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Stereotypical vegan girl in "Hung" on HBO.

I don't know if any of you all have seen this HBO show--it's called "Hung", and it's about a man who is down on his luck, but he has a big dick, so he uses it to his advantage and starts a business as a male escort.  This character named Tanya is his manager/pimp.  It's a decent show.

Anyway, the Tanya character is vegan, and she exhibits every stereotype in the book.  I'll try to list them all:

- Doesn't wear make-up
- Can't dress herself, i.e. dress with sneakers and one ugly business suit she wears every day
- Is a starving poet
- Hair always looks greasy/unkempt
- Feminist who calls people out for using the word "bitch"
- Makes a huge fuss and is borderline rude about anchovies on her salad
- Hates chain restaurants
- Knits
- Eschews coffee in favor of tea
- Bakes the dude some kind of nasty-sounding unconventionally-flavored gluten-free cookies
- Has a nasty hairy razor on her bathtub ledge.  Not sure if this is a vegan stereotype, as it is usually a stereotype for vegans NOT to shave, but it still goes along with the poor hygiene stereotype.

Not that those are all bad traits (I knit too!), but really, could they be more stereotypical?  It makes me roll my eyes and shake my head. 

Just wondering if y'all had seen it and what you thought about those stereotypes.  Dumb or accurate?

;D  That's totally me, except for the poet part.

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Hmmm, I must say that while it's obnoxious that the character has all those unfortunate stereotypes, at least the word "vegan" is getting some play on HBO, ya know? It's only going to take a little more time for things to evolve in TV land. At least there's Ellen!

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like this girl??? look at that greasy, dreading hair.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v309/hi_im_kelsi/greasyhair.jpg

ps.  thats me.  dont rip on the picture too hard.  hehe.

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Hmmm, I must say that while it's obnoxious that the character has all those unfortunate stereotypes, at least the word "vegan" is getting some play on HBO, ya know? It's only going to take a little more time for things to evolve in TV land. At least there's Ellen!

I don't really think it's a good thing.  What's the effect?  Now people who have never heard the word before are going to think vegans are crazy bitches.

It's not really a huge deal--we had to rewind the show to even hear if they said "veganism" when it was first mentioned.  But I take pride in my appearance, I keep myself well-groomed, I have some...basic....sense of style, and I have good social skills.  I don't want to be lumped in with her, kthanks.

It's just makes me wanna be like, Hello world!  I'm vegan and I'm nice and normal and not psycho and I take care of myself!

lol @ kelsi and hh.  You are one of THEM!  <3 

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I guess I never knew vegans were stereotyped as most of those things....but my only experience with other vegans is on here, and most of us are all hotties who seem fairly normal to me....

All of the hardcore environmentalist dirty hippie folks I know and have known throughout my life have all eaten meat, so I guess I don't equate that kind of person to veganism...perhaps I'm sheltered.

And while I'm not a huge fan of chain restaurants and I might be slightly peeved about anchovies on my salad (I would still never be unnecessarily rude), I'm the furthest thing from the rest of those stereotypes, so I can see why this show would be irritating.
I think I'll see if its available on Netflix!

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All of the hardcore environmentalist dirty hippie folks I know and have known throughout my life have all eaten meat

True, true.  I find that to be true as well.  I guess it's less of a vegan stereotype and more of a hippie stereotype.  However, people do make the vegan = hippie stereotype as well.

Shoot, I've seen this stereotype elsewhere......where was it......I think it was in that movie, About a Boy.  The crazy-ass lady that plays the boy's mom.  She is veg.  And highly mentally unstable. 

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In better news, there was a skit on Prairie Home Companion last weekend about workers who were very demoralized, so they got rid of their exec, became a happy company, hired a vegan to head the company and, presumably, were happy ever after.

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In better news, there was a skit on Prairie Home Companion last weekend about workers who were very demoralized, so they got rid of their exec, became a happy company, hired a vegan to head the company and, presumably, were happy ever after.

i'm pretty sure garrison is veg*an.  yay  i love a prairie home companion.

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those also sound like lesbian stereotypes. does she every date men on the show? i wonder ... future plot twists. i would prob bet cupcakes on that.

Hahaha....Well, I mean the first time she met the main character dude, they had sex that night.....soooooooo.......not YET anyway.  But who knows!

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not to split hairs (teehee) or anything but how is a hairy razor associated with poor hygiene? Because it was left full of hairs or because hairy legs are dirty? And what exactly IS this poor hygiene stereotype because I don't really see how any of those reasons you listed have to do with her hygiene (besides maybe the unkempt hair on her head).    Do those with body hair, those who wear no makeup mask, or those who dress in second hand clothes (and sneakers because they're more comfortable than those misogynistic high heels) lack pride in their appearance or fail to groom themselves properly? 

Just wanted to clarify. ;)

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The razor is just gross.  Like, the guy is using her bathtub, and she leaves it sitting right there on the edge of the tub with the hair all on it.  It's unsanitary and gross and rude.  I guess it relates to cleanliness, not hygiene, to be exact.  Doesn't make much of a difference.  It's the "dirty hippie" stereotype.

I don't know if people who comport themselves that way lack pride in their appearance.  I can't speak for anybody.  It would seem so.  Or rather, it would seem that she does not prioritize physical appearance.  That's fine; we all have different priorities.

I'm not really interested in discussing whether people should follow certain standards for their physical appearance--that's a topic for another thread, if you want--I'm just saying, it would be nice to see a strong vegan character who doesn't fit this particular image.  Not all vegans fit that bill, as we know.  

The skinny, bitchy, princess vegan stereotype is equally bad.  I've seen it in a couple movies.  

