By Megan Vick
Too many people have a visceral reaction upon reading or seeing the ‘V’ word. It means many things to many people, but almost all of those reactions are negative. Whether you turn up your nose and sneer, or stare confusedly when you try to process what the word encompasses, few people are supportive of the lifestyle, the community, and the label.
That’s right… it’s “Vegan”
Why does this word illicit such reactions in mainstream society? Is it the unknown and/or confusing lifestyle choices of vegans: not consuming animals, not wearing them, and not using animal-tested products? Doubtful. Is it the fear that vegans aren’t getting enough nutrition? Possibly. Is it the belief that all vegan food must be boring salads day after day after day? Maybe. Is it the preachy, pushy, holier-than-thou attitude of many well-intentioned people who are so passionate about the cause that they come across as butt heads? Most likely.
And yes, I just used the phrase “butt heads.”
“Vegan” is such a dirty word because of the in-your-face tactics of organizations who oppose animal-cruelty and of the in-your-face conversations of people who cannot fathom why society still consumes animals. But guess what? It’s a vicious cycle. The longer people choose to sneer at the vegan community and the vegan lifestyle, the longer organizations and people will have to keep fighting to be heard. The longer people believe vegan food is flavorless, the longer it will take to have mainstream vegan food across the country and the world. The longer vegans berate people with their beliefs, the longer it will take for meat-eaters to give a damn. Regardless of whether or not you are vegan, it’s wrong to sneer, judge, and discriminate against a person for his or her choices. Whether it’s race, gender, religion, politics, dietary choices, hair color, type of car you drive, who you love, music you listen to – we should ask questions to understand and to come together as a people – not further segment ourselves in an increasingly global society.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. – Stephen Covey