As veganism and feminism continue to evolve in the new social era, the two movements seem to share a bond of sorts. Some women say the bond is obvious and socially linked, while for others see a link that is more inherent.
A growing number of vegan life coaches in metro Denver are women. A quick Bing search by the Examiner found five nutritional-based life-coaches who focus on vegan food; all were women.
Vegan coach and Yoga/Mediation Teacher Sarah Lowenstein doesn’t aim her programs at one specific gender, but she is herself actively involved in the movement to empower women and girls. Among the organizations she supports is Empower Shakti International, and organization that promotes women-based movements for social change. But Lowenstein doesn’t emotion feminism on her website, her own acts to empower women may reflect feminism’s maturity, as this young, female Yogi teaches to other to empower themselves through Yoga and to seek peace by not consuming animal products.
Perhaps it was a coincidence that vegan life coach J.L. Fields of Colorado Springs was on a mission to empower women and girls when things clicked for her to make the lifestyle change that now defines her role in society.
Fields is a vegan life coach, author and animal rights activist as well as a supporter of empowering women. At lecture in Golden in July, Fields explained that she was in Africa doing work to support women when she decoded to go vegetarian and then vegan.
“A man of authority in the African Village came to show his support for women and the work we were doing. This was a huge deal, to have this support,” she explained to a crowd at Veg Fest 2013 who had come to observe Fields’ cooking demonstration.
Fields went on to explain that the man‘s gesture of support included the tribal ritual of presenting a goat to her, which the man pranced before the crowd of women. The goat even and a name. That made the final part of ritual-slaughtering of the goat for feast-tough for Fields to take. She kept her feelings to herself while there, but it was at that same moment she made the personal choice to go vegetarian and then vegan.
Going vegan was an empowering moment in her life as a woman. She lost weight, stopped smoking and became a runner. Most importantly, she developed a positive self-image, which is a key aim of many of today’s female empowerment movements. Most recently, she co-authored the Book “Vegan for Her” (with noted vegan nutritionist Ginny Messina). But Fields is not a lone wolf in her activism.
Like Lowenstein, Fields enjoys a strong relationship with her husband and being active in the social mainstream. Both emphasize seeking peace and harmony in their own lives and that ending the killing of animals for food and other products represents a step toward transforming to a more peaceful world.
Other female vegan activists emphasize a more literal connection between the feminism and veganism. Dr. Lisa Kemmerer of the University of Montana has spoken to Colorado State Students with the premise that our meat-eating culture emphasizes dominance as a social value and hinders social progress for humanity. Kemmerer published the book “Sister Species-women, animals and social justice” in 2011.
Vegan life coach Charlotte Cressey, a former resident of Colorado who now runs the vegan-based business Vegan Wellness in California, says “veganism and feminism are inherently linked”. On numerous speaking tours, Cressey has emphasized society’s that degradation of animals represents the same mentality that condones objectification and degradation of women. Cressey calls herself a Radical Feminist by definition, and says that “Animal Advocacy is a feminist issue.
Whether veganism qualifies a feminist topic or not, the vegan movement has plenty men within it. According to Ann Swissdorf, co-organizer of the Denver-based group A Vegan Life, at least half of American vegans are male. It could be that men who seek departure from a social mentality that portrays them as dominators and tough guys.