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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Militant Vegans

James and I are both vegan, which you probably know if you are reading this blog. For those people who have not known many vegans, or I am the "main vegan" that you know, you may not be aware that there is a social group which I have always referred to as "militant vegans".

A "militant vegan" attempts to spread the vegan lifestyle, often through guilt, disgusting pictures, and fear-mongering. "Militant vegans" often tend to be pretty judgmental of non-vegans, have a more closed social group of friends, etc.

James and I, and most of our vegan friends, are NOT militant vegans. We love all--animals, people; omnis, veggies, vegans, and carnis alike. We have found that while the "militant" approach tends to turn people off and ostracize them from the cause, that a non-judgmental and open approach tends to rally them to support us and explore their own interest in veggie eating.

I came across this article which interviewed an ex-"militant vegan", and I was disappointed--not because she went back to eating meat, but because the impression was given that there was no other kind of vegan besides the "militants".

Therefore, I was inspired to comment, and what I wrote follows here:

"I am a strict vegan and have been for about five years--my husband is also a strict vegan and has been for about 12 years.

I have also noticed and resent the "militant" stance of a lot of people in the vegan community. When I tell people I am vegan, I usually add: "But I'm not militant--you know, I support people eating what they want."

I think vegans work against their own cause so much with being judgmental and exclusive. My husband and I have rallied our families to our cause by simply being strict vegans--we talk about the benefits we see but we know it's not the only way for everyone.

It's just a fact that when you have an open disagreement with someone, they will fight back against you. If you start out "not fighting", and "not judging", your own choices will be more likely to be openly viewed, understood, and not judged as well.

I just wanted to pop in as someone who has had vegan friends go back to being vegetarian or meat-eating, and when asked the question: "I am craving eggs, what should I do?", I have always said: "Do what feels right to you--listen to your body," and often even, "well, try eating an egg and see how you feel." In my experience, some people will devour it whole-heartedly (maybe those that should go back to lacto-ovo), some people will take one or two bites and feel grossed out (maybe those that should stay vegan), and some will eat the whole thing but then feel crappy afterward (they might have some thinking to do). Regardless, I think they have learned something by such an "experiment". I am still close friends with former vegans and have no issues with it.

For the record, I also don't crave sugar. At least, not unless I am eating it often. The less I eat, the less I want to eat, and I think that is probably true for people of any diet choice.

I actually think "my type of vegan" IS a minority, but we do exist. Furthermore, I think we go farther toward furthering the cause of veganism than the "militants". People don't want to fight and be judged, they want love and support. If they get it from you, they will be more likely to listen and take your opinions seriously. This is a lesson that spreads beyond diet."


Aletta said...

Hm, I'm friends with a number of vegans, but none of them are of the militant variety. One apparently kind of was in college (got arrested at a protest, apparently), but isn't anymore. Though she was the reason for our 90% vegan Thanksgiving this year.

Anyway, whenever I spend a lot of time around my friendly vegan friends my mostly-vegetarian diet get inspired to trend towards the vegan. So, keep up being a good influence. It definitely make more of an influence than being combative.

kris said...

Am not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but I am supportive of everyone's right to choose what works for them. I ALWAYS appreciate a non-militant stance on ANY topic, as a military stance invites the "opposition" to take up arms.

Which tends to get in the way of conversation and understanding.

Pretty All True

justadrienne said...

"I ALWAYS appreciate a non-militant stance on ANY topic, as a military stance invites the "opposition" to take up arms."

Totally! Which just makes issues.

Jessica said...

Awesome blog post! I have a friend who is a vegan and she gets so upset when I mention things about meat or something that goes against her beliefs. I understand that everyone out there has their own beliefs and I for one choose to respect that.

I applaud anyone who can do what's right for their body and not push it on others, but be there for knowledge if needed. Great Job!

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