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W reports on Ginnifer Goodwin’s “Veganism”

Goodwin: Not that into meat...or vegan outfits.

Goodwin: Not that into meat…or vegan outfits.

Lately, the editors over at W magazine have got a thing for veganism, sort of, or rather, sort-of-veganism. The V word is popping up all over their editor’s blog this Spring. First there was the W Online Exclusive The Best Vegan Accessories, which couldn’t battle with Andrea’s response list and wasn’t entirely vegan thanks to a Stella McCartney cashmere sweater. The list was soon followed by The Trails of a Fashion-loving Vegan-in-Training, in which aspiring vegan editor Dana Wood (who composed the vegan accessories list) lamented the painful irony of being an animal lover/ Farm Sanctuary supporter who, like mainstream media’s vegan sweetheart Kathy Freston, can’t resist fashioning herself in animal products like wool, silk, and a little leather trim.

Most recently, W magazine continues to tap into the vegan trend with an editor’s blog post titled “She’s Just Not That Into Meat” on actress Ginnifer Goodwin, star of HBO series Big Love and chick-flick He’s Just Not That Into You. The article cites Goodwin’s explanation of how she went vegan for concerns of both her own health and the treatment of animals. But wait, what’s she wearing? It has to be faux, right? Nope. Click on over to the main W article on Goodwin and we learn that while she’s not wearing much (as all good “vegan” celebrities should), everything she is wearing is made of leather and silk, save a pair of jersey underpants and tights.

Um. Okay. I think it’s super that Goodwin isn’t eating animal products and that she’s being outspoken about it. And while I wish people would stop wearing animal stuff, I really don’t care what Goodwin wears when she’s just chilling out in Hollywood. Still, I do find it terribly annoying that she and W are using veganism as a way to drum up extra web copy, publicity, and street cred, but totally drop the ball on presenting it as a lifestyle that can embrace fashion. After all, shouldn’t a magazine of W‘s caliber and supposed recent interest in veganism have the resources and wits to style a “vegan” celebrity in something other than leather S&M fetish attire? Bummer!

16 Comments

  1. Comment by

    beanmail

    on #

    Wasn’t it Drew Barrymore who said it’s just too hard and/or no fun “limiting” your fashion? These are celebrities, how can we expect them to sacrifice their fun for the sake of silly animals? Priorities, people. As always they are held to a lower standard & still manage to disappoint. Note to them & mainstream media: understand it before you claim it.

  2. Comment by

    dana

    on #

    I know her and she tried very hard to get the magazine to style her in vegan fashions because she doesn’t wear leather, etc, in her own life.

  3. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    If that’s so, Dana, please let Ginnifer know we’d love to hear her side of the story. If W refused to run the feature unless she modeled clothes that violated her ethics, wow, that makes things even nuttier!

  4. Comment by

    JP Goodwin

    on #

    I’ll give you her side of the story as I understand it. I’m Ginnifer’s cousin, I’ve been vegan for 19 years, and I am very aware of all the politics that surround this sort of thing. I’ve also known Ginnifer for her entire life, and I know that she is very ethical, very intelligent, and tries very hard to always do the right thing.

    Ginnifer tried EXTREMELY hard to have everything on the shoot be vegan. She didn’t know they were going to have leather until she showed up. Models don’t have any power with this sort of thing (despite Ginnifer’s best attempt), and whether it is W or any other fashion magazine, if you won’t wear what they want then you can get lost and they’ll find another cover girl.

    I believe Ginnifer made the right choice. By going ahead with the shoot, and being the cover girl, she was afforded an entire story about her vegan diet.

    Perhaps you disagree with the calculus, but please at least respect the fact that she made a decision, on the spot, to take the path she thought would be most productive for the animals.

    I am proud of Ginnifer for exploring a vegan lifestyle, and being so bold in speaking about it. As she gets more and more influential in Hollywood and our culture, she has tremendous potential to do some really great things for the world.

  5. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Thanks for the perspective, JP.

    Of course, this wasn’t just a modeling gig–it was a profile of her as a person and an actor. And the related blog post was all about her veganism.

    The whole thing leaves a very confusing taste in my mouth!

  6. Comment by

    Yakov

    on #

    Yeah, it’s like if they interviewed Natalie Portman about her Judaism and had her pose on the cover in a nun’s habit. ?or something like that.

  7. Comment by

    Mylène

    on #

    JP, you say that Ginniger didn’t have any power over this whole thing, but the truth is that she did. She had the right and ability to say ‘no’ and to not participate in the shoot. Also, you write that you think she made the right choice since “by going ahead with the shoot, and being the cover girl, she was afforded an entire story about her vegan diet”. First of all, veganism isn’t just about what you put in your mouth. It’s about eschewing the consumption and usage of all animals and animal products. Otherwise, it’s not veganism, but just strict vegetarianism. Second of all, going ahead with the shoot and promoting herself as a vegan while decked out in leather accomplished nothing other than either a) to make her appear like a hypocrite or b) water down the term “veganism” to turn it into something else. If anything, people reading that article are either now left thinking that vegans think it’s OK to compromise their principles for money, or worse, that veganism means that it’s OK to use animals. She would have done the animals a bigger favour by refusing the shoot outright; all she accomplished in going through with it was to perpetuate misinformation.

