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View Full Version : Hostility towards vegans/non-vegans



Nothsa
Sep 4th, 2008, 11:39 PM
Ok, the title probably isn't the best... but here goes.

After reading ALOT of threads on these forums, I've noticed one thing. People get really hostile towards people calling themselves 'vegan' if they aren't vegan 100%, 100% of the time.

For example, someone mentioned that they ate a little bit of cheese to save making the host of a dinner party feel bad after they tried to accommodate them as much as possible.

Ok, so she ate cheese ones, she's not vegan. Although for the rest, she doesn't eat, wear, whatever any animal products...... so what is she?

Or one who follows a vegan diet, but may not always have vegan clothes, or cosmetics - what are they?

Someone who orders a taxi home... gets into the car and notices that the seats are leather......... not vegan!

I understand that 'vegan' is not just about diet, and that it's a whole life-style, but seriously, why do people have to get so angry about it? :dizzy:

It's like it's an exclusive club, and people who are maybe dipping their toe in the water aren't welcome....

Another thing I've noticed is what vegans 'look' like to on-lookers... "giving the wrong impression" (because one mayo in a restaurant) - who cares what on-lookers think? I thought being vegan in itself would say that already, considering most people think we (if i'm allowed to say 'we') are weirdo, moaning, thin, pale, tree-hugging, peace man, hippy people.

If a man is gay, and sleeps with a woman, does that make him straight? Bisexual? ... or because he's exclusivly sexually/romantically attracted to men....still gay.

I see the reasons behind it, because vegan is VEGAN... but surely it's better to group together and build on a common ethical agreement, than to bite eachothers legs off incase they have a slightly different stance?

Korn
Sep 5th, 2008, 04:18 AM
After reading ALOT of threads on these forums, I've noticed one thing. People get really hostile towards people calling themselves 'vegan' if they aren't vegan 100%, 100% of the time.

I have also read a lot of the threads on this forum, but I must have missed most of these post. I have seen the expected comment that naturally occurs if some member assumes that veganism is only about food, but not seen much anger... Links?


Someone who orders a taxi home... gets into the car and notices that the seats are leather......... not vegan!

No....

A vegan avoids animal products as much as practical and possible. This doesn't mean that he won't sit in someone else's car if they've got leather seats.


It's like it's an exclusive club, and people who are maybe dipping their toe in the water aren't welcome....
I think every little step helps, and that it's brilliant that many people eat vegan if they aren't vegans. It's great.

But - since this is a site forum for vegans, we have a policy about not having discussions based on viewpoints saying that it's OK to use animal products for clothes etc. - because vegans don't think that this is OK - even if most vegans appears to wear old non-vegan stuff until it's worn out.

One new member seems to eg. think that one is vegan and that everything is OK as long as one avoids meat - or meat and dairy, but that's not what veganism is about. This could be a typical example of a situation where some misunderstandings may pop up.

One could of course blame it entirely on the vegans, but people who log into a forum for vegans and claim that it's OK to use animal products should definitely take their share of whatever friction that may come up in such situations - since they normally know that what they write (about using products that cause animal suffering) isn't considered OK by vegans...


Some new members who eat vegan but don't agree in or try to follow a vegan lifestyle occasionally also seem to have a strong need to mention their non-vegan activities in here, almost as if they want people who are against using animal products to OK they that they do it - or to wind up a discussion.

I could also personally be a central part of the reason behind these situations, because in the registration process, we have traditionally approved members who claim that they are vegans or 'very close', and for a long time, we also approved members who stated that they ate vegan food (only). That sentence in the registration process is now changed; it says "I am eating only vegan food, but I'm not a vegan", and these accounts will only have access to the Not A Vegan Yet-section.

We also have some members who say that they 'have decided to go vegan' (when they registered), and at least until recently often have had their accounts fully approved. This may have caused some discussions between people where one of them assumes that the other already is a vegan, but isn't. They may eat vegan, but still discuss like a non-vegan...


So - I'm a part of the reason for this confusion, and was criticized this week by someone who wrote (to me) that "My feeling is that you seem to be demanding some kind of conformity beyond not just eating meat products."

