Tuesday, 12 February 2008

bitching about Skinny Bitch pakaging

I know I've been told to love Skinny Bitch. After all, it seems to be making more vegans, which is what matters, right? Welllllllll.....

Why am I throwing this out into the blogosphere instead of just shutting up? Because books, tv programmes, ads, websites etc. like this anger me. They obviously prey on women's body insecurities and blatantly reinforce the message that we get every day that we should (want to) be skinny as hell and jealous of any other woman who "succeeds" better than we do at attaining this ideal. Just because the book is cute and the tone is flippant, that doesn't change the message. It only candy coats it. Just because something is cute, smiley, has the word "bitch" in the title, and is written by women, it doesn't mean that it's not serving up a big fat load of sexist crap.

Sadly, I can't comment too extensively on the actual content of the book, because I refuse to support projects that reinforce the idea that women should change their entire world view to be skinny, so I'm not going to buy it. I mean, there is nothing I wold like to see more than a world of vegans. But go vegan because you have a moral compass and perhaps some basic reasoning skills, not because you are insecure about your ass. From the book previews that I've been able to see on Amazon, the animal rights info in Skinny Bitch is actually fairly accurate, and there is a strong message of ethical veganism in there somewhere. Too bad it's in such a regrettable package.

In addition to the problematic body image message, this kind of bait-and-switch marketing reinforces the idea that women are so disinterested in (or incapable of considering) the actual issues around animal rights, consumerism and power relationships that they have to be coerced into doing the right thing by appealing to their shallow, vain, insecure side. And speaking of the right thing, the basis of ethical veganism that the power imbalance between people and other animals is out of control. However, when a book uses instead of questions womens obsession with weight loss, and reinforces the arbitrary and largely unattainable version of beauty touted by mainstream advertizing, it only reinforces the power imbalance known as sexism, which isn't any less evil than speciesism. It's just a different flavour of evil.

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