  8. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    Yeah Ginnifer’s choice was confusing and a bit frustrating, but even more confusing and totally frustrating is that a fashion magazine couldn’t get it together to style a vegan celebrity in something other than leather. Given their resources and Ginnifer’s side of the story, it makes it seem that W more so purposely refused to promote compassionate, animal-friendly attire in what I can only guess is an attempt to not destroy ties with the leather and fur using designers who advertise in their magazine.

    This story makes me sad because it seems like W used Ginnifer to ostensibly hop on the trend vegan scene, but have more of an interest in the bottom line, than they do in journalism. Maybe a few people at the magazine, like Dana, care about helping animals, which is how these stories appear, but they always need to be watered down or discredited in some way to keep the money coming in from animal exploiting advertisers. Not that the publishing industry in general is so awesome, but I feel like magazines are total crap due to the necessarily incestuous relationship between advertising and editorial.

  9. Comment by

    JP Goodwin

    on #

    Mylene, perhaps your concern is “watering down” veganism, though I seriously doubt that one photo shoot has done any damage. On the other hand, an audience that is rarely exposed to vegan ideas got to learn a lot about vegan eating. On balance, the way her enthusiasm came through in the article will inspire people to try vegan food.

    Maybe your concern is personal purity, but my concern is what will do the most to save animals, and on that front Ginnifer has moved the ball forward.

    One other person said she could have refused to do the shoot. Yes, she could have just walked off. That would have meant no article about veganism, and it would have caused her to have a “she’s difficult” reputation that would prevent her from having other such opportunities in the future.

    It is sad that the vegan community would rather pick fights with allies than celebrate progress.

  10. Comment by

    beanmail

    on #

    The vegan community doesn’t “pick fights with allies”; they merely point out hypocritical behavior rather than excuse it b/c of celebrity status.

  11. Comment by

    Mylène

    on #

    JP, and audience that is barely exposed to vegan ideas would do nothing but benefit from having those vegan ideas communicated in such a way where they are an accurate and consistent representation of veganism. This isn’t about picking fights with allies; it’s what beanmail said it is — pointing out hypocritical behaviour rather than excusing it because of celebrity status. Had she been serious about veganism, she wouldn’t have let one single photo shoot (as you describe it) compel her to compromise her purported vegan beliefs.

    Veganism isn’t about “purity”. It’s about not using animals as a means to an end. Gennifer chose to use animals as a means to further her career, which means that by definition she’s not vegan, although she presented herself as such. And yeah, because of this, as a member of a constantly and consistently misrepresented vegan community, I really wish she hadn’t decided to offer herself up as a spokesperson. It ultimately did more harm (quite literally to the animals, as well as to the cause in general) than good.

  12. Comment by

    JP Goodwin

    on #

    Mylene, you don’t have know squat about how serious Ginnifer is about veganism. She made the calculation that by going ahead with the shoot, she would get the article out there, and the good would outweigh the harm. You don’t have to agree with her decision, but I resent your personal attacks on her and your declaration of doubt as to how serious she is about this.

    I’m glad she is getting the word out in W, and Conan O Brien, and a number of other media outlets. Ginnifer has brought vegan eating to a whole new audience that has had very little exposure to this.

    Beanmail, no one is asking for Ginnifer to get a special break for being a celebrity. The irony is that if she wasn’t a celebrity, and was just someone that ate a vegan diet and wore leather one day none of you would be attacking her. Rather than get a special break for being a celebrity, she instead gets held to an even higher standard.

    Give the girl a break.

  13. Comment by

    beanmail

    on #

    JP,
    I am a random vegan & if I was going to wear leather “one day” it wouldn’t be the day I was going to be on the cover of a national magazine talking about being vegan.

  14. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    I think our ire should be at the magazine, not at the model. She (apparently) tried to do her best in a difficult situation, and she deserves kudos for promoting veganism at all.

    But whoever insisted on dressing her in leather and silk deserves our wholehearted condemnation. This makes W look both stupid and exploitative, like they’re trying to hop on the vegan trend without understanding or caring what it actually means. I hope they will learn from this and do better next time.

  15. Comment by

    Josh

    on #

    It’s sad that in this day and age, after 14 comments, not one person has mentioned how incredibly hot she looks. I’m not saying that makes up for the cruelty to animals, but it definitely lessens it a little.

  16. Comment by

    Renee

    on #

    I thought in the article “shes just not that into meat” she said she was a vegetarian and had no desire to turn vegan. Just sayin.

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