Nowadays, my personal Facebook profile is super tight.
Aside from my profile picture, cover photo and the albums I have made public with links to useful and important articles, someone who is not on my list cannot see anything.
I have even hidden the pages I follow from public view but it never used to be that way.
Ironically, I was the person who checked friend requests for vegan content, as soon as I saw evidence of that, they were in.
Back then I was only interested in animal activism and, adding as many vegans as possible, increased the chances of non vegans seeing the activism my ‘friends’ and I were sharing.
When I was first starting to learn about the importance of pro-intersectionalism (before I locked down my profile) within the vegan movement and noticed some problematic language (for example, perhaps an ableist term) on a vegan activism post, I would politely point out that a particular word used was offensive and provide a link to an article explaining why and alternative words to use.
My comment would generally be met with a few likes and a civil back and forth about not understanding before and promises to try and do better in future.
That’s all any of us can do right?
Obviously this was not always the case, but now… interactions are more frequently becoming less than civil.
Vegans aren’t reacting to me as kindly as they used to.
It was only this morning that I twigged… They think I’m an omni.
Since I made the decision to tighten up the privacy on my account and focus on pro-intersectionalism… they can’t see any evidence that I am ‘one of them’.
I have been well aware that the vegan movement has a lot of work to do for a long time now, but this has really given me a new perspective.
I am now having the interactions that omnis have with vegans.
I am pointing out flaws in the animal rights movement that are really important to address should we want to actually make a difference and I’m being met with hatred, name-calling, dissmissiveness and at the very least, just being blocked without any interaction.
The post that made me realise all this today, was a video shared by someone who has VEGAN plastered all over their profile.
It was one of those everyday ‘Hey have you been here?’ type videos you see of restaurants that are quirky or different.
This particular place was ‘different’ because instead of serving a piece of pork or lamb etc, it would bring the cooked animal to your table and carve it for you there, this restaurant was attempting to be ‘better’ than other carveries because of the elite and unique service and expensive leather chairs rested beneath rustic antique tables.
Just a pub carvery thinking it’s better than all the other pub carveries…
Yes, yes… gross and not nice to see dead animals being sliced up from a vegans perspective, but I want to focus on the point here.
Who was seeing this post?
Who was commenting on this post?
Did it benefit vegans?
Did it benefit animals?
Did it have any effect on anyone who isn’t vegan?
Would it have if they saw it?
So what’s the point?
I scrolled through the sea of comments ranging from ‘Horrific!’ to ‘That is disgusting on so many levels, from all parties involved. Fuck them all!’ to ‘What’s wrong with these people… this is sickening!’ to ‘Barbarians!’ and ‘Savages!’ and even ‘I’d like to visit that place and BURN IT DOWN TO THE GROUND!’; Because nothing says ‘a movement based on peace and non-violence’ more, than the threat of arson.
All that was happening was a vegan sharing, effectively, gore porn for other vegans to feel good about themselves by saying ‘I am not one of those people, I am much better than that, I would never be so savage and barbaric to join in with this behavior, these people are sick.’
Let’s just imagine, in our fantasy worlds, that this post… posted to ‘friends only’… where all the ‘friends’ are vegan… actually ended up on an omni’s newsfeed due to a glitch in the matrix: Will that video, of the food they are already eating everyday because it’s the norm, make them put down their sausage and grab a carrot instead… because they view the video differently when a vegan shares it?
In fact, even I had two minds when I saw it.
1- Now that I don’t eat animals I can clearly see that this is a dead animal and it’s not appealing.
2- Before I went vegan I used to love a carvery on a Sunday at the pub, this is just a glorified carvery. I probably would have enjoyed this restaurant back then, although I may have felt a bit weird about seeing the entire body.
So even if in the land of make believe, a non-vegan ends up seeing this… ahem… ‘awareness post’, it’s not going to make any difference whatsoever.
In fact, if they read through the comments, they are being called sick, barbaric, savage and basically ‘beneath vegans’.
Yeah, super interested in joining that wonderful group.
Totally comfortable asking for help about going vegan here.
I don’t feel attacked at all.
I feel so welcome.
