Welcome back November's series: Eat This Planet; all month I will be discussing how consumer's grocery habits impact the global community. This week I will be discussing the part that celebrities play in curbing social ideologies and buy patterns around meatless-proteins. Celebrities have a major role to play in the consumption patterns of their followers, if a celebrity comes out with a new beauty line or endorses a product often their fans will flock to outlets to purchase said products. This has negative and positive connotations when looking at consumption patterns through the lens of conscious consumerism and overall global health.
Celebrities hold a lot of power over their fans and can often create an ultimately destructive community built on personal self gain and not global gain. With this power many celebrities have built a loyal following not only through their careers but also through their values. Recently Beyond Meat, a meatless "meat" company that I talked about last week, announced that Leonardo DiCaprio invested in their company. This is great news for Beyond Meat not only has their consumer base grown to reach Leonardo DiCaprio's fan base, it has also given more of a platform for Leo to stand on.
Leonardo DiCaprio is not shy of a "meat-less" world, he has help funded projects like Cowspiracy to Netflix and avid spokesperson about climate change. He has spoken to the UN about the need for legislation and critical action to combat the affects of climate change as well to commit to green solutions.
These action are noble but are they the right actions?
To this I am not sure. On one hand he is using his platform to try and influence not only world leaders to realize their position of power but also his fans of theirs. He is actively fighting for social change against climate change and the betterment of the world. On the other hand he using his position of power to influence his fans to following his way of thinking. This may not be a bad thing when marching to the beat of positive social change but this can lead down a rabbit hole of blind following. Celebrities often use their power of their fans to push personal ideologies and even their own products to their fans. When these ideologies aren't for any particular positive change but personal gain, I think we have a problem.
Looking at the market currently their are plenty of celebrities doing this, the one that comes to mind the most is Kylie Jenner, who's cosmetics are "cruelty free" are not vegan. Having a cosmetics brand that is cruelty free is great but doesn't mean a whole lot in todays market. When analyzing a cosmetics brand we have to think about what is the harshest critique we can give it, that would be the classification of "vegan". Generally, the classification of any product that is vegan has some basic principles: cruelty free, carbon neutral, PPP business model (or better), and zero waste. Kylie Jenner's cosmetics are not all these things. The point of the deviation is to show the harm that a celebrities social power has on society, because Kylie Jenner has her own cosmetics line those in her fan base that use makeup most likely went out and bought it. If these cosmetics where for the betterment of the planet then sure, go right a head, but they are for her personal gain. When we look at celebrities who are using their position for global positive gain and maybe some personal, Kat Von D comes to mind. Kat Von D has infused her values into her products, creating a cosmetics company that is (wait for it) "vegan". As she states on her cosmetics website, no federal legislation has be put into place to label a product as vegan but her company does a pretty damn good job trying to stay true to her values. Circaling back around to this weeks topic, Celebrity Integrity, I think it is important that no matter the size of the social power a celebrity has they should be using their power for the betterment of our global economy.
Another celebrity that uses their social power to try and curb the world to a better place is Ellen Page. She is an active member of the Twitter community and is vocal about her values. By using her social media platforms she is sharing with her followers the values of respect, mindfulness, and equality (among other things). By creating a community that is informed and understanding of their power on the global ecosystem, Elle Page is doing at least something with her social power to curb society for the better.
Having celebrities use their positions in society is in some respects key to call upon greater positive social change. We must, however, always think about what we are reading and what the celebrities we follow are saying to us. If the celebrities that you follow are not aligning their values with yours, maybe its time to find new celebrities to follow. People like Leonardo DiCaprio are using their social power to try and positively influence social change. He is actively investing and endorsing positive movements to try and curb positive social change. By backing companies like Beyond Meat he is showing us that these forms of meatless meat proteins are out there and are worth implementing into our grocery patterns. Having celebrities with the integrity to put their money where their mouths are are important, it creates a sense of authenticity and real social power and having celebrities do this in a way that positive is even better. Jason Mraz, for example, has invested in Cafe Gratitude, who's mission it is to create plant-based substitutes for any occasion. Creating positive communities will create positive social change towards a less harmful consumerism society. Take a hard look at the celebrities that you look up to and think about what sort of message and values are they instilling on their fans.
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