PERCEPTION OF VEGANS: PROGRESSIVE NOT AGGRESSIVE
Lately I have been frustrated with societal views towards vegans. There needs to be an awareness movement to show that all vegans aren’t “one of those vegans”. If you’re vegan for animal rights, you NEED to care about how people view vegans. If we want people to stop eating meat and join the vegan club, we better become more appealing as a people.
I have been vegan for 5 years. After losing a bet and having to do a 28 day vegan challenge, I wasn’t a fan of an animal free diet. I reluctantly did it because I’m a man of my word. I felt terrible for the first 14 days. It was almost like a two week long hangover. Around day 17 it went away and I realized that it was probably my body detoxing from the alcohol and processed foods. I felt so good at day 25 and was nervous that I could only do it for 3 more days. Then a thought struck me “I can keep my vegan lifestyle going” but quickly reconsidered. I don’t want to be a “vegan” those people are the worst.
The vegan are stereotyped as white, yogi, tree-hugging, hipster, animal hoarding, skinny-fat, food bible thumping aggressive people. I don’t want to be labeled as “one of those vegans” and more importantly, I don’t want to become one of those. I decided to do the vegan thing for a little longer. That’s what I told people but I knew that I had no desire to go back to meat.
No one deals with the inconvenience of being vegan without passion. Passion is hard to control and that’s why many vegans seem aggressive or judgmental. The truth is I met so many great vegan people that are loving, non aggressive and judge-free. For example, Bill and Ami Mackey are the couple that got me involved with the vegan lifestyle. About 9 out of 10 of them are great.
I don’t understand vegan organization’s logic behind aggressively posting animal cruelty videos. If you’ve ever chanted “MEAT IS MURDER, DAIRY IS RAPE” you are not helping our overall mission statement. It’s quickly becomes counter-productive when you’re screaming issues louder than you’re screaming solutions.
Less aggressive vegans are the better faces of the vegan movement. When someone feels attacked they will push back. Some vegans tag meat eaters (and young children) on animal cruelty videos to shove the truth in meat eaters faces. Often the meat eater will return fire with tagging the vegan in a picture of a steak. This makes meat eaters become rather resentful of the vegan lifestyle because of these exchanges.
A Facebook friend that is a very passionate about his vegan lifestyle and serves as a catalyst for overly aggressive revolution. He is an extreme case but he is an example of someone that likes to “beef” with meat eaters. I won’t name him because it’s not my intent to embarrass him or give him more ammo. Here are a few post from the last couple of days:
My approach is to not shove my vegan lifestyle down anyone’s throat and if it ever comes up, i’m nonchalant about it. I don’t look down on meat eaters or try to guilt them. I Invite friends to try a vegan meal by saying “Not everyone likes it but lets try something new tonight.” or something along those lines. They are more likely to go than if I were to say “How about we not dine on tortured animal flesh?” They are more likely to convert or at least add more vegan options to their diet this way. Even if a person eats vegan meals 1 day a week, it saves 1/7th of the animal lives. If vegans are overly aggressive, it cast an ugly shadow on the vegan society.
It’s not just stereotypical vegans that are a part of the lifestyle. There are boxers, NFL players, weight lifters, wrestlers, marathoners, etc. Just to name a few:
- Mac Danzig- UFC fighter
- Robert Cheeke- body builder
- Alli- Profession wrestler
- Bryan Jennings- heavyweight boxer
- David Haye- heavyweight boxer
- Rich Roll- Ultra-marathoner
- Serena Williams
- Venus Williams
- David Carter
If anyone ask me th dreaded question “But where do you get your protein from”, I send them a pictures of Torre Washington as my response. He doesn’t even take supplements and he’s ripped. I am not certified with any nutritional program or anything along those lines. I cannot debate the health benefits but I do notice the difference in my body and how I feel. I became vegan during the second half of my boxing career. I was able to change weight classes and lost as much as 80 pounds. Being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Oreos are vegan. Being plant-based is healthy.
I cannot completely discredit the animal rights organization for all that it has done but I believe if these organizations would take a less aggressive approach to awareness it may be more beneficial. Constantly posting graphic images isn’t the right approach. We need to take accountability for rebranding ourselves and being a welcoming organization.
There are so many people converting to the lifestyle and even more are filling their toes in the water out of curiosity. The more people that fall into the vegan diet, the more aware they will be. This would lead to them being apt to adopt an animal free wardrobes, boycott animal entertainment, etc. But its starts with being welcoming. Its a whole other animal dealing with corporations. I’m not going to get into that right now. I cannot speak on behalf of all vegans, but these are just my views and thoughts.
PS- Since becoming vegan, I now drive a Prius. Coincidence? Who knows.