A real shirt from Urban Outfitters
The following is a guest post from a member of the Wesleyan student body:
Oat milk is substance derived from oats blended in water, then strained. Its main advantage over cow’s milk is that it is vegan, nondairy, and more environmentally sustainable. Its main disadvantage is that it is less nutritious, overpriced, and gastronomically thin. The main source of pleasure from consuming oat milk is not the oat milk itself but the ethical pleasures with which it is associated.
The critique against oat milk, then, must be that the indirect pleasures derived from it are, in some ways, the true products advertised, and also falsely portrayed.
No criticism can successfully attack the advantages of oat milk, but only the disadvantages.
Oat milk, being overpriced and less nutritious than cow’s milk, makes it ripe to be a signifier of affluent class consciousness. Oat milk is, materially speaking, impractical. You must pay more for fewer nutrients. You also signal to others whether you have enough money to purchase something so impractical. Oat milk, like every product, is a symbol of status. That status or class is one especially concerned with environmental ethics.
The first problem, however, is that oat milk, as a status symbol, introduces the problem of class. Only a certain class of people, under the paradigm of ethical consumption, can afford to be environmentally virtuous. This exposes the faults of the current economic mode of production.
The second problem is that individual consumption of oat milk does not alleviate the problems of environmental damage, especially as the world consumes around 500 million metric tons of dairy each year. As it is now, individually consuming oat milk slows the damage only negligibly.
The truth is that oat milk as a product is sold to make you feel ethical, like you are making an impactful difference. This is the problem. To make you feel.
Nevertheless, there is still a pleasure to the round, subtle, and creamy coating of oat milk as it downs the throat. Although nutritionally weaker than cow’s milk, oat milk still has the soft sweet smell of oats. Although gastronomically thinner, oat milk advertised as its own product, separate from cow’s milk, retains its own aesthetic pleasure. There is still delight, as are found in all things, when not placed in comparison. Oat milk must be praised for the pleasures of oat milk, not its false ethical affects.
Oat milk alone is not bad. It is the false advertising that is bad, also unethical.