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V Is For Vitriol: Harper’s Bazaar Dishes on Veganism (And It Don’t Taste Good!)

V Is For Vitriol: Harper’s Bazaar Dishes on Veganism (And It Don’t Taste Good!)

Too bad a leading women’s magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, took an amazing opportunity to enlighten and educate many of their high-fashion, career savvy, and health conscious readers about the vegan diet, and flushed it down the proverbial toilet! In its August issue (pg. 168), writer Alex Kuczynski skips research and personal testimonies, and chooses instead to play to acrimony amid new mothers, shallow reasoning behind going vegan (skinny celebrities), and then suggests eating a cheeseburger is the answer.

Seasoned fashion writer, Kuczynski, who has written for major fashion mags like Vogue, Lucky and who started her career at The New York Times, uses her sharp pen to shred the good intentions of other women. She offers up stars like Alanis Morissette and Jessica Chastain as the poster ladies of the new dieter “seeking to lose blubber, not save the whales,” the article states. Morissette attributes her “20-pound weight drop to going vegan,” says Harper’s, and Jessica Chastain is quoted as saying, “I used to think about dieting, but I’m vegan now, so it’s not really a problem.”

Los Angeles nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella says, of her vegan clients: “Vanity and weight loss is the number-one thing that’s driving this.”

While losing weight is not an undesirable goal, the story solely focuses on this aspect of the vegan lifestyle, instead of the ethical and life-changing qualities, like harmony with nature, animals, and others. Not to mention abstaining from supporting the factory farming industry. Being vegan has many health benefits, like lower cholesterol, lower cases of heart disease, and casein-free food. Casein is a phosphoprotein found in mammalian milk (80% of the protein in cow’s milk), and a leading cause of cancer, many studies show.

More than anything, it’s the unbalanced tone the writer takes, condescending to new mothers by calling them “yummy mummy” (a slang term used in the United Kingdom to describe young, attractive and wealthy mothers), and playing into typical woman-vs.-woman territory. Claiming that one mother at a recent gathering admitted to being “secretly” vegan for two years, another mother says, “Please… I call that a ham-sandwich-eterian.”  The once “radical lifestyle” is now an irksome “moral high horse,” Harper’s says.

By the end, Kuczynski insinuates that any benefits of a vegan diet are temporary.

“My sister, Carolina, who turned to veganism while recovering from breast cancer, said it made her feel more mellow. After nine months, though, ‘the halo wore off’, she says, and all I wanted was a cheeseburger.”

Have I been reading too much Bust Magazine? Or, is this not an act of passive-aggressive self-congratulation for being part of the mainstream food chain, not to mention an acquittal for their own guilt over fur-laden ads and meat-filled tummies?

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What do you think? Read the article below, and tell GGA: Are we overreacting, or was this one very bitter look at an otherwise harmonious lifestyle?


To complain or comment to the Harper’s gals, email them their site and tweet at ’em @harpersbazaarus.

Darrah Le Montre is a freelance journalist and consultant, with a focus on sensuality, environmentalism, and fearless women in the media. She appears as a “Woman on the Street” on The Conversation. Her lifestyle writing and celebrity interviews have appeared in Marie Claire, Esquire and W, among others.  She contributes author and filmmaker interviews to The Rumpus. Darrah’s column for SuicideGirls,“Red, White and Femme: Strapped With A Brain – And A Vagina” takes a fresh look at females in America. Twice monthly, Ms. Darrah co-hosts SG Radio on Indie 103.1 FM. She lives in LA with her doggie Oscar Wilde. Subscribe to her blog at and friend her on Facebook and Twitter @blyssdarrah

Front story image via Sarah Illenberger

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