This person may have thought that this is a vegetarian forum. This has nothing to do with me personally or 'demanding conformity': veganism is definitely about more than 'just avoiding meat products'.

So: if someone assumes that everybody in here are vegans, but actually aren't, either because they have only recently decided to go vegan or because they happen to eat non-animal products only (eg. due to allergies/health problems), misunderstandings are bound to happen. Some may not know even e aware of the difference between veganism and vegetarianism, and I think these misunderstandings are the main reason that friction sometimes appear, and will try to make it more clear that this is a site for people that actually are vegans.

missbettie
Sep 5th, 2008, 08:09 AM
well...where do you personally draw the line nothsa? If you eat cheese, you are not vegan plain and simple. and if the person serving you knows your vegan then there shouldn't be a problem. and if they get offended if you don't eat their non vegan food...well lets just say i wouldn't be calling them a friend.

I have NO problem when someone presents me a non vegan dish saying "i'm really sorry but I'm vegan and I don't eat that" or I say "thank you sooo much i really appreciate the offer but i've already ate. i always eat before I go out because i'm vegan and i don't know if there will be any options for me" or I jokenly say "oh that looks and smells really good but i'm sorry i just can't eat it, thank you sooo much it looks beautiful!" no one has ever ever been upset by it or rude to me. they always ask questions, which is what i want because it kinda helps spread the word. :)

but IMO you have to draw the line some where. like Korn said, its about being as practical as possible. in the taxi situation, thats just not practical, are you going to sit around and wait for a taxi that has canvas seats? but in a situation where someone serves you none vegan food...i'm not sure about you personally, but i will say most of us can go with out a meal, or wait until we get home at least.

I do agree with you in the part that we shouldn't be rude to the people that have a slip up in the beginning (just like we shouldn't be rude to people period). as long as you try as hard as you can and are making "aware" decisions then you will most likely be making vegan ones, if your heart is in the right place. :)

vava
Sep 5th, 2008, 09:41 AM
that is a really clear post Korn - thank you - I sometimes feel 'wrong' when i post and say no that is not vegan if someone asks if it is ok to do something which is clearly NOT vegan. I am a bit innocent when it comes to those who post just to wind others up. :o

harpy
Sep 5th, 2008, 10:12 AM
I think it is reasonable to be rigorous about the definition of "vegan" (as far as rigour is possible) so as to avoid confusion (e.g. in the minds of restaurateurs and waiters). But I agree there's no need to be hostile to people who don't conform; it's enough to state the facts/definitions/workarounds.

Sometimes people seem to be asking the forum for some sort of absolution for non-vegan behaviour, however excusable. I think we have had the one about the person whose 95-year-old (or whatever) grandmother made them a non-vegan birthday cake and they felt they should eat some in order not to hurt her feelings.

Many of us, if not most, would say they did the right thing by not hurting the grandmother's feelings, but by definition it wasn't a vegan action and it's unrealistic to expect to be told that it was. IMO in circs like that it's probably more sensible just to rely on your own judgment that what you did was right, rather than expect endorsement from a load of people on a vegan forum. But I suppose the urge to "confess" is a natural one :undecided: and sometimes people just want to share a difficult situation they've been in.

Korn
Sep 5th, 2008, 11:11 AM
Talking about 95-year olds... AFAIK it took the late Donald Watson, the vegan movement's grand old man circa 15-20 years from he became a vegetarian until he became a vegan, and co-founded the vegan movement.

Who knows, if there would have been other people against using eg. leather, cheese or eggs around in those 15-20 years, and some of them had been hostile towards his non-vegan vegetarianism, maybe there wouldn't have been a vegan movement at all. Just like there's no reason to report every drop of milk or piece of cheese may that slip down one's throat knowingly or unknowingly, there isn't a need to be hostile / turn people away either.

I have seen some cases of what could be defined as judgmentalism here, from former members who have been had a very negative attitude towards people with other viewpoints - not really vegan/non-vegan viewpoints, but very critical comments about eg. dating non-vegans or having children in a non-perfect world.

People who just quit smoking are often have a more aggressive anti-tobacco attitude than others. Some new vegans may have swung the pendulum a little too far at times. If someone happens to be hostile, it's actually their problem - even if it may appear as it's the other parts problem.



