Australian social researchers Michelle Phillipov and Katherine Kirkwood say being vegan is now considered “cool”, and most people no longer think eating meat makes men more masculine. Their new book, Alternative Food Politics: From the Margins to the Mainstream, examines the impact of popular media and culture on contemporary food trends and politics, covering topics such as food-technology startups, social justice projects, and the influence of celebrities and cooking shows on dietary trends. A chapter—co-authored by academics Stephen Harrington, Christy Collis, and Ozgur Dedehayir—is dedicated to the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and the shift in perception that has helped push veganism into the spotlight. “Their chapter argues that entertainment has played a key role in softening perceptions of veganism and fostering a heightened awareness of the broader implications of dietary choice,” Kirkwood said. “Popular documentaries like Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and What the Health have shone a light on the environmental and health benefits. At the same time, media personalities like Rich Roll—a self-described wellness and plant-based nutrition advocate—have helped popularize plant-based diets and re-define the links between meat and masculinity.”

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