Sunday, January 29, 2006

Everything girls need to know

I was browsing the books at The Freedom Shop (the Wellington Anarchist bookstore), and found a Girls Survival Guide, put out by an American alternative group. It's my sisters birthday tommorrow so I bought it as a present. Then I started skimming it, and it looked a little simplistic, but full of useful information, of the sort that it's usually hard to find. Until I got to the page of advice about low-fat, low-sugar snacks (I took it back to The Freedom Shop, and they gave me a refund, because they're good people - you should go have a browse - it's on the Left Bank).

Now I could take this to an extremely long rant about how easy it is for activists to build up a shining new eating disorder culture, which makes conformity look like rebellion. But since I'm writing something much longer about that I'm just going to write about the two things that sprung to my mind.

1. I'm finding it really hard to believe that there's anywhere in America or New Zealand where a teenage girl is sitting thinking "I really want to know what the low-fat alternative to ice cream is, but I just don't know where to find that information."

2. A little tangentially: among animal rights activists, and others who see vegetarianism and veganism as political acts, it is quite common to put great emphasis on alleged health benefits of not eating meat and dairy.

Unless you believe in a vengeful God (and most political vegans I know don't) there is no inherent connection between the rightness of political action and the effect it has on you personally. So I just don't understand why anyone wanting to promote political veganism would promote the health benefits, to the level that they do get promoted.

6 comments:

  1. Have you seen those government-sponsored advertisement where the purple (read: non racially specific) plastecine guy answers kids' questions about health and exercize? There's one which expounds the importance of fruit over ice-cream.

    I want to smash that purple guy with a plastecine-smashing hammer sometimes. No objection to fruit, just the smarmily self-righteous way the whole thing is presented.

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  2. I have to sympathise; almost every day it seems that I have the same conversation - trying to explain that I don't eat meat because of what it is, not how it tastes or any health benefits to eating or not eating it.

    I suffer quite badly from aching joints (mostly old injuries, but that's several other stories) and doctors, family members and random people whose opinion I didn't even ask for tell me Glucosamine (from cows) and / or Cod Liver Oil (obvious) will sort my joints out, so why don't I take them? If eating a steak a day cured cancer and made you live to a thousand I still wouldn't do it. Benefit to me is not the point at all.

    Incidentaly, anyone else out there looking for a vegan solution to joint problems try Flax / Linseed Oil (one and the same). Does the job a treat.

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  3. Fantastic, I found some vegetarians! Would you be able to link me Maia? I'm just linking you now. My blog is www.redconfectionery.blogspot.com
    Pam :)

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  4. Anonymous10:53 am

    I have been vegan most of my life for a number of reasons. it started as a compassionate move, changed to an environmental move, and has at times been primarily about health (i was always alergic to dairy anyway and when i see others around me with dairy induced excema and full of mucus i have to bite my tongue to not start going on about veganisms health benefits.) All the factors are linked though- veganism for health purposes is a political move because it defies fonterra and the meat industries messages about needing calcium for strong bones and meat for iron. and environmental reasons are also political- boycotting dairy because i am disturbed by the warning signs around the once beautiful waikato river is also about health and politics. i find it really hard to separate all that out. our health is political, because we are fed so much un truth and sold nutritional lies by big business
    (excuse long length of rant! ps i love this blog)

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  5. Anonymous3:16 pm

    Most of the vegans I've struck are shrill selfrighteous fundies

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  6. tenor horn5:21 pm

    Well, some of them can be a bit dogmatic but noones perfect.
    As a change from middle loin chops I sometimes make this nice vegan pie I invented:

    Mix up mashed carrot, fried onions and
    soft boiled brown lentils in equal amounts with a big spoonful of smooth peanut butter.Add a big dollop of thick soy sauce, cover the lot with salted and peppered mashed potatoes and bake till its done.

    Goes much better with a lot of tasty cheese grated on top,in which case its a lacto vegetarian pie.

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