“Oh sorry, did I offend you by stepping on this grass?”... A joke vegans are sick of hearing.
Veganism is a lifestyle in which one is “cruelty free”. Vegans do not eat or drink animal products, use or wear items that are animal based, buy animal tested products, or support animal entertainment. Vegans are overall plant based. One usually goes vegan for animal protection, environmental purposes, or health reasons. However, regardless of their good intentions, hatred seems to be targeted at them for their personal lifestyle decision.
When five vegans were asked, all five of them declared they had felt targeted for their personal decision. Avery Powers, 15 year old, from Williamstown Massachusetts states, “ I've felt disrespected as a vegan...some people I don't know as well don't see any reason to be a vegan. They can make very obnoxious comments and try to question me to the point where I give up attempting to explain why I made the choice I made.”
Powers declares she feels as if people are so persistent in their questioning and criticism, it is not worth sharing her beliefs. Living in a society, in which one can not openly respond or state what they wish to, without being shut down, is the opposite of what this country stands for. Even if the conversation is simply about diet, we have the right to say what we wish to, without being attacked.
“I don't think others should care about my dietary and lifestyle choices. What I eat doesn't impact them in any way and frankly, I think it's ridiculous for other people to think so much about something that doesn't concern them.” Powers said.
And quite frankly, she brings up a good point.
It is one thing to simply ask a vegan “why?” But when you continue questioning a vegan, and turn towards criticism, the situation shifts.
As a vegan myself, I have received a lot of hatred and cruel jokes for my personal decision. Recently, when I told someone I was vegan, they asked why. I responded that I felt it was ethically incorrect to eat animals. The person who questioned me got very angry, and back fired with vegan jokes and insults. “Oh sorry, I stepped on this piece of grass, did it offend you?” “Don’t hurt the plants. They have feelings too.”
Although this commentary could have been intended for entertainment purpose, it was very hurtful to hear.
“When people criticize my decision, it can really be a let down. They think it doesn't get to you. But after hearing the same jokes and insults so many times, there is a stopping point, it all becomes too personal.” A source who has asked to remain anonymous said.
The vegan hatred needs to stop, it needs to come to an end. It is not fair to criticize a personal decision, and it is essential to becoming a more successful, accepting society.
On the contrary, meat eater Larry Wasserman, says,
“Veganism is too much, I don’t see a point. My daughter (me) is vegan, and I am convinced it is just a phase. This vegan thing is a bit much.”
However, vegans find meat eating to be “crazy”, the idea of eating an animal is absurd to most vegans. The conflicting point of views can lead to great arguments and disagreements.
The previous mentioned anonymous source states, “Honestly, I have shut people out of my life for criticizing my veganism. It is important to me, and I would rather me accepted for who I am.”
A diet ending friendships? Apparently.
However, not all meat eaters are judgemental of the vegan lifestyle. When asked again, Wasserman disagrees with his first statement, “Although for my daughter (me) I still do think it could be a phase, it is not pointless, and it is a person's personal choice.”
This a more rational view point. To “Live and Let Live.”
Additionally, Jennifer Winthrop ’19 of Staples High school states, “ People set certain expectations about what you can eat and what you should be like without even knowing what it's like to be vegan”
The stereotypes that come along with somebody who is vegan have spiraled out of control. Whether it be the restrictive eating stereotype or the classic vegan hippie, these assumptions are often found to be extremely false.