Becoming Vegan, I have embraced and become a part of this culture that while growing in popularity, is still considered a minority. Being a white female growing up in an affluent suburb of Chicago, I never dealt with prejudice or stereotypes. Ever since making the switch to veganism however, I have observed and witnessed the stereotypes and judgments of being a vegan. Some of these include that we live on a diet of lettuce, are hippies, and will splash red paint on you if you’re wearing a fur coat. The most common vegan stereotype I’ve encountered though is this idea of the “preachy” vegan.
I think the reason many vegans are viewed as “preachy” is because we are strong advocates of this lifestyle. We are extremely passionate about this lifestyle and passion can sometimes be viewed as “preachy.” We see all the benefits and how much sense this lifestyle makes, from health standpoints, environmentalism, and humanitarianism, and just wish to spread this knowledge to others. So much of society is unaware or ignorant to veganism and the animal agriculture business. False ideas of needing meat protein to survive, or this idea of “humane” meats get tossed around without a deeper look into the facts behind them. Many vegans just wish to spread awareness on these matters. Most of society however, is content in living behind a veil of ignorance and lies, and we vegans are then viewed as preachy for trying to shed light on these matters.
Spreading awareness on these issues strikes a nerve with many peoples way of living. People do not like to be told that their lifestyle is wrong. This isn’t just about veganism, but religion, sexual orientation, or any other differences that define a way of living. Often times, when people get informed of another perspective, viewpoint, or new information that contradicts their beliefs, they become defensive, resistant, and oppose these ideas, sometimes even when the evidence is there. I am not saying veganism is the “right” way to live, but it is rather frustrating when people cast aside your opinions and facts about veganism due to these preconceived ideas they have about vegans and this lifestyle.
So yes, we vegans get labeled as preachy. It is just another form of prejudgment, just as any stereotype is. If you deem to label us as preachy, we are “preaching” about saving the environment and animal lives. We are “preaching” about the cruelty of animal agriculture and how baby animals are separated at birth from their mothers, only to grow up with a death sentence above their heads. We are “preaching” about destruction of our forests and oceans due to animal agriculture. We are “preaching” about giving a voice to those that are voiceless.