perspectives on veganism

If you've spent enough time on the internet, you've probably come across many, many people with widely different opinions and ways of speaking about those opinions. There's no better example of this than in the the loose community of vegans online.

There are people who don't want to talk about politics at all, or people who are quick to argue about every detail and issue, people who are only in this for health or people who love veganism for every possible reason. There are SO many kinds of people. (I think David Bowie wrote a song about it, even.)

So, when I come across criticism by vegans on how they should speak to others about veganism, I get a little skeptical. Some say that you should be absolute on your position, and always call people out if given the opportunity. Others say you shouldn't state your position at all and let your lifestyle speak for itself. There are a million subtle opinions in the middle of this spectrum, too. But to say one way of reaching out is the best course of action doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

When I first went vegan, it was because of a mix of reasons and references. I was reading books about sustainable farming, listening to both Colleen Patrick-Goudreau AND abolitionist vegan podcasts, and watching every documentary I could find about food. I absorbed every point of view I could find. What kind of tone and writing made me switch to veganism? It was honestly a mix - the kinder, more welcoming voices made me feel like I could do it and I would be supported; the harsher, matter-of-fact voices gave me a final push that I don't think I could've done without them.

I think those harsher voices can push people away from thinking of veganism as something they could do. On the other hand, those that are easier to listen to also might not push hard enough. For every person, there is a point of view (or multiple points of view) that will resonate with them. Because of that, I don't think we should necessarily reject those on either end of the spectrum. I think all of our voices needed to be heard, because there are so many different kinds of people listening.

Of course, this doesn't mean those speaking shouldn't be open for criticism. There are many vegans that say some awful things, and just as many whole foods people that aren't held accountable for what they support. The goal there is staying aware of the potential harm in our words and ideas. But overall, I think we should embrace all points of view that further the cause of reducing bad practices in the food industry, reducing animal use, bettering our collective health and knowledge, and bettering the environment around us. If we speak with conviction, learn from our mistakes and listen to what everyone else is talking about, we can make positive change for veganism and beyond. <3

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