Contribution to Book
Lisa and Phoebe, Lone Vegetarian Icons: At Odds with Television’s CarnonormativityHow Television Shapes Our Worldview: Media Representations of Social Trends and Change (2014)
AbstractIn this chapter, I examine how human privilege operates by studying the characterization of ethical vegetarianism as an alternative lifestyle and comedic fodder in primetime television. The rebellious dietary choices of Lisa on "The Simpsons" and Phoebe on "Friends" provide an opportunity to analyze the construction of animal rights identities and how that is perceived and negotiated by the meat-eating (carnistic) mainstream. I articulate how, and to what extent, these smart and strong vegetarian females serve as a challenge to the hegemony of carnism, an ideology that psychologist Melanie Joy (2010) says normalizes the practice of using and consuming certain animal others. To set the context for this critical television analysis of carnism, I begin by explaining ethical philosophy on why nonhuman animals matter, why that means we shouldn’t farm or kill them, and why we still do, despite our psychological discomfort with causing them harm. I establish the cultural importance of television as a site of cultivation and social learning, especially what it teaches us about ourselves in relation to food and farmed animals. Then I share the findings of my analysis of how comedic themes around vegetarians in The Simpsons and Friends function to both reinforce and challenge carnism. I end with suggestions for ways that television programming can be fairer to fellow animals and less carnonormative.
EditorD. A. Macey, K. M. Ryan, and N. J. Springer
Citation InformationCarrie P Freeman. "Lisa and Phoebe, Lone Vegetarian Icons: At Odds with Television’s Carnonormativity" Lanham, MDHow Television Shapes Our Worldview: Media Representations of Social Trends and Change (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/carrie_freeman/16/