I like Beyoncé a lot. I have tremendous respect for her talent, her ambition and her clear desire to make feminism accessible to every woman.
Because I am
a loudmouth an outspoken vegan, when Beyoncé made her announcement about offering a vegan meal service, a lot of my friends sent me links to articles about it and talked to me about it. I am excited that Beyoncé may be making veganism more approachable for non-vegans, purely by association.
I want to be careful here, because there were a lot of white feminists who tried to distance themselves from Beyoncé, claiming that her feminism was not their feminism, or that she was not a feminist at all. And this is not a behavior I wish to echo.
Veganism is about more than food. Vegans do not consume or exploit animals for any purpose as much as it is possible to avoid it. Not long after Beyoncé and Jay first made the announcement about their vegan challenge, she was photographed walking into a vegan restaurant while wearing a fur coat. I would love to give her the benefit of the doubt about that choice, but it is hard. Thinking how much those animals suffered so that she could wear them and blithely walk into a vegan restaurant, run and frequented by the people who know that fur is a cruelty that is unacceptable and unnecessary… that is a tough pill to swallow, for me. If you eat vegan food and wear fur, you are not vegan. You are a plant-based dieter.
I worry that Beyoncé’s vegan meal service might further confirm in people’s minds that veganism is an elitist choice, a trendy or fussy person’s choice. I worry that this will confirm that veganism is not accessible to anyone but the wealthy.
I hope that Beyoncé is slowly making kinder choices. I hope that her plant-based diet becomes veganism, and that she understands what veganism means and chooses to share that message with her fans. I want veganism to do for her what it has done for me, and so many other people. I want veganism to open her heart to a kinder, more sustainable way of living, because there is nothing else like this feeling. This is truly “clean eating.” I want Beyoncé to be a real vegan, or to stop calling herself one.