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Anyone else here dislike the word "vegan"?


Ultraspontane
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I hate that word. It makes it sound like I'm in a cult or like I'm some crazy religous zealot.

 

I don't eat animals, but I'm just a regular person like everyone else. Whenever I get asked about what I eat, I just tell people Im on a strict "plant based diet". I feel much more comfortable saying it that way. It just comes across better.

 

Anyone else share these feelings?

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I understand what you are saying - there probably is a bit of a 'stigma' to the word - some people automatically think granola, hippy, peta protester, not-like-me person.

 

But then again, vegan is a 'way of life' whereas plant-based diet refers only to eating habits and does not necessarily mean one is vegan. I'm new to veganism, and once I'm firmly grounded in it, I hope to proudly announce to others that I am vegan. They can judge if they want - there are no witch burnings anymore so I won't worry about judgments too much. It says more about them than it does about me and anyone who judges me negatively based on a vegan lifestyle .. pretty sure I didn't want their friendship.

 

That being said, not sure I'm ready for a vegan t-shirt yet. lol.

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I don't eat animals, but I'm just a regular person like everyone else.

 

So are most vegans .

 

I never liked the pronunciation of the word "vegan". "Veegan" always sounded goofy to me.

 

I hear what you are saying though. I've had people prejudge me upon hearing the word "vegan". You can't control what other people do, either how they react to you or how other vegans present themselves. Honestly, there are vocal vegans who are either assholes or ignorant who do give people bad impressions. However, a word is what you make it and you do have control over your own actions. I don't proactively tell people I'm a vegan, but I don't lie or act ashamed about it either.

 

It is bad for you to be ashamed about something that you are/are into.

 

If people I don't know ask me if I am a veg*n I say that I am and continue to act in a friendly, down to Earth way. That is enough to change their minds once they get to know me and the ones who will not modify their opinion after knowing me aren't worth knowing.

Edited by beforewisdom
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FYI on the word "vegan"

 

In post World War II Great Britain Donald Watson with his wife coined the term “vegan” to refer to people who believe that it is wrong to exploit animals. The Waston's went on to form the Vegan Society Of The UK.

 

There probably needs to be another word for people who do not eat animal products, but who don't think it is unethical to exploit animals ( use for our own selfish reasons ) or eat animal products.

 

There are a lot of people into a health kick, alternative health kick or environmentalism who haven't really invested themselves into thinking about animals.

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It's the negative connotations that have built up for one reason or another. If everyone thought of veganism like I do, I wouldn't have a problem with the word. But it's got problems associated with it, so I don't use it unless it's just the easiest way to put it

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Nah. Society and culture is trying it's hardest to make us feel ashamed and apologetic for being different.

Many times it works, there are many apologetic vegans out there. "I'm vegan. Um, I'm sorry. If that makes you uncomfortable that is. I'll be quiet". Or you see them rushing to the aid of a carnist who was determined to confront a vegan and now they backed themselves into a corner, making themselves look foolish.

The fact is, even if you feel embarrassed for them and let them have an "out", they are looking to dump responsibility off of themselves. So long as they won't take responsibility they will continue to do what society will let them.

If someone ever tried to confrentate me on veganism they only make that mistake once. People that know me avoid that discussion at all costs. No mercy.

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Nah. Society and culture is trying it's hardest to make us feel ashamed and apologetic for being different.

Many times it works, there are many apologetic vegans out there. "I'm vegan. Um, I'm sorry. If that makes you uncomfortable that is. I'll be quiet". Or you see them rushing to the aid of a carnist who was determined to confront a vegan and now they backed themselves into a corner, making themselves look foolish.

The fact is, even if you feel embarrassed for them and let them have an "out", they are looking to dump responsibility off of themselves. So long as they won't take responsibility they will continue to do what society will let them.

If someone ever tried to confrentate me on veganism they only make that mistake once. People that know me avoid that discussion at all costs. No mercy.

 

This^

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And It's not just a diet for me.

Exactly. It isn't a diet, its a lifestyle born out of the animal rights movement. Plant-based is a diet. Herbivore is a diet lol.

 

And I love the word Vegan; I wish there didn't have to be a distinction between vegetarians and Vegans (i.e.: had vegetarians gone all the way with AR, we wouldn't need Veganism), but its short and sweet. Some people can give it a good name, and others not so much. I strive to be the former.

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There's a difference between being sure of yourself, and wanting to get in an argument. I know that veganism is a good thing, but to me it's a label, not what I "am". In reality, there's just a list of things that I'm against, and that can loosely be termed as veganism, in a simplistic way. If someone asks me if I am vegan, then for simplicity, I will say yes. But on the other hand, if someone says "will you eat this?" and I say "no" and they say "why?", I will say "because it's got X in it". I don't take the opportunity to say "because I am vegan" - that's not why in fact, it's just a label. To say "I don't do this because I am vegan", is like putting myself as part of a group, and then that person reacts, judging you on everything they think of vegans.

 

There's no need to take that leap, and I wait as long as possible for another reason: If someone gets to know you before they know you're vegan, they often have a better view of you because they have not had their view clouded by their preconceptions. Then once they eventually do find out, they already think you're a cool person, and veganism is then linked with you, rather than you being linked with veganism. So veganism looks better because of it.

 

It isn't about being apologetic, it's realistic. People on the whole don't understand veganism, and even have a problem with it (ridiculous). But that's where we're at at the moment. Confrontation and pride doesn't get through to many people in my experience.

