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A vegan's letter to 'Skinny Bitch' author, Rory Freedman


Vegan Joe
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http://www.examiner.com/x-4348-Phoenix-Vegan-Examiner~y2009m3d12-A-vegans-letter-to-Skinny-Bitch-author-Rory-Freedman

 

To Rory Freedman:

 

I am ecstatic that a vegan (raw, even) manifesto has topped the New York Times bestseller list. Such a rarity, and awesome in a number of ways. That being said, I have to judge your book by its cover. My letter to you is mixed, borderline schizo with love-hate praise and admonition. First, showing a completely disproportionate, emaciated woman with the circumference of her waist equivalent to that of her neck is a little much. I know that putting a vegetable garden on the cover of a vegan book might be rather overdone, but so is the unrealistic portrayal of the female body with her face looking, well, bitchy. Usually this is the picture and title I see on a lame Candace Bushnell novel where we read about the latest Manhattan girl trying to land a wealthy trust fund baby. Yawn. Truly, this picture represents the books I buy for my last-ditch efforts to find a decent book right before hopping a 5-hr flight. You have admitted in several interviews that the title is nothing more than a gimmick used to elicit readers, and clearly, it’s worked… but did you HAVE to choose that picture? Why not one of you and your co-author? Your actual picture represents two healthy, gorgeous women.

 

Maybe those women longing for their college-era bodies looking to shed a quick 20 lbs deserve what they get when they pick up your book and realize what you’re asking for them is to go on a vegan diet and it’s not some quick-fix solution. In an ironic reversal, I do believe you are a sheep in wolf’s clothing: outstanding message disguised in trite, cliché packaging. The message you’re conveying deserves so much more than how you present it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that your cover and title is mildly reminiscent of PETA’s exploitation of female sexuality used to gain ground on combating animal exploitation.

 

But who am I to critique? Clearly, your success is the vegan movement’s success. You have inspired so many people to nurture and value their bodies, even with a cover that appears to tell women to aspire for the impossible stick-figure. And yet, your potty-mouth language is mildly off-putting: seriously, the swear words wear thin fast. Some phrases are outright alarming/ In fact, ...

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I actually read this book a long time after going vegan because so many non-vegan women would come up to me and start talking to me about this book because they knew I was a vegan. These women would tell me how they were trying to go vegan directly because of this book so I decided to read it and see what it is was about that, just interested in what would spark up these conversations in my life. it was a quick read and in my opinion rory uses her humor well. It comes off as funny instead of preachy.I don't find the picture or her language offense and I love anything that gets people to go vegan and this really lit a fire for some people I met.

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Well I read this book after it "jumping" out at me out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving the bookstore 2 years ago. I thunmbed through it saw a few curse words and said Ill read this. As I was reading it I got the impression the book was trying to push me towards vegetarianism. I said "eh, as long as I keep that thought away I can do fine with reading the rest of it." It took me about 2.5 hours to read it cover to cover and it woke me up to AR issues. I never knew about such things before and some of the diet things in there re-woke me up again. I shot Rory an email and within two weeks she sent me one back telling me about this website and to come lurk around. So I did.

 

I always had problems with getting the last bit of fat of my abs no matter what I had tried. So I started with cutting bread and milk. Two things I rarely ate. Then I cut red meats to once a week then to once every two weeks then completely. After that, it was everything thing else animal. And now here I am.

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Haven't read the book but I just wanted to say that I think it's awesome a vegan book can sell this well and obviously it converts people. I don't think I've ever heard about a book/movie/leaflet/nude-protest etc that converted so many people to veganism.

Damn I should really read it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a similar love/hate relationship with that book. I love the message, and I love that people are reading it and getting the message because it's not a long scientific bore to the general populace. BUT I just don't believe that many people who go vegan for weight loss purposes alone are going to stick to it easily. People will decide they want to try it but will be more focused on the foods they can't have, and will feel resentful about the deprivation. No one can last long with that mentality...and I hate to see once-vegans everywhere telling people "I tried veganism, but..." because it's more damaging to the vegan cause in the long run.

 

I estimate maybe 15% of the people who read it go completely vegan anyway. I'm betting at best they'll go mostly vegan (and hey, that's not a terrible thing!) but have a few "treats" here and there (because that's how most people diet). The few that go completely vegan probably do so because they are moved by the ethical logic presented in the book, and not the promises of weight loss.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As far as that letter goes: "Get over it".

 

Why do people have to take everything so personally? I don't care if liberals or conservatives...both sides have serious sticks up their asses.

 

As for the book: I thought it recommended processed and packaged foods too much.

 

It also made Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder go vegetarian. True Story.

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  • 2 months later...

I agree about the recommending too much processed food. But the reality is that when someone is eating SAD, they need those processed "substitute" foods to help them get through. I have purchased at least 6 copies of this book and given it away and the people I shared it with agreed with the principles, but were not strong enough to stay Vegan. As someone who has struggled with staying on a whole foods, plant based diet for many years, I understand that what they eat is really an emotional issue for many women. I haven't yet found what works for me, but I think that the book did a good job of trying to make people understand that this is a lifestyle and more than just a diet.

 

I know this thread is older, now they have a version for men called "Skinny Bastard" and also a cookbook "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch" as well as workout DVDs and a journal!

 

I would still recommend these books as an intro to Veganism for people who have no clue what this lifestyle is all about. I would just recommend that it be used as a starting point and that the readers research more. I hate to see this book promote Veganism as "just another fad diet" and that will happen unless the readers embrace change and fully give Veganism a chance.

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Everyone is it is totally cool that you have your own opinion! Awesome. My two cents are basically if it something that makes people go vegan .... then I am all for it. Veganism is the best thing that has happened to me in this lifetime... I can't see how anyone would quit being Vegan... which I hear once in a while. I guess those people never understood veganism... more than a fad or quick fix diet. Vegans kick BUTT

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  • 2 weeks later...

I hate promotion of anorexic, unhealthy-looking and overly self-critical body image. However, I think that takes a huge back seat to the suffering of animals who have no choice in the matter. We should all work to end all suffering and inequality, but honestly if indulging in the oppression of middle/upper class women in an abstract and self-inflicted way will save millions of animals from much worse suffering that is not at all self-inflicted, I'm willing to make that tradeoff.

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