Seeing Gender and Politics Within The Plant-Based Movement

Basil leaves and avocado on bread demonstrating a plant-based meal — which is typically targeted towards specific gender roles. Photo by Lisa from Pexels.

Politics and food have been intertwined for decades. Despite food being a universal need, the target demographics for plant-based diets are almost always directed towards women.   

Try to think of the last time you watched a yogurt commercial directed at men– you probably can’t!  

Contrary to common belief, plant-based diets and lifestyles are not just for women. Nor are they just a fad to “get skinny.”  

According to the CDC, less than 1 in 10 adults receive proper amounts of fruits and vegetables per day. Despite the clear overlap of plant-based eating and health, it is not the norm. 

Much of this disparity is due systematic issues regarding global multi-billion dollar animal agriculture industries and subsidies on animal products. 

Political polarization regarding environmentalism and capitalization of gendered products also play influential roles on society as a whole.  

Americans especially, do not have consistent access to whole foods for these reasons.  

Comparing the culture surrounding food in the USA versus countries with low-obesity rates show stark differences.  

Notably, Japan, with an obesity rate of 4.3%, has higher access to healthier foods at convenience such as miso soup, seaweed, flame roasted fish, fermented vegetables, whole grain rice and unsweetened tea.  

The U.S.A. on the other hand, with an obesity rate of 36.2%, contains a food scape filled with fried foods, fast-foods, and sugar-filled drinks like soda and juice. 

Eating a diet of high quality, plant-based foods should be accessible, yet it isn’t. Americans are used to the normalcy of unhealthy, meat-heavy diets. Something which is only natural if that is how we were raised to be.  

Additionally, plant-based eating can be religious, economic, related to availability or simply a preference. It would be wrong to not recognize the plurality of this subject and its many moving parts. 

That said: Try to consider plant based diets and/or veganism with open arms. This movement is for your health, social justice, anti-animal cruelty and pro-environment. Surely, one of these problems resonates with you. 

I urge you to open your minds and challenge how you have been raised to perceive food. I urge you to live life in the most morally consistent way that you can.  

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