time a celebrity backtracks, or even worse, quits their vegan diet altogether and starts speaking against it, we hear a major uproar within the vegan community: what might a person who is considering veganism think when they hear their favorite celebrity all of a sudden speaking against it? Surely that person might once again start questioning their decision to go vegan. And what about those who are already against it? Won’t this just strengthen their negative feelings towards veganism?
And of course there are also those who haven’t given the subject that much thought one way or the other, but now that their favorite celebrity stops being vegan or suddenly endorses a cosmetics company that is not cruelty free, they’d think there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, if someone I admire is doing it then it must be OK, right?
Taking bad press in proportions
It sure sounds like celebrities might be harming the vegan cause when we look at it that way. But you know what? I choose not to. There will ALWAYS be people who choose to look the other way and there will ALWAYS be celebrities who go back and forth with their views. Here are a few reasons to not take the matter to heart too much:
First of all – celebrities are people just like everyone else. And people are fickle. People change their minds and people make their own choices. If a celebrity helped turn someone vegan for the right reasons – wonderful! There are plenty of reasons to stay vegan apart from some celeb’s opinion. If someone decides to backtrack from their vegan lifestyle because a celeb said it’s bad for them, that person probably would’ve found another reason to wiggle out of veganism anyway. Celebrity opinion is just a jumping point – it’s not a sustainable reason to be vegan.
Secondly – sometimes, many times, celebrities are paid to say things. They are paid to sell things. They are paid to build and maintain a specific image, a persona. And people, well, we tend to fall for that at times. Now, this is something crazy that doesn’t apply to veganism alone – when a celebrity says something, think about where it’s coming from; who might be pulling the strings. Think about the agenda. And think about what YOU know. Not everything a celebrity says is true and right. At the end of the day, celebrities are just pawns in our capitalist society. We all have a responsibility to make our own informed decisions.
Choosing to see the glass half-full
And last but not least, why not look at the bright side? While there are some celebrities speaking against veganism, there are plenty others who are supporting it. This means that at least as many people are affected by a positive message as they are by a negative one. I mean, for every celebrity quitting veganism, there are a dozen speaking in favor of it.
I choose not to be too worried about the way celebrities might harm the vegan cause. In the greater scheme of things, the good celebrities do for veganism surpasses the harm, even if it’s just by putting the discussion in the public sphere. And if you’re still not quite sure just remember this: At the end of the day, any press is good press!
Cover image: cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com