Academic claims idioms like "bringing home the bacon" will be phased out as veganism rises
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - As more and more people are removing animal products from their diet, as research allegedly shows, one academic is roasting out a hot take that the English language could be facing changes as well.
So, what's the beef with phrases like "bringing home the bacon" or "keeping all of your eggs in one basket"? It may be less that people will grow "too chicken" to say various idioms but more that, when it comes to societal confrontations on the topic, they will have "bigger fish to fry."
Shareena Hamzah is a postdoctoral researcher for SwanSea University, and in her writings on the website "The Conversationalist" titled "How the rise of veganism may tenderize fictional language", she goes into detail about how, as society progresses off a meat-based diet, so too will society find itself shrugging off meat-based language.
"In today’s reality, meat is repeatedly the subject of much socially and politically charged discussion, including about how the demand for meat is contributing to climate change and environmental degradation. Studies have indicated the negative effects of meat-eating on the human body. When concerns about animal welfare are added to the broth, the growth of vegetarianism and veganism threatens to dethrone meat from its position at the top of the food hierarchy," said Hamzah in her article.
Animal rights organisation PETA has been campaigning for more vegan and vegetarian-friendly idioms for years, urging teachers not to use phrases that perpetuate violence towards animals, according to The Independent.
For example, instead of saying "beating a dead horse", they would prefer you say the "kinder alternative" of "feeding a fed horse". Want another example? Instead of "killing two birds with one stone", they'd rather the alternative be "feeding two birds with one scone".
Getting to the meat of the matter, policing language will undoubtedly cheese some people off, but PETA suggests that no doing so can have unintended results.
"While these phrases may seem harmless, they carry meaning and can send mixed signals to students about the relationship between humans and animals and can normalize abuse," said PETA in one of their blog posts. "Teaching students to use animal-friendly language can cultivate positive relationships between all beings and help end the epidemic of youth violence toward animals."
Hamzah expands on this concept in her writing. She suggests that metaphors involving meat could be seen a less socially acceptable if killing animals for food becomes less socially acceptable.
"If veganism forces us to confront the realities of food’s origins, then this increased awareness will undoubtedly be reflected in our language and our literature," says Hamzah in her writing.
However, Hamzah herself doesn't expect the societal shift will be immediate or happen anytime soon.
"That is not to say that meaty descriptions will be done away with immediately – after all, it can take language a long time to change. And who is to say that even those who choose a vegan or vegetarian diet even want to do away with the meaty descriptions? It is interesting to note that a range of vegetarian burgers have been made to “bleed” like real meat. Although the animal components of such foods are substituted, attempts are made to replicate the carnivorous experience. Beetroot blood suggests the symbolic power of meat may well carry into the age of veganism, in which case the idea of meat as power will also remain in literature for some time to come," said Hamzah as the conclusion to her writing.
Oh an in case you were wondering, PETA also suggested that you should "bring home the bagels" instead of bacon and you should "put all your berries in one bowl" instead of baskets and eggs.