The sad reality is becoming more and more clear to me, veganism is starting to be viewed more as a diet than it is a lifestyle. As an ethical vegan, this pains me greatly because the very definition of veganism "is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals."
Do I oppose people who want to become healthier, more fit, skinny, lower their cholesterol or reverse their diseases? Absolutely not. The more vegans, the better but the problem I do see are those people claiming the name "vegan" but not following the lifestyle like making exceptions for holidays or ingesting honey happily, etc. And of course not following veganism in other aspects of their life. You see this a lot in the celebrity world, the word gets flung around like a little girls ragdoll.
Am I playing the vegan police? Maybe a little. As someone who holds veganism so dear to her heart and cares deeply and strongly for the rights, freedoms, compassion and love for animals, it's hard not to get offended. When you decide to make the stand to fight for animals, you do just that, stand, loud and proud. You want the world to see the oppression and you want others to care just as much as you do. Obviously, a lot of people close their eyes to your actions and their ears to your words. I understand. I know it's hard to know the truth but animals need you to hear and see them. My heart aches at the indifference of many and how unwilling some people can be to our message. In a way, it hurts more to see so many people adopting a diet but not holding the same standard to the rest of their life. In a way, I see it as a selfish act, their own body is more important than that of the animals.
"You're awfully fat for a vegan", this is the next problem. As a vlogger on YouTube, I put myself out there every day to try and spread the message of veganism. I do this as a form of activism, I can do it from the comfort of my own home, why not? We all know trolls and other hateful people run rampant on the internet, YouTube is no exception. I hear almost weekly that I am apparently fat for a vegan, I also get comments saying that a raw lifestyle would do wonders for me. Firstly, can I say that I don't consider myself fat but even if I did it has absolutely nothing to do with veganism. You know why? Because veganism is not a diet. I eat cupcakes, I enjoy cookies and veggie burgers, fries and lots of other indulgent, sugary, "fatty" and oily foods. Does this make me a bad vegan? Absolutely not. I did not become vegan as a weight loss method. My love for food increased when I became vegan and my palate and diversity of food opened up. I am passionate about food and I love to eat.
The fat comments to me, are a major sign in the damage the raw and dietary movement are causing. I shouldn't have to be a certain size or look a certain way to be vegan, that has nothing to do with it. Veganism also doesn't mean optimal health and it certainly doesn't mean that your diseases are instantly cured. It doesn't mean you will never get sick either. Is it a healthier way to live? Absolutely. It's the best diet possible even if you are a junk food vegan but in no way does it mean that you are going to instantly turn into a supermodel and become invincible against all human ailments.
To me, the saddest part of all, is the separation this causes. I see vegans fighting vegans more than I see vegans fighting meat-eaters now. If you like to eat healthy all the time, no oil, no sugar, no salt, etc. If that makes you happy, then by all means, do it. If you like to be a raw vegan, a fruitarian or a junk food vegan, do it. But we all need to come together on common ground and realize we are fighting one true, real and pure cause, that of animals. We don't have to all follow the same strict diets as long as we aren't harming animals. Animals should always come first.
Sunday, 1 September 2013
You're Awfully Fat for a Vegan
Ethical Vegan, Activist, Animal lover, Photographer, Dreamer, Wanderer, Misanthropic, Neurotic, Empath, Socially awkward, Child of the Earth, Cat enthusiast, Old Soul, Childlike spirit, Spiritually curious, Tree hugger, Tofu muncher. I like to stop and smell the flowers and talk to the squirrels.