Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MediaWatch: Cleo magazine, or: where did all the animals go?

While I'm on media reviews, this month's Cleo (yes, I buy it sometimes; yes I tear open the sealed sections with undue haste; no I don't take the quizzes unless I think I'll come out looking good) has an article by Bessie Recep entitled "The Meat Backlash", which is situated in the extra-special-super-duper freebie Body magazine.

It's not a bad article; I quite liked the handy field guide to veggies, although I was unaware of the species Demi Vegetarian, who apparently "stick to a vegetarian diet most of the time", and a couple of other genii which I suspect were cobbled together by a well-intentioned but somewhat confused omni. They included some boxed quotes from poster children Leona Lewis, Alicia Silverstone, Natale Portman and Kristen Bell - nothing like a celebrity endorsement!

The article focusses on the environmental, health and financial reasons for turning veggie, and it does that well. It flat out denies the myth that you need meat for essential nutrients, states clearly that meat farming is ecologically disastrous, and points out that meat is also more costly (in the casharoonie sense).

However, the article leaves out almost any mention of the animal-related reasons that make so many of us choose to ditch the meat and more. Jackie O is quoted on what I will choose to interpret as the farm to fork continuum:
"Some people think it [meat] magically appears on their plate, but there are a lot of processes an animal has to go through along the way. When I thought about it in depth, I thought 'This isn't how I want to eat'."
But that's about it. I realise that in this forum an in-depth, gory, no-holds-barred description of all the details is inappropriate - Cleo is marketed to 18-34 year olds but is frequently read by younger people, and I'm pretty wary of exposing very young people to things they may have had no previous awareness of. I don't think making a little girl cry is really the way we should want to go. Also, the article is placed within a health supplement so a health focus is certainy appropriate. However, having virtually no reference to the animal welfare/rights concerns that are so influential in so many peoples' decisions seems to me to be a bit of a cop out.

Still ... it's nice to have a positive, sensible, accessible and otherwise pretty accurate article out there in a magzine with wide circulation and readers who most likely are as yet unexposed to veg*ism.


Mandee said...

The article doesn't sound too bad, not that I'm going to rush out and buy it, or maybe I should so the sales for that issue are good. Anyhoo, I know when I was a teen I don't think I thought about vegetarians much, there was one girl at school who was vege but I don't think I'd ever heard the word vegan. Getting articles like these in mainstream mags is a good thing so teens are exposed the option of veg*nism earlier than I was!

Lisa Dempster said...

I was vegetarian as a teen! From age 16 to 19ish. Except I sometimes ate fish. LAME!

Speaking of media watch (I do love a good media rant!) did you see the article in The Age yesterday about some restaurants charging diners for tap water in an effort to highlight water conservation? There's so much wrong with the ideas raised in the article that I practically started frothing at the mouth when I read it!

Miss T said...

Funny, there were heaps of veggies at my school (including me), and even at my primary school!

Lisa, I heard about it ... didn't you know that drinking water is the main cause of the water crisis???

Lisa Dempster said...