Virtue-signaling by well-known brands is nothing new. But if we leave the growing culture of corporate virtue-signaling unchecked, it could have profound consequences for society, thanks to those brands’ legion of followers: a group sometimes called “soy boys.”
“Soy boy” is a pejorative social media term used to refer to virtue signalers who talk down to those who disagree with them. They’re the type who post about “saving the planet” and instigate cancel culture pile-ons whenever someone deviates from the agreed narratives.
In the mind of the soy boy, every buying decision is an opportunity to signal virtue. They boast about how they eat cruelty-free peace beans and wear clothes made of recycled materials. They use their free time to shame those who make different choices or say something they don’t like.
In an attempt to cater to the loud minority of soy boys, more and more brands are virtue-signaling about how green and “woke” they are. Cultural issues, from gay rights to race and more, have nothing to do with the products they sell. By virtue-signaling, they are inserting politics where it does not belong and forcing consumers to politicize simple purchasing decisions in their everyday lives.
The result is a deepening of social and economic divisions. Do you eat meat? Drink cow milk? Drive a non-electric car? As far as soy boys are concerned, you’re killing the planet and deserve to be shamed.
There’s nothing wrong with having different views, but by stoking corporate virtue-signaling, soy boys are allowing politics to pollute our lives, from popular culture to the grocery store.
Soy boys are in a privileged position. Swapping every product you buy for an eco-friendly alternative can be expensive. Soya milk, for example, is sometimes as much as 44 percent more expensive than dairy milk, with soybean prices climbing. Even if the typical working-class American wanted to live the soy boy lifestyle, many couldn’t afford it.
That’s because “soy boy-ism” is classist. It’s a way for wealthy folks to look down on Americans who have different views, make other choices and live different lives. Ordinary Americans are too busy providing for their families to worry about which brand shares their opinion on the new fad or has jumped on the latest bandwagon, especially when making those virtue-signaling purchasing choices would inflate their grocery bills even more than inflation itself.
Even if they could afford to switch from dairy milk to soy, they might not want to. Scientists have uncovered soy’s worrying effects on the hypothalamus, an important part of the brain, with potential consequences affecting body temperature and response to stress. Perhaps that’s part of the explanation for the determined craziness of those who eat and drink soy. It’s not green either, with soy production a major driver of deforestation, especially in the Amazon.
Either way, at the heart of the soy boy mentality is frustration that they can’t change hearts and minds. Americans will continue to walk past the soy aisle in the grocery store, choosing instead to eat beefburgers and drink milk that comes from cows, as they should. America will not give in to the virtue signalers who insist every product and brand should go woke.
No matter how loudly they shout, soy boys deserve to be ignored.