When I first told two of my friends this past summer that I was a vegetarian but would soon be transitioning to veganism, I got the response that probably every vegan has got ins some form of another. One of my friends looked at me and said “Don’t go vegan, vegans are so annoying.” After she said this I wasn’t mad because I knew that she only knows one side of vegans, the side that people try to criticize and make jokes about. Trying to brush her comment off I responded by saying, “They’re not annoying they are passionate.”
I wanted to share this little story of mine with you to show the issues that having a single story of a lifestyle can produce. In the case of veganism, a lot of people like to jump the gun and assume that we’re all annoying or that we are “radical and extreme.” To be quite honest I can’t help but laugh at these assumptions based on the ignorance that the individuals who make these comments display. How is it radical or extreme to be against the exploitation and murder of innocent animals? Or better yet how is compassion and non-violence seen as radical, yet killing is seen as normal? These assumptions, why have they become the norm to judge a lifestyle by?
People are missing the point, vegans are showing passion for something just as a sports fan would show their support and passion for their favorite sports team. Vegans show enthusiasm and support for the ethical treatment of animals because they are compassionate and believe that no animal should be enslaved to a life of torture that they didn’t ask for. For the reason that they are just supporting a cause that they believe, why do people judge vegans so harshly and continue to carry a stigma against them? The reason I think this continues is because a lot of the things that vegans say or do make non-vegans uncomfortable. What I mean by that is when vegans talk about how animals are treated in slaughter houses and how their skin will be ripped off their backs to make products for people, and the truth of this matter makes people uncomfortable because they can understand how wrong this all is, but can’t seem to part with their lifestyles. Also, another reason that I think people have a single story of vegans is because most vegans that people tend to hear about are ones that can “be in your face” with their beliefs when most vegans are not like that, but that’s not to say that there is anything wrong with being “showy” about what you believe in. Just to add not all vegans switch to veganism for the reason of the animals, some transition because they want to live a healthier life and if that includes not killing animals then that’s a plus.
Vegans are really just trying to promote ethical living, and compassion for all sentient beings. So, the only thing that is radical about veganism is the notion that animals are not objects. Be aware of the single stories you may have about people and look more into things before you go and judge. Your previous judgments may keep you from wonderful realizations. So, with all that said if you have been listening to the stigma about veganism, I suggest you go check out some documentaries you may learn a thing or two that will change your opinions on veganism.