Social pressure to be the"Good Chill Vegan"

Jaydoesitgood

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Ive been vegan for about three years now and I still deal with a lot of external and internal pressure not to make others uncomfortable with my vegan self. Like, generally if I talk about one aspect of veganism in one breath I have to actively dismiss a more "militant" side of it, regardless of whether or not I actually dislike that aspect (For example: horseback riding, beekeeping, wool). Generally I just dont like conflict, especially not in person conflict. Im definitely one of those people who will mull something that someone said to me over and over and over in my head and keep myself up at night. I care way too much about what others think.
Im pretty much the only vegan I know and Ive had to be like this with pretty much everyone and it gets pretty exhausting.

How have yall dealt with this?
 

NYC Gardener

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Ah, but what other people think (or don't think) is not just in their heads! It determines their actions, which, in turn, affect other people.

So, "what other people think," is a logistical reality and not just a theoretical concept.

I relate to OP's post. I understand it to apply, most commonly, to conversations. Say your boss takes you and your co-workers out to lunch. You order a bean burger. Your co-worker offers you a piece of bacon. "This is incredible. Try this."

"Thanks, but I don't eat meat."

"Oh, are you vegan?"

"Yes."

"Why? What do you eat? Do you also refuse to wear wool? I saw a movie where this crazy vegan was . . . blah blah blah."

"No, I'm not going to break into your house and cover your fridge in anti-cruelty posters. I just don't eat animal products."

"What's an animal product? I heard animals can be used to farm vegetables. Do you check to see if the fields were plowed mechanically or with animal-drawn plows? This meat is good. You should have some."

And then your boss starts looking at you kind of askance and wondering about the time you were late and if you really fit in there and how competent you really are.

It may sound strange, but it happens all the time.

I just answer people's questions, focus on the positive, and try to avoid more confrontational types of conversations. I talk about how healthy I feel and I emphasize that I don't judge other people for their choices.

But, ultimately, a lot of people will judge you, regardless of what you say or do. But that goes for life in general, all of life. So I think you just have to take pride in who you are and let people appreciate your attitude. That goes a long way.
 

Emma JC

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I find that watching Earthling Ed is very good for my psyche when it comes to these discussions.

I do not deliberately bring up the topic unless it is health related as that is where I am most knowledgeable and yet I watch Earthling Ed regularly because he has those answers and he is calm and quiet and he listens to others and has answers... I watched one yesterday where he critiqued a CNN interview of a farmer who was crying because he was going to have to shoot his pigs in the head as the slaughterhouses can't deal with them. The hypocracy.... the farmer normally sends 700 pigs a week to slaughter and now is crying about them dying.... it emphasizes the cognitive dissonance that even farmers have as they normally do not have to kill them themselves.

It is not so much having arguments ready as it is confidence knowing that we are right and that animals shouldn't have to suffer so we can eat them, wear them, sit on them, etc. Work on a line that works for you, state it and don't deviate or argue. Something like:

"Thank you for asking about _______ . I decided to change my lifestyle to vegan as I decided it was no longer necessary for me to buy skins of any animal to wear and if I won't eat my dog/cat/hamster why would I eat a cow or a pig. My health is better, fewer animals are suffering, the environment is better and I feel so much better as a human."

Just an example obviously but figure out something that states your reasons and then don't engage further in discussions unless they are truly interested in hearing your views.

The link to the video I referenced is below.

Emma JC

 

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Also, be aware of the kinds of manipulation that most of us are subjected to. There is a lot of propaganda and covert advertising in our entertainment, regardless of the form. That includes the kind of stuff that tends to be popular online. We get goaded into adopting more mainstream views. We get goaded into making questionable non-mainstream choices - ones that benefit the industry promoting the message.

I find that the more conscious of that I am, the more I just see the results for what they are and detach myself.

So it's like this. People expect you to be an imaginary negative stereotype of a vegan. And there is a natural tendency respond with, "I'm not like that!" and follow that with not-so-vegan things that you do.

But that's manipulation! Don't cave to it. Make your own choices based on solid information without the influence of propaganda (obviously - I'm sure you are) and then formulate strong messaging for when it comes up.

In other words, fortify your boundaries - who you are, what you believe, what you choose, and then separately how you communicate about it.

You can be the chill vegan who lives a 100% cruelty-free life with zero wool or leather. Or whatever your choices are. Chill is an attitude. Project that attitude towards the way that you live. Then you'll often end up inspiring other people to follow your lead or just seek knowledge from you.
 

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I worried about going public about going vegan for a long time. My earlier posts on VF reflect this. If I had to defend myself, I would say, "I am a hog. Eating pork would be cannibalism for me." I might also say, "It was either going vegan or wearing a bra for my man boobs."
 

silva

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I think I'm a chill vegan, and always honest. I don't argue but I never ever sugar coat
I absolutely hate vegan apologists, and I found so many on facebook! It seemed as if they waited to ponce on posts they felt were too "vegan". Their idea of "vegan police" was someone stating Worcestershire normally has anchovies 🙄
 

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I think I'm a chill vegan, and always honest. I don't argue but I never ever sugar coat
I absolutely hate vegan apologists, and I found so many on facebook! It seemed as if they waited to ponce on posts they felt were too "vegan". Their idea of "vegan police" was someone stating worchehire normally has anchovies 🙄

So a vegan apologist is a vegan who tries to police the preachy vegans? The opposite side of that coin, so to speak?

And yeah, Facebook . . . It's so central and yet it tends to skew towards the worst of our species.
 
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I hear you. It can be really hard when we're practically alone in our ethical opinions. I too am the only vegan I know. There's a part of me who, like you, doesn't want to come across as the aggressive, angry vegan stereotype. What I've found to be incredibly helpful in not compromising my values, is to remember the victims. They're why we do this afterall, aren't they? When I first went vegan, I didn't understand why wool, bee products, or horse riding were harmful. I did the research. I learned, and now I know why I make those choices. When I find myself wanting to apologise just to make someone else feel comfortable, I remind myself of the true victims who are suffering right now. They need us to fight for them because no one else will. That doesn't mean inviting debates or being aggressive with non-vegans. Some tips I've learned since becoming vegan and interacting with non-vegans (i.e. everyone I know)...

-I don't make a big deal about my being vegan. If it comes up, I say it simply, but it's never an announcement.
-If people have questions, I stick to simple answers. For example, someone asked if I was gluten-free when I said I was vegan. I said, "No, being vegan just means I choose not to support animal cruelty or exploitation. Gluten comes from plants, so it doesn't harm animals."
-I remember that when people ask annoying questions (Where do you get your protein? Do you eat honey? Did you know that wine isn't vegan?), it's usually a defense machanism because just my saying I'm vegan is forcing them to question their own choices and that makes them uncomfortable - i.e. it's not about me, it's about them.
-I remind myself that veganism is an ethical stance, just like feminism.


Some youtube channels I've found helpful:

-Those Annoying Vegans
-Bite Size Vegan
-Earthling Ed
-Hanna McNeely
 
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