A few years ago I didn't even know what a vegan was... now the word is more commonly used and vegan characters appear more and more frequently. The unfortunate thing is that we're not always represented well- the stereotypes appear to be either total hippies or completely uptight. There are some good portrayals out there too though... but even they have their stereotypes, (which may actually be truths) as I'll point out. Here's a round-up of some, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly :P
1. Mac- Veronica Mars
Cindy 'Mac' MacKenzie is a computer genius and sidekick to the show's title character. She gets her fair share of difficulties, having been switched at birth and her boyfriend turning out to be a rapist and mass murderer and all. The position re her being vegan is mentioned here:http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/10/01/happy-world-vegetarian-day-to-our-favorite-tv-herbivores/ "In her second appearance, the season 1 episode 'Silence of the Lamb,' Mac's mom asks Veronica if she's vegan, like Mac. This fact is sadly later forgotten in season 3 when Veronica and Mac go undercover to infiltrate an animal rights group." However they make up for this by giving her a vegan boyfriend, one of the animal rights activists (who are trying to save a caged monkey subjected to experimentation and due to be killed).
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Smart
2. Ezra Turner- Seven Pounds
Will Smith seems to jump to the conclusion he is vegan because he is 'not much of a meat eater' but apparently the character is vegan. Woody Harrelson the actor is vegan so that may have something to do with it. A piano playing, mild- mannered, blind, vegan meat salesman, Ezra is a 'good guy' and therefore one of the people to receive a donation in the film.
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Calm and Compassionate
3. Peggy and Newt- Year of the Dog
Newt (Peter Sarsgaard) is an SPCA volunteer who tries to make sure animals destined for euthanasia get adopted out. Peggy (Molly Shannon), who loses her beloved dog Pencil and gains a new companion in King Shepherd dog Valentine becomes exposed to animal rights and veganism, and becomes vegan, through Newt. I haven't seen it but Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive plot summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_the_Dog_(film)
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Animal Lover
4. Practically everyone- Bold Native
A film about animal activism (particularly liberation) I haven't seen Bold Native but it sounds interesting: "Charlie Cranehill, an animal liberator wanted for domestic terrorism, emerges from the underground to coordinate a nationwide action as his estranged CEO father tries to find him before the FBI does."
Diana Agron who plays Quinn in Glee and is a vegetarian who has done work for PETA features in the film.
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Activist
5. Rachel Berry- Glee
We all know about this after Jesse threw eggs on her. Lea Michele, who plays Rachel, is also vegan. I wasn't sure whether her being vegan in this is good or bad, but it's not really portrayed negatively and her character, while annoying, is generally likeable.
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Uptight and Self Involved
6. Jennifer Bowie- River City
On BBC soap River City, there was a vegan character named Jennifer. Kind, idealistic and a closet lesbian (until she came out- see below).
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Naive and idealistic
7. Jesse- The Simpsons
A 'level 5' vegan, Jesse doesn't eat anything that casts a shadow:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtuMIaOGRy8 I laughed a lot- the Simpsons make fun of everyone and I wouldn't expect vegans to be an exception! But I couldn't exactly put him in the 'good' category.
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Extreme, poser, hippy
8. Marla- The Cut
The Cut is an online (although it was briefly shown on TV) teen drama on the BBC. It's very cheesy! A bit like Hollyoaks but with more cheese (vegan cheeze, sure!). Marla is a spoilt rich girl with a background of eating disorders and self harm. She runs every day and is vegan. She gets a mention in the 'bad' category because her eating disorder is impliedly linked to the veganism and her dad offers her cereal at one point and she goes 'Dad! I can't eat cereal. I don't drink milk!' Then has some soya milk shortly afterwards. Also by series 3 she gives it up.
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Health-freak with eating disorder links, Give up easily
9. Todd Ingram- Scott Pilgrim Vs the World
One of the evil ex boyfriends, he gets super powers from being vegan. I can't believe they broadcast that to the world, it's supposed to be a secret ;). He has his powers taken away by the vegan police for drinking a non-soya latte. Firmly tongue in cheek, I think this is funny, but I suppose overall portrayal of vegans is bad.
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = A cult!
10. Beth- John Tucker Must Die
One of John Tucker's many (well, 3) girlfriends, she's introduced as a vegan activist and the insinuation immediately afterwards is that vegan girls are promiscuous! I've not heard that one before. Again, I liked the film and thought it was funny, but veganism wasn't exactly portrayed well!
THE STEREOTYPE: Vegan = Promiscuous!
FAMOUS VEGAN OF THE POST:
I've already highlighted two in this blog post, but I'm in an eye candy mood, and since I've already had an actor, a politician and a musician, I thought it was time for an athlete :)
I'm sorry, did it get a bit hotter in this blog?
This shamelessly posted topless photo is of Canadian triathlete Brendan Brazier. He is the world authority on plant-based sports nutrition having written a book on it called "The Thrive Diet". Apparently there's something called the 'ultramarathon' and according to Wikipedia "During his professional athletic career, Brazier won two Canadian 50 km Ultramarathon Championships (2003, 2006,) and was regarded as one of Canada’s top endurance athletes and among the world’s best ultramarathoners."
Here he talks about how veganism can help with health/ sports/ athletics and the environment:
QUOTE OF THE POST:
"Their plan, as diabolical and as implausible as it may sound, was to convince everyone that the milk from another species, designed to be consumed by its newly-born offspring, was a sensible thing for adult human beings to drink." Brendan Brazier, speaking about the Dairy Industry.