Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TDIV Q&A: Why do people care about celebrity vegans?

Q. Why do people care so much about celebrities who are vegan?

A. This is a question I’ve asked myself, not because I don’t care about celebrities going vegan, but because I’m surprised to find that I do. I’ve never really understood the fascination with celebrities in our culture. Why is someone interesting just because their job is to act, or to sing, or to throw a ball? That tells you nothing about their character or worth as a person. (And don’t even get me started on people who are famous for being famous.) So why do we care?

Well, there is the influence factor. I’d like to think that most vegans actually care about every person who goes vegan; I know I do. But if I tell everyone about my mother-in-law’s friend going vegan, is it going to have the same effect on people as telling them about Bill Clinton? Which is more likely to make a non-vegan look twice at the benefits of a vegan lifestyle? Deserved or not, celebrities’ opinions and actions hold weight in our culture, so every celebrity who goes vegan is a vote of confidence for veganism in the public eye.

But I’d argue that, unlike fame itself, a celebrity going vegan does tell you something about their character. It tells you that they are concerned about health, animals, or the environment. It tells you that they can embrace change, take on a challenge, be courageous enough to examine their learned behaviors and make a different choice. And that seems like a pretty good reason to care.

(Authored by me, originally published at http://www.thisdishisvegetarian.com/2012/01/why-do-people-care-about-celebrity.html.)


  1. I care about celebrity vegans simply because of the exposure to this lifestyle they can provide. You, me, and your mother-in-law's friend simply can't reach as many people with our message as a celebrity can (no matter how many blogs we write!) Even the celebrities who are not outspoken about their veganism STILL reach more people than we can! And the more the public hears about veganism, even just in the form of, "Did you hear that Demi Moore is vegan," the more it will become a 'regular' or 'normal' thing to do.

    I promote celebrity veganism on my blog simply because I feel it's an effective way to show that more and more people are going vegan. And it's more effective to tell someone that Ellen DeGeneres, whom they've heard of and can picture, is vegan, than telling them that my neighbor, whom they know nothing about and therefore care nothing about, is vegan.

    I guess the bottom line is really just that we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, so people are more influenced by the idea of a celebrity vegan than a vegan next door.

  2. Agreed! I think that the benefit is that it gets the term into the public consciousness, makes it less foreign or odd to people.