Here is the comment I made:
“I never understand vegans sharing posts like these… Omni’s would just see it and think ‘cool, I’d like to eat there!’ and vegans just get upset. Serves no one, I don’t get it.”
The reactions to this comment gave me the realisation I spoke about in the beginning.
I got angry reacts (which later turned out to be because someone had misunderstood me but it’s not the first i’ve received from vegans).
I got passive aggressive vegan memes posted ‘at me’.
One of these ‘clever’ memes said ‘Before you leave angry comments on vegan posts, ask yourself what exactly you expect to accomplish. Ask yourself why you feel so compelled to argue against compassion.’
I replied ‘Where are the angry comments?’
They then responded with ‘Remember when I asked you for your opinion? Yeah me neither.’
Um… Ok hun…
They then immediately blocked me.
This is one of a few unfortunate interactions I have had with vegan strangers recently, since taking the term ‘vegan’ off my profile.
So, what if I was an omni?
Could this have been a learning opportunity for me?
Hell yeah, it could have!
My original comment wasn’t aggressive or mocking or angry, it was a conversation starter and a prime opportunity for someone to begin chatting with me, a possible omni, about how vegans feel and why… which would have lead to me letting them know I am actually part of this ‘elite club’ and the education wasn’t necessary.
Instead, I got angry faces, rudeness, my point was ignored, and was blocked without any attempt at a conversation.
By a commenter, not the OP.
I understand everyone has bad days but… the vegan movement across the vast majority of public vegan activism posts seems to be one very loooong bad day.
The majority of online vegan activism is just an attempt at drawing non-vegans in to argue with, shout down and enjoy confrontation in the hopes you can end with ‘See, I’m better than you/know more than you/have better memes’.
The majority of vegan activism is just a glorified carvery.
Luring people in by telling them that what they have to offer is vastly better and much more refined than that common meat and then they come in and find out it’s still just an animal on a stick after all.
A bullshit attempt at one-upmanship with a belief that you’re better than everyone else, masquerading as an ally to animals when you’re actually putting so many people off saving animals by not eating them, by continuing to alienate, vilify and dehumanise them in order to give yourself the ‘vegan badass’ label.
You’re ensuring people don’t find veganism appealing.
You claim that they aren’t vegan because of their ego when in fact you’re just trying to hide the fact that veganism is actually all about yours.
That’s not animal liberation.
Let’s be honest here, veganism is a business.
Our profits are animals saved, promotion of peace and a longer and better quality of life for our planet.
We are trying to attract ‘customers’ by way of turning them vegan.
So we need to listen to them.
Isn’t that what successful businesses do?
Figure out what’s not working and brainstorm ways they can do better to appeal to a wider audience and gain more profits?
By talking to them and taking their opinions on board?
No business would survive very long by ignoring complaints and insulting their potential customers by saying ‘If you don’t like us and what we stand for then you are subhuman and beneath us.’
Oooh, sign me up, take my time, energy and money!
A brilliant article, which you can read here, was shared with me this morning and I really liked what was said: ‘Ask yourself: Is my comment offering a unique, constructive insight? Am I using insulting or sarcastic language to offend, embarrass, or upset other animal advocates? Would I want someone who just went vegan this week to read this comment? Would I want people who still eat animals to read this? Would my comment please those who are still profiting from animal exploitation? Is this comment pleasing to my ego, and if so, why?’
Another point: I recently saw an awesome interview with a plus sized model who had a unique (and frankly incredibly clever) technique when dealing with the droves of fat-shaming trolls she has to deal with on a daily basis.
She complimented them.
They disrespected her, and she was kind in reply.
You know what happened? More often than not, they mirrored her kindness, apologised and offered her a compliment back.
Besides the fact that this woman is incredible, her attitude to her ‘opposition’ was amazing AF.
Pobodies Nerfect, I am certainly not, I sometimes take the bait and lose my cool and I absolutely understand that some people are just having a shit day… but if we can leave the ego and emotion out of it as much as possible and think before we speak, treat people with respect (bigots not included) and practice the peace we preach… perhaps people would take us seriously and treat our values with enough respect to hear us out too?