:)

BlackCats
Sep 5th, 2008, 01:42 PM
I have seen some cases of what could be defined as judgmentalism here, from former members who have been had a very negative attitude towards people with other viewpoints - not really vegan/non-vegan viewpoints, but very critical comments about eg. dating non-vegans or having children in a non-perfect world.
People who just quit smoking are often have a more aggressive anti-tobacco attitude than others. Some new vegans may have swung the pendulum a little too far at times. If someone happens to be hostile, it's actually their problem - even if it may appear as it's the other parts problem.


I agree. I think I was one of those angry, judgemental vegans for a while during my transition from vegetarian to vegan and I think it just a normal reaction to change and possibly feelings of guilt from my past behaviour.

I do understand what you mean Nothsa. I think maybe some people considering veganism might get "put off" if vegans seem too militant and uncompromising but I think there are lots of vegans on this forum that are sympathetic and helpful rather than hostile.

Korn
Sep 5th, 2008, 03:25 PM
Hi,

I sent a little request to Notsha about posting links to the 'really hostile' stuff he had seen, with no success. So - if anyone else see verbal attacks on others that would fit into this category - please let me know....

harpy
Sep 5th, 2008, 03:36 PM
What's "really hostile" is a bit subjective I think.

There was someone on the "eating something non-vegan by accident" thread recently, a Buddhist, who I think said they would eat something non-vegan in a restaurant if it was served to them by accident, rather than waste it. Some debate followed about whether this made them not really a vegan. Maybe this would be a bit off-putting to some people although I think people were mainly just arguing that the behaviour wasn't strictly vegan.

Lisey_duck
Sep 5th, 2008, 05:54 PM
Re appearances - if one 'vegan' is so upset about the non-vegan mayo on the side of their plate that they just HAVE to eat it, and this is the comment they pass on to the cafe staff, then it is only understandable that the folks in the cafe form the view that vegans don't *really* care about such things. That makes it harder for those of us who bloody well *do* mind to get a proper vegan meal next time. I can't speak for anyone else, but that's why I was bothered by that particular person's approach.

Ruby Rose
Sep 5th, 2008, 06:54 PM
It's really tricky - I always think I'm trying to say "it's not the most vegan choice, but you need to do what you feel is right", but I similarly feel that sometimes people post stuff like that in the hope that everyone else will say "don't worry, sunshine, it doesn't matter at all".

I don't think people who make mistakes, or the odd slip up, or feel bullied into doing stuff by their families are not vegans, but I think there's a world of difference between this and systematically making non-vegan choices where it would be entirely practical and reasonable to do so. There's a difference between taking a taxi with leather seats (entirely reasonable, practical and vegan) and choosing to buy a new leather suite (not a vegan choice).

Sgable84
Dec 21st, 2010, 04:48 PM
Or one who follows a vegan diet, but may not always have vegan clothes, or cosmetics - what are they?

Someone who orders a taxi home... gets into the car and notices that the seats are leather......... not vegan!


I myself, live in a house full FULL of dead animals that my dad has hunted over the years. As much as I really don't like the dead animals, I still know that its my parents house, not mine. So I respectfully don't attack them, or try to throw away the dead animals. they are not mine to throw away. BUT I still think of myself as vegan.

For cosmetics, I have always used some ones with no animal products, but there are times where they don't state that they are "cruelty free". As much as I would love to throw them out and start fresh, I cant. I'm broke as it is, so I try to use whats left and then buy a different brand when the time comes. Or I take medication, where I know is tested on animals. Does that mean I am not vegan? Of course not. I cant help that my medication is testing on animals (as awful as it is) and I could stop taking it, but will my health deteriorate?

