Vexed question of vegetarians and sex

PUBLISHED: 12:25 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

Chloe

Chloe

IN theory, our story this week of a Baldock woman being a contender for the sexiest vegetarian in Europe award should make me very happy. I ve been a veggie for about 13 years and anything which helps dispel the notion that we all wear clothes made out

IN theory, our story this week of a Baldock woman being a contender for the 'sexiest vegetarian in Europe' award should make me very happy.

I've been a veggie for about 13 years and anything which helps dispel the notion that we all wear clothes made out of hemp and don't wash is surely a good thing.

But actually, it's made me wonder why everything has to be 'sexy'.

Essentially the competition is an advert, a way of selling the vegetarian lifestyle to the carnivores out there.

The organisers PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are clearly hoping it will work in the same way that advertising bods think having an attractive pair driving round in a car does.

It will make people want to buy the product, and therefore, by extension, a bit of the glamour.

And this is what makes me think it's quite misguided.

I'm not really sure it's appropriate to even be advertising vegetarianism - it's a lifestyle choice, not the latest consumer must-have.

But even if I accept that as it's a lifestyle with huge health and environmental benefits, it's therefore good to encourage others to jump on board our 'no meat for me' train, I still don't see why PETA have to play the sexiness card.

It's fine to work on improving the image of vegetarians, as although in my experience it's got a lot better over the last few years, it's still a subject which people can't resist mocking.

But we do not need to try and make being a vegetarian 'sexy'.

Lord knows, there's enough pressure on us all to try and look the best we can already, without adding our diet choice into the image crisis.

I'm aware I probably sound a bit po-faced about this and so I'd like to stress I think it's great there are good-looking vegetarians out there

But there are also some not-so-sexy veggies around - just like any group of people, we come in all shapes and sizes.

I personally get satisfaction from having a varied, interesting, healthy and animal-friendly diet - I'm not interested in whether or not it will help my image.

I'm very happy being a veggie, and yes, I wish more people were so that we could make a real difference to animal welfare in the world.

But people these days have enough access to information to be able to make informed choices about their diet.

We don't need to advertise and we certainly don't need to take the cheap shot of following the old adage that 'sex sells'.

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