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A response to Vice.com: Abhorred by adults drinking milk? Not hardly

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Chocolate milk is widely embraced by endurance athletes for post-activity recovery. Whole milk is guzzled annually by the winner of the Indy 500. Celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Taylor Swift, Hugh Jackman, and Heidi Klum have sported milk mustaches in “Got Milk?” ad campaigns. This nutrient-dense beverage has been consumed by humans for roughly 6,000 years.

So why is an editor with the youth-centric media outlet Vice calling drinking milk as an adult “unhinged behaviour” and “unsettling”?

In a July 5 article cheekily titled, Adults Who Still Drink Milk: Are You Okay?, the writer argues that it looks creepy for an adult to drink milk — that it is the equivalent of “seeing an adult man wearing a t-shirt and no pants like Winnie the Pooh, or when people kiss their dogs on the mouth for ages, or when someone over the age of 16 uses the word ‘mommy’ in a non-kink setting.”

The writer then goes onto list nefarious Hollywood examples of milk, such as the Nazi antagonist in Inglourious Basterds requesting a glass of milk from a dairy farmer before ordering the slaughter of a family, or the sinister posse in A Clockwork Orange tanking up on milk before a night of violence. 

That’s all presented in the Vice piece to show an almost evil quality of milk — a supposed connection to dark pathology.

Clearly that writer doesn’t eat Oreos.

oreo-dunking-milk-DreamerCompany
Image by Dreamer Company, Shutterstock

It’s notable that in a publication like Vice, which leans toward Gen Z and Millennial readers, the argument wasn’t centered around animal rights or the environment. Rather, the Vice writer steers into the kind of body shaming and preference shaming that fails to appreciate the diversity of choice in modern society. It’s a culturally bankrupt point of view that seems to have everything to do with manufacturing a shock-value topic. 

Sure enough, one paragraph from the Vice article says: “Why are you, as an adult, drinking white liquid which was made inside a body? And, worse, why are you drinking the white body liquid of cows specifically? You know what other liquids fit within that category? Cum and discharge.”

Someone award this writer the gold medal for illogical leaping!

Thankfully, on the Facebook post for Vice’s article, many of the several thousand comments rejected Vice’s central point as completely absurd. For example, readers said:

  • “People who consider age old nutrition practices ‘unhinged’ like eating meat or drinking milk, are unhinged. Of course nowadays in western civilisations especially, the protein intake is high, but there are a lot of places in the world where it isn’t. When I was a child, I remember being fed a brick of milk in the morning at school, because for a lot of us it woud be the only breakfast we’d get, and I’m not even 40 years old. Please stop with this nonsense.”
  • “You know 2022 is not even close of running out of idiocy when you’re reading that drinking milk is a debate for adults… Vice you need better writers and topics to tackle.”
  • “Even though I rarely drink milk as an adult, I feel this article is extremely childishly written, with no facts or science whatsoever, just a juvenile expression of disgust by the author and quotes of random like-minded people with opinions that have the level of finesse and depth of thought of an 8 year old.”
  • “Is this what it looks like when your editorial staff has run out of ideas and starts writing articles based on year old tiktoks.”

The reason, of course, that so many adults choose to drink milk is that it packs a nutritional bang — milk includes 13 essential nutrients, such as protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin (B2), and niacin (B3). And cow’s milk has repeatedly been shown to have more nutritional value than plant-based alternatives, though the alternatives have been gaining ground in recent years.

indy-500-driver-Alexander-Rossi-handed-milk
Alexander Rossi is handed a bottle of milk after winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2016, his rookie year. (Image courtesy of the American Dairy Association of Indiana)

Vice’s anti-milk argument is constructed around what happens on the Hollywood screen — that this medium uses milk to convey something malevolent or perverse about its characters and that that should translate into our world. Yet the reality of appreciating milk includes actual athletes and other health-conscious adults drinking milk to boost their performance and improve their livelihoods.

It’s literally an instance of picking between the fiction and the fact. 

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