In developing this website, I’ve found that there are actually quite a few people who aren’t vegan. Weird, I know! Most of these folks are thoughtful, compassionate and great critical thinkers, so the only reason for them not to be vegan must be a lack of information. For these people, I decided to include some tips on how to be vegan, so they can get started right away.
“How to Be Vegan” Tip 6: Become Annoying on Behalf of Other Causes Too.
If you’re a good vegan, you’ll quickly learn the word “intersectionality.” The word itself is annoying enough, but wait until you hear the definition! Wikipedia says it describes the “intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.” Ooh, la, la! Let me straighten up the framed PhD on the wall of my corner office, am I right? Basically, intersectionalism asserts that different forms of oppression should be analyzed together, not individually, since they often overlap and affect each other. Hoity toity, right!? Bring me my cuff links and start up my Ferrari!
Most people get annoyed when you bring up even one form of oppression; their heads almost explode when you start talking about two or more! (Relax, I said “almost,” so it’s totally vegan.) If one of your goals in life is to annoy people with advocacy, this is a great idea to explore. There are some really great holier-than-thou books and articles about the intersectionality of systemic animal exploitation (hem, hem, hem) and other forms of oppression, especially the treatment of women and POCs (people of color, duh, read a book once in a while). Carol J. Adams has authored books like “The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory,” “The Pornography of Meat,” and more. There are also articles all over the internet, like this one on CounterPunch.org. “CounterPunch?” I mean, the anti-violence, anti-establishment, I’m-so-much-better-than-you, hipster vibe is jam-packed right there in the URL!
Why is this Important?
I’m glad you asked. There are two reasons:
1) If you really want to be a vegan, then you need to let the ideals – of compassion and annoyance – bleed (metaphorically) into other areas of your life. If you’re not compassionate and annoying about everything, people are going to question your dedication to your veganism. It’s bad enough that they’re suspicious of your hair care products and your shoes that look like they could be leather. Don’t give them yet another thing to “catch you” on. Always be wearing non-leather, always be eating kale, and always – always – be annoying.
2 ) As a good vegan, you probably know that people ask really ignorant questions. And you probably have terrific, well-rehearsed answers.
Where do you get your protein?
Protein deficiency is not a problem unless there’s also calorie deficiency. And anyway, lots of veggies, nuts, legumes, etc contain protein, so shut up. Boom!
Why do you hate plants, you plant murderer!?
Well, plants don’t feel pain, and either way, raising animals for food requires many more plants than does eating plants directly. Boom!
Part of succeeding at veganism is having all the answers to any question anyone could ever ask (ever) – about nutrition, farming practices, history, anthropology, Earth science, economics, psychology, everything! So, if someone asks you why you focus on animal issues when there are so many issues that humans need help with, you’ve got to be prepared. The answer? Intersectionality!
What are the Rewards?
- By pretending to care about other, non-animal-centric issues, you might actually learn about them. And then you’ll be smarter, and you can talk down to even more people.
- You might be able to use related issues (feminism, environmentalism, labor issues, etc) to force people into thinking about what/who they eat. Think of this as one more tool to use in trying to get other people to live by their own morals and stop harming animals unnecessarily. Selfish personal agenda success!
What are the Challenges?
- To make it look real, you’ll have to actually learn a bit about intersectionality. And it’s really confusing! And you’ll have to read!
- Oh, the guilt! Everyone has it bad – animals, POCs (duh, people of color, remember?), gay and lesbian folks, people with less money than you (oh, please, you’re on a smartphone), and the list goes on.