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if someone says "will you eat this?" and I say "no" and they say "why?", I will say "because it's got X in it". I don't take the opportunity to say "because I am vegan" [...] To say "I don't do this because I am vegan", is like putting myself as part of a group, and then that person reacts, judging you on everything they think of vegans.

This. I like the idea of explaining to people the "why" rather than what might be an ambiguous or misdefined term to them.

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There's a difference between being sure of yourself, and wanting to get in an argument. I know that veganism is a good thing, but to me it's a label, not what I "am". In reality, there's just a list of things that I'm against, and that can loosely be termed as veganism, in a simplistic way. If someone asks me if I am vegan, then for simplicity, I will say yes. But on the other hand, if someone says "will you eat this?" and I say "no" and they say "why?", I will say "because it's got X in it". I don't take the opportunity to say "because I am vegan" - that's not why in fact, it's just a label. To say "I don't do this because I am vegan", is like putting myself as part of a group, and then that person reacts, judging you on everything they think of vegans.

 

There's no need to take that leap, and I wait as long as possible for another reason: If someone gets to know you before they know you're vegan, they often have a better view of you because they have not had their view clouded by their preconceptions. Then once they eventually do find out, they already think you're a cool person, and veganism is then linked with you, rather than you being linked with veganism. So veganism looks better because of it.

 

It isn't about being apologetic, it's realistic. People on the whole don't understand veganism, and even have a problem with it (ridiculous). But that's where we're at at the moment. Confrontation and pride doesn't get through to many people in my experience.

 

I stand by what I said earlier, but I agree with you. I'm very non-confrontational, and i've been a vegetarian for 18 years so i've heard every joke and jab and it gets old. When I was a kid, most of it came from friends parents/my mom's friends and I had to be respectful, but now that i'm an adult I don't want to hear anyone's crap. I've been at my job in a very small, very conservative office for two years and no one knows that i'm vegan, I don't think they've even picked up that I don't eat meat. We never order pizza or things like that so it's been pretty easy to avoid, and if push came to shove i'd probably tell them that I have a dairy allergy (which isn't entirely untrue, I WILL get really sick).

 

I don't think i've ever responded to 'would you like x' with 'no, i'm vegan' because most people don't understand what that means. I usually just politely say 'no thank you', but sometimes people can be really jerky and persist. I went to a friends-of-a-friends birthday party, and my friend insisted on asking if the cake had eggs to see if I could eat it (I knew the answer was no), the hostess zoomed over to me with a cupcake and shoved it in my damn face and insisted it was okay because it's was only the egg whites (and y'know, milk). She was really bullying but I looked like the asshole.

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Nah. Society and culture is trying it's hardest to make us feel ashamed and apologetic for being different.

Many times it works, there are many apologetic vegans out there. "I'm vegan. Um, I'm sorry. If that makes you uncomfortable that is. I'll be quiet".

 

I agree. Being ashamed/apologetic about what you are about or what you support doesn't help you or what you support. People can sense it. If you don't feel good about it, why should they? That is why I don't listen to animal protection orgs that ask me not to use the word "vegan" when volunteering for them.

 

That is only part of the story though.

 

Veganism, AR and vegan diets tend to be freak magnets. There are a number of loud, foolish and obnoxious people giving all 3 of those things a bad name.

 

You have to be aware of and honest about those things too, picking your battle accordingly.

 

In situations that have nothing to do with diet ( work, other pursuits ), I will wait until someone else brings it up. If they do, I will not dance around it. Like others wrote here, the best way to undo the damage to the word is to be a cool person and cool vegan.

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There's a difference between being sure of yourself, and wanting to get in an argument. I know that veganism is a good thing, but to me it's a label, not what I "am". In reality, there's just a list of things that I'm against, and that can loosely be termed as veganism, in a simplistic way. If someone asks me if I am vegan, then for simplicity, I will say yes. But on the other hand, if someone says "will you eat this?" and I say "no" and they say "why?", I will say "because it's got X in it". I don't take the opportunity to say "because I am vegan" - that's not why in fact, it's just a label. To say "I don't do this because I am vegan", is like putting myself as part of a group, and then that person reacts, judging you on everything they think of vegans.

 

There's no need to take that leap, and I wait as long as possible for another reason: If someone gets to know you before they know you're vegan, they often have a better view of you because they have not had their view clouded by their preconceptions. Then once they eventually do find out, they already think you're a cool person, and veganism is then linked with you, rather than you being linked with veganism. So veganism looks better because of it.

 

It isn't about being apologetic, it's realistic. People on the whole don't understand veganism, and even have a problem with it (ridiculous). But that's where we're at at the moment. Confrontation and pride doesn't get through to many people in my experience.

 

I love what Richard said here, especially because it is a new viewpoint for me with regards to veganism. It reminds me of the fact that I was raised in a very religious household, in which there were many mainstream things I wasn't allowed to do growing up. They always taught us, though, that when asked why we weren't participating in something, NOT to say "because I'm an {XYZ} and we don't do that," but to say something like "because that {XYZ event} is rooted in {XYZ} origins, and that's not acceptable for me."

 

Eventually, sooner or later, it's GOING to come out that I'm vegan, but if they can judge me on me as a person, rather than what I choose to eat or not eat, then I can hopefully paint a better picture of "veganism" for them.

 

I appreciate your comment, Richard! Thanks for posting it!

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