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ahh,  the razor thing makes more sense now when in context.  thanks. :)

The skinny, bitchy, princess vegan stereotype is equally bad.  I've seen it in a couple movies. 

to be honest, that's the only Vegan stereotype I've seen in pop culture (granted, i don't watch much tv or movies).  That and the crazy PETA militant vegan.  I think the way this character is less stereotypical vegan and more fits the dirty hippie ideal.  which is also annoying, but good in the sense that it might add another dimension to an individual's understanding of an alternative lifestyle, sending the message that not every vegan/woman/successful business person is cookie-cutter perfect and there is wiggle room for everyone's quirks

i'm not interested in discussing it much more either, just wanted clarification.  Thanks! :)

I WOULD be highly interested in hearing how everyone thinks a strong vegan character should be depicted.  What good qualities of a vegan need to be emphasized to dispel currently inaccurate vegan stereotypes?

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I WOULD be highly interested in hearing how everyone thinks a strong vegan character should be depicted.  What good qualities of a vegan need to be emphasized to dispel currently inaccurate vegan stereotypes?

See, I don't think there is one ideal  image.  It should be like, vegans are essentially normal people.  I guess this never happens in film/tv, because as soon as you say that a character is vegan, people have some expectations about how that character will be portrayed, and producers have to be careful not to confuse or offend.

I'd like to see a character whose veganism was just a coincidental part of their character.  Assuming the movie doesn't have to do with animal rights, of course.  Like, oh by the way, this person is vegan. 

So, the character SHOULDN'T have any special qualities emphasized, other than those which are relevant to the plot.  That would be refreshing to see. 

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there is a show on the CW with a normal vegan character. I think she is veg in real life also. it is called "girlfriends" or "the game" (it is one of the "black" shows). she is a singer/musician and the only "vegan" stuff i've seen her do is like bring vegan cupcakes or someone will say "i brought you a vegan whatever" - she is very much a normal woman depicted in a positive way (at least from what i see).

Nice!  That's exactly what I meant.

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So, the character SHOULDN'T have any special qualities emphasized, other than those which are relevant to the plot.  That would be refreshing to see.   

Agreed.  Veganism should be more normalized in mainstream society, and I think this TV show is a sign of that.  Hurrah for HBO continuing to push the envelope!

I think it's impossible though, when a writer is catering to TV/Movie audience, to highlight a character's eating habits without it relating back to the plot.  There are many movies that don't show the characters eating at all!  Can we consider those characters vegan?  How are we to assume that one character is a vegan and one is not unless it were explicitly explained, and therefore a part of the plot?  Why would we even think or care unless it related to the plot? 

When creating a story that must fit within strict time parameters, each detail should relate to the plot.  To take the time to explore something irrelevant to the plot is not done, that stuff gets chopped in editing.  To point out a character's vegan-ness only to have it in no way relate to the plot or a deeper understanding of that character and their actions would confuse (and possibly annoy) the audience.  Like, "why do I care?" unless it somehow contributes to the overall theme/plot of the story.

As much as I am annoyed by stereotypes, they can be very valuable in helping others relate and connect.  I think artists/writers tend to rely on stereotypes to begin a character, letting the audience connect, form assumptions, make predictions, etc.  Where the beauty in "entertainment" lies is when an artist/writer/filmmaker lines up these stereotypes for their audience and blows them away with empathic and vivid characters, challenging you to reconsider what you previously thought about the world.

I might have veered slightly off topic here, so I apologize if no one followed me on that trip. ;)

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At least vegans are getting some attention.
People might google the word "vegan" and come across this site!

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Phoebe was a vegetarian on friends too, right?
I'd say vegetarian was just a trait and didn't shape her personality even though she was a little less normal.

Characters on tv are always stereotypical.  I kind of hate it too.  Especially considering a lot of times when you mingle all those stereotypes together, it just seems like a big contradiction to the character.

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I read stories to my kids every night, especially chapter books aimed at my 9 year old son.  I cannot tell you how often the main character has a granola-head type mom who is always trying to foist healthy eating on her children.  Of course, the healthy eating stuff is always portrayed as the most disgusting thing imaginable, something that the kid in the story or even the kid's friends dont' want to eat.  Walnut-sunflower burgers, tofu and sprouts, mashed chickpea noodle casserole--these are some of the things that come to mind, and it's always repulsive and everyone who has to eat it suffers through because the books make very clear it doesn't taste good.  In addition, there are always numerous references to candy, ice cream and a variety of hostess products, which of course our young hero lusts after and is always thankful when some friend is willing to share.

It's shameful, really.  Fortunately--and I can't believe I'm actually saying fortunately here--my son is dyslexic so I read the books and just edit out the healthfood bashing parts.  But sometimes I'm skipping entire paragraphs or even whole pages!

As far as I'm concerned, it's a form of brainwashing.  So it should come as no surprise that kids who grow up in a place where they've never even seen tofu would just naturally assume that it something gross that only a crazy person would eat.

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Phoebe was a vegetarian on friends too, right?
I'd say vegetarian was just a trait and didn't shape her personality even though she was a little less normal.

Yeah...  I know this is nitpicky & I'd never complain about it anywhere other than here - but when Phoebe was a surrogate for her brother & his wife (she carried their triplets because the wife was unable to get pregnant), she had this overwhelming craving for meat.  I remember that she got Joey to "switch places" with her for the duration of the pregnancy so she could gorge on meat without "killing anymore animals," and Joey was a vegetarian until she gave birth.  It's not a big deal, and I know it's a sitcom - and most of the general public would never even think twice about it - but it was just kinda sad to me because it gives the impression that being veg is a sacrifice, and we all secretly crave meat.

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As far as I'm concerned, it's a form of brainwashing.  So it should come as no surprise that kids who grow up in a place where they've never even seen tofu would just naturally assume that it something gross that only a crazy person would eat.

Absolutely!

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