Thursday, January 19, 2012

A fat vegan to PCRM: Abandon fat-shaming, ineffective ads!

One of the ads in question. This is fat-shaming, misleading,
and worst of all, ineffective.
Open letter to PCRM sent via:
Vaishali Honawar,
Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine
Media Contact, Your Abs on Cheese Billboard Campaign

Dear Dr. Barnard and PCRM,

I am a long-time admirer of PCRM, since I was first invited on behalf of my organization to apply for PCRM's Humane Charity Seal of Approval in the early 2000s (a seal we were granted and maintain to this day). I frequently refer individuals to your website, and just last month was privileged to interview a member of your staff for an article I wrote about PCRM that was published on the popular vegan news site This Dish is Veg. So it pains me to tell you how deeply disappointed I am in PCRM's new fat-shaming ad campaign.

There are so many reasons this campaign is disturbing. To begin with, PCRM is an organization I have always relied on for accurate medical information pertaining to a vegan diet. How is it accurate or responsible to suggest that a person cannot be thin while eating cheese, or fat on a vegan diet? We all know that's preposterous. Yes, the standard American diet contributes to obesity, but not all carnists are fat, nor are all vegans thin. This oversimplifies the complex issues surrounding obesity and will therefore be written off as false by thinking individuals, rather than accomplishing the goal of making them consider their dietary choices.

Furthermore, as a fat vegan, I find this campaign personally offensive because of the shaming nature of the imagery. It's hurtful to those of us who already struggle for acceptance within the vegan community because we don't fit the stereotypical image of the skinny vegan. And for fat individuals who may be considering the switch to a vegan lifestyle, it's alienating rather than inviting. 

Finally, PCRM has a long history of taking the high road, relying on scientific fact rather than shocking imagery. When you sink to the level of other organizations that use shock value to stimulate discussion, you lose your credibility and gain opponents rather than friends.

Please, for the sake of the vegan community and your reputation for "Responsible Medicine," abandon this negative, harmful, ineffective campaign tactic.


Kasey Minnis

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! You tell them. Mustn't make enemies out of our friends!