Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Consuming Whiteness August 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 12:49 pm

Professor What if… wrote a fabulous piece about consuming whiteness through milk.

An excerpt:

In the Got Milk ads, the representation of ‘perfect’ white bodies was linked to the consumption of America’s ‘perfect food’ – milk. Inaugurated in 1993, the campaign included the famous milk moustache print ads as well as humorous television advertisements in which people found they were out of milk at the most inconvenient times. While these ads may have seemed innocuous, this campaign (and its similar descendants) help to sustain limiting notions of what it means to be a ‘good body,’ and, most pervasively, perpetuated the notion that ‘good bodies’ are white (and consume/wear/desire whiteness).

This valorization of milk as a perfect food that these ads put forth is part of a long history in which white, middle class bodies are deemed better than the bodies of various ‘Others.’ As nutritionist Marion Nestle notes, the idea that dairy is “essential” was brought about via the joint forces of dairy lobbies, nutritionists, and governmental agencies since the early twentieth century.

read the rest here and here.



6 Responses to “Consuming Whiteness”

  1. Meep Says:

    I would agree but exclude Hindi people from this – after all, there must have some tolerance to lactose from having cows around…?

  2. Royce Drake Says:

    Yeah, there must be some differences for populations that have had cows for millenia.

    BTW stumbled on another piece about milk.

  3. Carrie Says:

    Never would have thought to make this connection on my own…but now that I think about it, images of diary farm life evoke bucolic scenes involving little blonde-haired Dutch and Scandinavian girls in pigtails milking cows…cute, but definitely says something about European and American “milk culture”.

  4. johanna Says:

    The weird thing is, at least in Finland, they are waaaay conscious about lactose intolerance, even though they’re part of the population that’s actually supposed to mostly be able to digest it. I’ve seen way more listings on menus & packaging about milk &/or lactose being in a product than I ever have here (& they seem to have a lot of lactose-free/dairy-free products as well). In fact, I was even able to eat vegan ice cream from one of the ubiquitous street kiosks selling ice cream there during the summer a few years ago. 🙂

  5. I have always thought those Got Milk commercials were sexist. Now I think they’re racist, too. I can’t stand the dairy industry. Ugh!

  6. omlyeh Says:

    I don’t consume dairy and don’t think it’s good, but there are definitely people of color used in the got milk? campaign. Beyonce and Serena Williams are two that come to mind that I have seen in magazines.

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