Reading this story really hit home for me as I've also been on the receiving end of what I like to call, "Vegan aggression". Vegan aggression comes in many forms, whether it's sharing shocking and disturbing videos, demeaning meat eaters, or attacking vegetarians for their dairy consumption. All of these situations are hurtful and unfortunately, work against the message veganism intends to portray.
In this particular story, the girl mentioned shared a recipe for a tofu dish she prepared on a vegan group. After one member discovered she was not a vegan, they unleashed fury on her for "stealing" tofu from vegans and vegetarians. The member demeaned and attacked her for her apparent appropriation of vegan culture for her own benefit and tried to have her removed from the group. This is unfortunately quite normal in the vegan community and in my experience, can be extremely hurtful and actually work against the morals of the group.
Vegans want to be seen as compassionate, caring individuals and yet in the same token will take the opportunity to demean and discredit other people for not being vegan. This reputation for being snotty, self assured, and aggressive, is not the reputation I believe vegans want for themselves. I also do not believe all vegans are this aggressive so please don't think that I am insinuating that, I'm simply pointing out that there are extreme vegans much like a religious extremist. This aggressive and forceful approach to veganism is not conducive to a message that should be about compassion and empathy for living creatures.
I follow so many animal welfare groups on social media and one thing they all have in common is their approach to veganism. There is one particular quote that stuck with me and it reads,
"We must win hearts, not arguments."
This resonates with me greatly and ties into my own personal approach. Sharing the positive things about going vegetarian / vegan and demonstrating compassion are the best methods for conveying our message. I've learned that people are far more receptive to a positive message rather than a negative one and when it comes to a lifestyle change, a positive approach is the only option.
If this journey I've been on has taught me anything, it's that saving animals is much more than forcing people to go vegan. It's about opening people's eyes to the injustices of the industry and helping them make their own choices through being informed. It's about celebrating the successes of anyone who is willing to make a conscious effort to reduce their meat consumption. Caring about animals and their well being is what this is all about and what these extreme vegans forget is even the smallest victories are still victories. Celebrate the meatless mondays, the new vegetarians, and everyone in between. Enough with the shaming and demeaning, it's working against our message of compassion and frankly, painting a negative picture of all vegans and compassionate folks.
What are your thoughts? Have you been on the receiving end of vegan extremism? Are you a vegan who feels that aggressive approaches are the only way? I want to hear from you guys! Comment or message me on fb / twitter!
Hey y'all! I'm Jonathan, and I'm the creator of the Happy Veg blog! I've been cooking now for about 8 years, and I'm obsessed with creating vegetarian recipes that everyone can make and love. I'm also obsessed with animals & travel. Thanks for visiting the blog and have a great day xo