I'm not bitching at you Nothsa, I just think that sometimes there are those vegans who are soo extreme that it can be scary. Just like any other group out there (Christians, Muslims, atheist, omnis, etc)

vava
Dec 21st, 2010, 07:08 PM
2 year old thread here so you may not get the reply you need...

leedsveg
Dec 21st, 2010, 09:37 PM
^^

Wonder what's the longest time a dropped thread has been restarted on this forum?

lv

kathy903
Dec 21st, 2010, 11:09 PM
People are SO self-righteous. In a weak moment maybe someone had cheese at a party to please a host, okay NOT what I would do because I am more outspoken than that and I'd politely explain I'm vegan.. but not everybody is that outgoing/confident.. whatever you want to call it. Just because someone is vegan doesn't mean they have perfect confidence to consistently speak out. No need to judge people when they are already on a good path just because they're not PERFECT enough for you.. End rant lol.

vava
Dec 22nd, 2010, 07:58 PM
^^

Wonder what's the longest time a dropped thread has been restarted on this forum?

lv

goes around comes around - comes to mind!:)

leedsveg
Dec 22nd, 2010, 09:08 PM
^^^

Early forum posting by serpent member to (naked) lady member "Go on, eat the apple, won't do any harm.":evil:

lv

SugarPlumFairy
Dec 23rd, 2010, 04:04 AM
I myself ( and all I can speak for is myself ) am uber strict and make no exceptions with regard to my diet, beauty products, clothing. But as Korn said, and I completely agree, sometimes things are beyond our control, for example if there are animal ingredients in ink, gasoline, the carpeting....one can not control everything single thing, but you can certainly control what goes into your mouth, what is on your back and what you beautify/cleanse yourself with. I suppose it is like that old cliche or motto, one can not be a 'little bit pregnant', you either are or aren't. I myself show no hostility towards vegetarians, but wish my other half would embrace veganism,( he is a 35 year vegetarian ), he is not comfortable with it and while I may give him a disparaging look from time to time :), I do my best daily to not be a food Nazi with him.

Back-Space
Dec 23rd, 2010, 05:03 AM
I myself ( and all I can speak for is myself ) am uber strict and make no exceptions with regard to my diet, beauty products, clothing. But as Korn said, and I completely agree, sometimes things are beyond our control, for example if there are animal ingredients in ink, gasoline, the carpeting....one can not control everything single thing, but you can certainly control what goes into your mouth, what is on your back and what you beautify/cleanse yourself with. I suppose it is like that old cliche or motto, one can not be a 'little bit pregnant', you either are or aren't. I myself show no hostility towards vegetarians, but wish my other half would embrace veganism,( he is a 35 year vegetarian ), he is not comfortable with it and while I may give him a disparaging look from time to time :), I do my best daily to not be a food Nazi with him.

I try my best to get vegetarians to consider a real vegetarian diet (vegan), but I don't make a big deal out of it. I've come to learn no matter how much I try, no matter how much information I put out, it wont necessarily change anything. A vegetarian is better than an omnivore :p And the last thing I need them thinking is that vegans are a bunch of pricks :p Maybe meeting a vegan will result in them doing a little research, and somewhere down the line, making more of a difference :)

christinablue
Dec 24th, 2010, 06:51 AM
Groups that are on the fringe tend to be like that. Most vegans make mistakes at one point or another. I mean, the other day I thought I had read all the ingredients on a face cream that I knew made vegetarian/animal test free products with a lot of vegan options. I've been using it for a week, then one day I was uh...using the bathroom (don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. I needed some shit to read!) and realized it had beeswax in it. Yeah, I was pissed, and I won't buy that cream again. But as I've already been using it, it seems like a waste to just throw it out. So I'll be more the wiser next time...but I know some vegans would jump all over me even using it. I say it's none of their beeswax...LOL ;)

vava
Dec 24th, 2010, 08:45 AM
..but I know some vegans would jump all over me even using it. I say it's none of their beeswax...LOL ;)

The mistake was in buying it - that bit is the bit that doesn't help the animals. If you don't make mistakes - you don't make anything.... You are not going to help the animals in any way by using the cream if you think that is the right thing to do - by the same reasoning you won't help the animals in any way by discarding it either.

SugarPlumFairy
Dec 24th, 2010, 04:07 PM
CB :
Your post gave me a nice chuckle on Christmas Eve ! I get the whole reading in the bathroom thing ! hehehe.
Re : The cream. All is forgiven, tomorrow is another day Scarlett. Money has been spent, product has been used, you will be more vigilent next time. Case closed.

Merry Christmas. :D